Bushfire smoke and your health

Public Health is warning Tasmanians that exposure to smoke during the bushfire season can seriously harm health.

People with asthma or lung problems of any kind are at higher risk of health harms, so it’s important they manage their health and reduce the smoke they breathe.

Others at higher risk of health harms from breathing smoky air are those with heart disease, diabetes, a previous stroke, older people, babies, young children, and pregnant women.

If you aren’t in these higher risk groups, it is unlikely you will be at risk of serious health harms from breathing smoky air but you may experience burning eyes, a sore throat, runny nose or a cough. These should clear up once the smoke goes.

If it’s smoky outside make sure you are safe from any immediate fire danger and follow Tasmania Fire Service advice.

If you’re at higher risk then stay indoors with your windows and doors closed where possible.

If there is a break in smoky conditions, open the windows and air out your home; if you use an air-conditioner, set it to ‘recycle’ or ‘recirculate’.

If a lot of smoke gets inside or your home gets too hot, consider visiting a library, shopping centre or sports centre if they have air-conditioning or are out of the smoky area.

Consider using a portable air cleaner with high-efficiency particulate air or a HEPA filter in a well-sealed room of the right size for the filter. These are available from electrical stores.

Seek medical help if you become unwell.

For more information about bushfire smoke and your health go to www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/publichealth/air/bushfire_smoke

For Environment Protection Authority air quality data and health advice go to www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/publichealth/air

A free AirRater app that provides air quality data is available at https://airrater.org

For all emergency warnings, and information on bushfires and smoke, visit TasALERT at www.alert.tas.gov.au