NEWS

Asthma Sufferers Take Caution: Sydney Gets An Air Quality Warning

Sydney is predicted to experience poor air quality on Wednesday.

10/01/2017 2:59 PM AEDT | Updated 10/01/2017 4:10 PM AEDT
David Gray / Reuters
People need to be alert to the link between high temperatures and ozone pollution.

Authorities are urging people with respiratory conditions to take caution with high air pollution levels amid poor air quality.

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage have advised NSW Health that Sydney is predicted to experience poor air quality on Wednesday due to high ozone levels.

On Tuesday Sydney was forecast to hit 31C, while Western Sydney residents were expected to see temperatures rise to 37C.

Ozone pollution is caused by car exhaust and industrial fumes and gets worse on hot, still days.

People need to be alert to the link between high temperatures and ozone pollution, said Dr Ben Scalley, the Director of Environmental Health at NSW Health.

"Ozone levels are higher outdoors than indoors, so parents should limit the time their children with asthma play outside as they are more susceptible to the effects of ozone pollution," Dr Scalley said.

"Ozone levels reach their peak around 7pm in the evening and tend to be lowest in the morning, so it's best to plan outdoor play in the morning when the day is cooler."

He said Asthma sufferers need to follow their Asthma Action Plan and take their relieving medication where necessary. If symptoms get worse, they need to seek medical advice.

"People can have air quality alerts sent to them via SMS or email by visiting the Office of Environment and Heritage website and subscribing to Air Quality Index daily forecasts," Dr Scalley said.

People can have air quality alerts sent to them via SMS or email by visiting the Office of Environment and Heritage website and subscribing to Air Quality Index daily forecasts, he said.

The people are more likely to be affected by air pollution:

  • People with asthma: exposure to air pollution might worsen your symptoms or trigger asthma attacks. Use your reliever medicine and check you have an up to date asthma action plan.
  • People with lung disease, such as chronic bronchitis (also called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD): exposure to air pollution might worsen your symptoms. Use your reliever medicine and see your doctor if symptoms don't resolve.
  • People with cardiovascular (heart) disease: exposure to air pollution might induce symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain or shortness of breath. If your symptoms persist or are severe, you should seek urgent medical advice from your doctor or nearest Emergency Department.
Source: NSW Department of Health

The health warning comes just over a month after eight people died in Melbourne following a freak weather event that caused an outbreak of severe breathing difficulties across the city last week and sparked 1900 calls to emergency services.

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