Photos of the fire burning on Fraser Island.
Photos of the fire burning on Fraser Island.

Health warning issued as smoke builds from Fraser fire

A HEALTH warning has been issued for those with respiratory problems as smoke from the Fraser Island bushfires continues to affect both its residents and people on the mainland.

The expectation of strong winds on Thursday and Friday spreading more bushfire smoke from

Fraser Island through Hervey Bay and other communities has led to the warning for people along the Fraser Coast, especially those vulnerable to such conditions, to take extra precautions.

While for most healthy adults smoke causes irritation such as itchy eyes and runny noses that

will clear up once the smoke has gone away, for more vulnerable people it can cause more

severe health concerns.

“It’s often the microscopic fine particles in smoke, rather than the larger visible ones, that cause the more adverse health impacts,” Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Director of Public Health Dr Niall Conroy said.

“Vulnerable people such as children, the elderly, smokers and people with pre-existing

illnesses, such as heart or lung conditions, are more sensitive to the effects of breathing in fine

particles and their symptoms can worsen – leading to wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty

breathing.

“Everyone who sees or smells smoke in their area should check for fire warnings and listen to

your local radio station for updates, but more vulnerable people should also stay indoors with

their closed windows and have their aircon put onto recycle or recirculate.

“People with heart, lung, other serious conditions shouldn’t engage in any vigorous activities

outdoors and should follow their standard medical plans if there is bushfire smoke nearby.”

Anyone experiencing any other health effects from the current smoky conditions on the Fraser

Coast should seek medical advice from their doctor. Anyone having trouble breathing or

experiencing chest pain should seek urgent medical assistance by phoning triple-0.

For other health information call 13 43 25 84 at any time or contact 1374 68 to speak to the nearest Public Health Unit.