A view of the Telstra Tower in Canberra through a haze.

A smoke haze has blanketed Canberra since Saturday.

09 December 2019

Due to poor air quality related to smoke haze, ACT Health is advising all Canberrans to avoid prolonged or heavy physical activity outside in coming days.

Air quality in Canberra deteriorated on Saturday 7 December when a change in wind direction brought with it smoke haze from the North Black Range fire near Braidwood and the Currowan fire on the South Coast.

Public Health Physician Dr Vanessa Johnston said the ACT Health Directorate’s air quality monitoring indicated that smoky conditions are expected to continue throughout today and up until Thursday.

“All Canberrans should avoid prolonged or heavy physical activity outside while there is smoke around,” Dr Johnston said.

“Anyone who is sensitive to the effects of smoke and air pollution should take measures to reduce their exposure.

“People sensitive to air pollution, including those with chronic heart or lung conditions, children 14 years or younger, pregnant women and people over 65 years should avoid all physical activity outside.”

Dr Johnston advised that anyone with a heart or lung condition should take their medication as prescribed by their doctor.

She said people with asthma should follow their asthma action plan.

“Anyone with concerns about their health should seek medical advice from their doctor.

“Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing should seek urgent medical attention and in the event of a medical emergency call triple-zero (000).”

People can take the following precautions to help minimise the effects of smoke and air pollution:

  • Stay indoors, with windows and doors closed;
  • Stay in air-conditioned premises and switch the air-conditioner to ‘recycle’ or ‘recirculate’ to reduce the amount of smoke entering the building;
  • Visit a local air-conditioned building such as a library, community centre or shopping centre; and
  • Check on elderly neighbours or other people who you think might need extra help.

ACT Health will continue to monitor the air quality in the ACT and will provide additional public health advice when needed and as information becomes available.

Visit the ACT Health website or Facebook page for the latest information. For more on the health impacts of outdoor smoke, please refer to ACT Health’s fact sheet

For further information on weather conditions, visit: www.bom.gov.au

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