NSW Health issues warning for people with respiratory conditions

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Child with asthma
A nine-year-old boy breathes from a nebulizer as he seeks treatment for his asthma. Reuters/Carlos Garcia

New South Wales Health has issued a warning for people with respiratory conditions amid Sydney's air pollution. The public health system has rated Tuesday's air quality as "poor" and advised people to take care.

The NSW Health took to Twitter this week to alert residents about the air pollution. In a tweet, people who have asthma are advised to follow their Asthma Action Plan and take medication if necessary.

According to ABC, a combination of hot, still weather and pollution cause an excess of harmful ozone that can cause lung damage, chest pain, coughing and throat irritation when inhaled. The problem is aggravated on still days.

Per source, Director of NSW Health's Environmental Health Branch Ben Scalley said levels would be high in western Sydney, which usually happens during the summer season.

"It's important that people with respiratory diseases, such as asthma, follow their action plan and use their relieving medication if necessary," he said. Scalley added that it is important to seek medical advice if respiratory symptoms get worse. 

Scalley has also urged parents to limit the time children with asthma are allowed to play outside their homes. “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 explained.

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster David Berry, also with asthma, shared that he would keep his puffer handy. "When it's really hot and quite still, we can get a built up of some pollutants, and in this case it's ozone," he said.

Meanwhile, the NSW Rural Fire Service has warned about increased risk of bushfires this week. It also advised farmers to put in firebreaks around paddocks and other assets to protect their properties.