Last updated on 28/03/2022

Air quality in parts around Melbourne has dropped to ‘extremely poor’ this morning, prompting a warning from Asthma Australia for those with breathing difficulties to stay indoors with the windows closed. 

The air quality has steadily worsened, dropping from ‘poor’ to ‘extremely poor’ around 11.30am near the Victorian capital due to hazard reduction burns east of the city.  

Some hazard reduction burns are continuing today in regions around Melbourne, and more are scheduled in coming days. 

Asthma Australia urged those with asthma to take extra precautions to avoid breathing the smoky air, including keeping their asthma medication and inhalers nearby and to treat any symptoms immediately by following their Asthma Action Plan. 

“For people with breathing difficulties, especially with asthma, smoke can cause irritation in the chest and eyes, coughing, difficulty breathing, and it’s vital that those triggers are avoided as best as possible, by staying inside,” Asthma Australia CEO Michele Goldman said. 

“Anyone with ongoing worries from smoke should phone us to speak with an Asthma Educator on 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462).” 

People most at risk of health impacts caused by smoke include: 

  • People with a breathing or heart condition 
  • The elderly 
  • Young babies and children 
  • Pregnant women  

Symptoms of asthma feel like a shortness of breath, a tight chest, coughing, wheezing or getting puffed easily. 

Our friendly Asthma Educators are here to help you manage your asthma, so it doesn’t hold you back, especially in times like this,” said Ms Goldman. 

Anyone experiencing serious breathing difficulties, please call triple zero or contact your health professional. 

Asthma Australia provides a vital service for those with breathing difficulties, having assisted with important advice and support during past bushfires crises, as well as the recent flooding and heavy rains through southeast Queensland, northern New South Wales and Sydney. 

Here is a link to first aid procedures for asthma flareups: http://asthma.org.au/treatment-diagnosis/asthma-first-aid/ 

Forest Fire Management Victoria operates an ongoing planned fuel reduction burn program. To search for planned burns in your suburb visit: https://plannedburns.ffm.vic.gov.au/ 

The Asthma Australia 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) is provided free to the public by Asthma Australia, operating from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Monday to Friday or via email support@asthma.org.au