VICTORIA: Asthma Australia is advising those with asthma to take precaution in smoky conditions following a state-wide air quality alert issued today, extending into the weekend.

Smoke is a trigger of asthma which restricts airflow and presents as shortness of breath, tightness of chest, wheezing, gasping or persistent cough.

Even if not visible by sight, smoke may still be present in the air.

Parents are being advised that children are vulnerable to breathing difficulties in poor air quality and they should remain vigilant of any asthma symptoms. A persistent cough, wheezing and an inability to talk in full sentences can help to identify asthma in young children.

To minimise the impact of smoke in affected areas, people are advised to:

  • Keep inside and close windows and doors. Avoid exercise and turn air conditioners to recycle air from inside only.
  • Ensure you have a blue/grey reliever puffer on hand. Reliever puffers are available over the counter at any pharmacy.
  • Follow your Asthma Action Plan.
  • Continue to take your preventer medication.
  • Ensure you or a loved one know the 4 steps for asthma first aid and what to do in an asthma emergency
  • Keep abreast of changes in weather conditions by checking www.emergency.vic.gov.au

If you aren’t diagnosed with asthma but start to experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, tightness of the chest, coughing or wheezing, and you have no immediate access to a reliever puffer, seek medical care or in the event of an emergency call Triple Zero (000).

Asthma First Aid

  1. Sit the person upright
  2. Give 4 separate puffs of a blue/grey reliever puffer
  3. Wait 4 minutes
  4. Repeat if no improvement
  5. If no improvement call Triple Zero (000)

Important Contacts

  • 1800 ASTHMA Helpline (1800 278 462) for asthma advice
  • Asthma First Aid steps
  • National Home Doctor Service 13 SICK (13 74 25) for after-hours home doctor visits (bulked billed)
  • If you are unable to access a General Practitioner, call 13 HEALTH(13 43 25 84) available 24hrs 7 days. https://www.health.qld.gov.au/13health
  • To speak to a registered nurse, call Healthdirect on 1800 022 222*(this is an Australian wide 24 hour triage)
  • In an emergency, always call Triple Zero (000)

One in nine Australians have asthma and every person’s asthma has different triggers. Its important people know and understand their triggers to stay safe in extreme weather.

If you would like to learn more about asthma management and how to well controlled in unexpected weather events, call the free 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) service.