Last updated on 20/12/2019

Asthma Australia launches national survey on bushfire smoke health impacts

Asthma Australia is encouraging people impacted by poor air quality from bushfire smoke to participate in a national asthma survey.

The Asthma Australia survey titled ‘Bushfire Smoke: Are you coping?’ launched yesterday afternoon via social media platforms and has already garnered over 1100 responses from across the country.

2.7 million people or one in nine Australians are affected by asthma yet due to high levels of air pollution found in bushfire smoke, people who previously did not have such health problems could be experiencing symptoms.

Asthma Australia CEO Michele Goldman says it was important to record the experiences of people now, in this moment.

“We are in the grips of a public health emergency with continuous inundation of bushfire smoke. I strongly encourage people, especially those with asthma to record how it’s affected you.”

She said it would deliver a different perspective to sit alongside data sets like Ambulance call outs and hospitalisations.

“Emergency data is valuable to record severe or life-threatening cases. Large numbers of people have been unwell, suffering silently in their homes for weeks on end now.”

“We hope to paint a deeper picture of the full and expansive impacts of this air quality crisis, a shared story from the homes of these Australians. It will help drive change and improve our response to events like this now and into the future,” she said.

The survey asks respondents about whether they have experienced asthma symptoms or other health impacts from bushfire smoke, in addition to open ended questions like how people have felt during periods of intense bushfire smoke and what the government or organisations like Asthma Australia can do to lower the health impacts.

The survey “Bushfire smoke: are you coping?” is available on the Asthma Australia website, Facebook page and Social Media platforms. Given the fires are expected to continue burning well into January, there is no survey closure date for now.

About bushfire smoke
Bushfire smoke contains high concentrations of particulate matter 2.5 (PM2.5), which makes its way into our lungs and bloodstream and can have effects on respiratory, cardiovascular systems and other organs.

Very young children, pregnant women (unborn children), the elderly and people with asthma and pre-existing respiratory or heart conditions may be particularly vulnerable to health implications.

Click here to complete the survey.