Air quality alert for Central and Western NSW

AN air quality alert has been issued for residents in Central and Western NSW due to smoke and dust blowing across the region.

The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) says there are particles in the air of less than 10 micrometers in diameter across the region.

At that level, the OEH advises that people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid exercising outdoors.

"Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion," the alert stated.

"If you have symptoms rest and use your reliever medicine. If symptoms persist, seek medical advice."

The largest fire currently burning in this region is a 32,000 hectare bushfire burning in the Wollemi National Park near Lithgow, while there are two small fires near Oberon.

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Exposure and health effects

NSW Health say the most common symptoms experienced during a dust storm are irritation to the eyes and upper airways. People who may be more vulnerable than others are:

  • infants, children and adolescents
  • the elderly
  • people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema
  • people with heart disease
  • people with diabetes.

Health precautions

The following precautions can help you protect yourself and minimise the adverse effects of a dust storm:

  • Avoid outdoor activity. If you must go outside, spend as little time outside as possible.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a mask or damp cloth to reduce exposure to dust particles. A P2 or P3 mask, available from hardware stores, should block even the finest particles if fitted correctly over the nose and mouth.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise, especially if you have asthma, diabetes or a breathing-related condition.
  • Stay indoors, with windows and doors closed.
  • Stay in air-conditioned premises, if possible.

For emergency medical assistance call triple-0.

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This story Air quality alert issued for residents in Central, Western NSW first appeared on Western Advocate.