Bushfires and Asthma
For people with asthma living in high risk bushfire zones, the bushfire season is time to be on high alert for asthma symptoms. Smoke and increased air pollution from fires can trigger asthma symptoms, as can high emotions such as stress and anxiety.
First Aid for Asthma
If asthma symptoms occur, do not delay:
- Follow your personal written asthma action plan
- If you don’t have an action plan, take 4 separate puffs of a blue/grey reliever
- If the symptoms aren’t going away or are getting worse, then follow the steps in First Aid for Asthma
Download The National Asthma Council charts First Aid for Asthma and the Kids’ First Aid for Asthma
Be aware of the risk
Bushfire smoke and debris can trigger asthma symptoms, such as wheezing, breathlessness, coughing or chest tightness.
If you have asthma, or if you are responsible for a child or elderly person with asthma, be aware of the risk and the fact that these triggers can linger long after the actual bushfire threat has subsided.
This is also critically important for the many hundreds of volunteers, emergency personnel and media representatives working within the fire zones.
People in areas not directly impacted by the bushfires, including built-up areas, are also at risk as winds can carry smoke and ash particles long distances.
Try to reduce exposure to smoke by staying indoors with the doors and windows closed, doing as little outdoor activity as possible and using re-circulated air in the car.
Asthma bushfire plan
Anyone with asthma living in a high-risk bushfire zone should include asthma management in their fire safety survival plan:
- Keep your reliever handy at all times
- Make sure you have plenty of asthma medication available to you
- If you decide to evacuate make sure your reliever and other medications go with you
- Always follow your personal Asthma Action Plan
If asthma symptoms occur, don’t delay:
- Follow your personal Written Asthma Action Plan
If you don’t have an action plan, take 4 separate puffs of a blue/grey reliever
If the symptoms aren’t going away or are getting worse, follow the steps in First Aid for Asthma
- First Aid for Asthma Chart
- Kids First Aid for Asthma
- Asthma action plans by National Asthma Council Australia
- Remote Indigenous Australian Short Wind asthma action plan
- This asthma action plan was developed specifically for Indigenous peoples with asthma who live in remote areas of Australia.
- The Remote Indigenous Australian Asthma Action Plan was developed by the Australian Department of Health based on a plan designed by Professor Anne Chang. The imagery is from the Short Wind educational materials distributed by the Asthma Foundation of the Northern Territory. This asthma action plan was funded by the Australian Government.
- Asthma Care Plan for education and care services