Asthma and Smoke, Bushfires and Asthma
Even though this post is dedicated to bushfires, the effects for the asthmatic are the same in heavy smogged areas caused by log/coal fires.
That said – let’s get on with the post.
Summer time in Australia and other parts of the world can be particularly problematic for people with asthma if they have a bushfire problem.
Wood, grass and undergrowth smoke from hazard reduction burns and/or the bush fire itself contain extremely harmful gases, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, organic compounds of all varieties which could irritate sensitive airways and trigger an attack.
The first to feel the effects of the particle pollution cased by the smoke are those suffering asthma, babies, children, the elderly and those suffering with any kind of lung disorder.
Just as you would need to update your Asthma Management Plan in spring, you really need to visit your Doctor and go over your Asthma Management Plan, and discuss the “What If’s” and get a plan to cover these.
Smoke can be worse if you live in a Bushfire prone area; however, even if you live in a city, the smoke travels and the air quality is greatly diminished. So do not be lured into a false sense of security.
Please avoid doing any physical activity outdoors, or let your asthmatic child play outdoors when there is smoke around.
If you live in a bushfire area as I do and my daughter does, when there is smoke from fires in the area, you should stay indoors, close all windows and doors and block all air vents and use a filtered air conditioner to circulate air UNLESS ASKED TO EVACUATE.
Make sure you continue using your preventer medication as set down on your Asthma Management Plan plus make sure you have PLENTY of your RELIEVER medication with you at all times. When my daughter was little I got my husband to drill a 2 small holes in the reliever case at the top, taking out the puffer of course and put some pretty ribbon on it and put it around my daughter’s neck so she would have it on her AT ALL TIMES. In fact she still does this today, when there is smoke in the air due to burn offs or bush fires in the area.
It is also wise if you live in a bush fire zone to keep extra RELIEVER puffers with your important papers that you would take with you if you needed to be evacuated. Also where-ever you live in hot summer weather please do not keep extra inhalers in the car, the heat destroys the effectiveness and you don’t want to be in a situation where you desperately need the reliever and it doesn’t work!
Smoke does not dissipate quickly, I am sure I am not telling you anything you don’t already know you, that darn smoke haze can hang around for days and often times more, should there be a few fires in the area. If you or your asthmatic child/children do need to go out side during this time, which you will, please wear a face mask as a precaution. If your child hates this, make it into a game, even be one step ahead and make the face mask into something special. You can get good face masks from the pharmacy; just explain to them what you need it for, they will be very happy to help you. When your child is asleep, make it into something nice, and hide it away until it is needed. I made and added whiskers onto my daughter’s when she was little and made it look more like the bottom of a cats face.
What’s next – Oh Yes -
ALWAYS remember, seek medical attention if your chest gets tight or your child’s chest gets tight, if there is any shortness of breath and the reliever does not help. It is much better to quickly get help than to suffer a bad attack.
In Australia and I am sure for most other countries, there are usually publicised announcements through local newspapers, radio and TV about hazard reduction burn offs, bush fires and also AIR QUALITY so familiarise yourself with these.
Until Next time, I wish you and yours only the very best of health!
It is important to note that information contained in this post is not intended to replace professional medical advice. Any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.