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Health Advice For People Suffering Respiratory Problems Or Burns During A Bushfire


Respiratory Issues SNSWLHD is urging local residents with chronic respiratory conditions to be aware of the health effects of smoke exposure caused from the recent bushfires. Not everyone who is exposed to bushfire smoke will have health problems and most healthy adults who experience symptoms will recover quickly and not suffer any long-term consequences. Smoke particles can also cause a variety of health problems, such as itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation or runny nose; and aggravate existing illnesses including bronchitis, emphysema and asthma. However, smoke exposure can lead people with lung disease or chronic bronchitis to develop shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, many days after smoke is inhaled. SNSWLHD recommend these people closely monitor symptoms and follow their asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) action plan, including seeking medical advice if symptoms don’t settle. Burns Whatever the depth of a burn, the initial treatment is always the same: 1. Remove any clothing or jewellery near the affected area. 2. Place the burn under cool running water for at least 20 minutes. 3. Do not use ice or iced water. All large burns (greater than the size of a 20c piece), partial-thickness burns (painful, blistered and weeping) and full-thickness burns (painless, white and potentially waxy or charred-looking) require urgent medical assessment. All burns affecting the face or neck require urgent medical assessment. All burns that cross a joint or that completely encircle a digit (finger or toe) or limb also require urgent assessment. Small, epidermal burns (less than the size of a 20c piece) may be treated at home. An epidermal burn is one that only affects the top layer of skin. It will be red and painful, but the skin will be intact, with no weeping or blistering. Covering the burn with a layer of cling film after cooling will protect the area and may reduce the pain. Do not burst any blisters that develop. If the burn is very painful, or seems to be getting worse, seek medical attention. For more information on maintaining health during a bushfire: http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/bushfire-smoke.aspx


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