Central Tableland’s hazardous air quality is the worst in NSW

By | December 11, 2019

At 7am on Wednesday the numerical air quality rating for the region was 1011 which ranks as ‘hazardous’ on the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) website.

The level was far above any other DPIE reading location in NSW.

At this 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.”

Meanwhile, there is a very high danger risk and total fire ban in the Central Ranges for Wednesday which includes these council areas: Bathurst, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Lithgow, Mid-Western, Oberon and Orange.

The largest fire currently burning in the region is the 320,000 Gospers Mountain bushfire burning north-east of Lithgow which is listed as being controlled.

If you see an unattended fire call triple-0 immediately.

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.
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For emergency medical assistance call triple-0.

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Western Advocate – Health