Queensland bushfires trigger asthma as air quality gets worse than Mumbai’s in parts of south-east





Updated

November 17, 2019 16:07:23

South-east Queensland has again been shrouded by smoke from the bushfires, raising air pollution levels.

Key points:

  • A southerly change late yesterday and overnight brought a lot of smoke to areas in south-east Queensland
  • The Pharmacy Guild Queensland is urging residents with asthma conditions and respiratory issues to keep their medication close by
  • The air at Southport on the Gold Coast was listed as worse than in Mumbai, India

State government data shows the air quality in Southport, South Brisbane and Woolloongabba is “very poor”.

It is ranked as “poor” in nine other locations, including the Brisbane CBD, Rocklea and Springwood.

According to a global index of air pollution, that puts the current air quality in Southport on par with that in Beijing and worse than in Mumbai.

‘It’s hard to breathe’

Brisbane student Nicholas Steeden, 13, was diagnosed with asthma this week.

His mother Sarah Steeden said the doctor advised her to keep her son inside and avoid him taking part in physical activity until the smoky conditions eased.

“It’s hard to breathe,” Nicholas said.

“I don’t have much energy and I’m angry because I can’t play outside.”

The family struggled to source a nebuliser for him.

Ms Steeden said she tried to hire one from five different chemists but they were all out of stock.

Pollution impacts are cumulative

Vice-president of the Pharmacy Guild Queensland Chris Owen said anyone with respiratory issues should make sure they have their medication close at hand.

“Locally we’re seeing that there’s a lot more presentations and exacerbations of asthma conditions and respiratory illness,” he said.

“We’re seeing that a lot more people are using their puffer more regularly due to the air quality and the irritants that are coming with the smoke.”

Mr Owen said there were no widespread shortages of respiratory medications.

“There have been some local incidents, some isolated local incidents, where pharmacies have run out of stock [but] there’s no widespread issues,” he said.

“The suppliers do have plenty of stock. It may just be a timing thing where they didn’t have any stock on the shelf at that particular time and you may need to shop around.”

Senior forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology Jess Gardner said a southerly change late yesterday and overnight brought a lot of smoke with it.

“It was probably at its worst earlier this morning as the sun started to come up and we saw some mixing in the atmosphere,” she said.

“That should start to ease a little bit, but it’s definitely going to remain fairly smoky for much of the morning at least.”

Topics:

fires,

bushfire,

disasters-and-accidents,

air-pollution,

brisbane-4000,

qld,

australia,

southport-4215

First posted

November 17, 2019 15:56:21



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