With the ongoing fire at SkyCity in Auckland, Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ are urging anyone with a respiratory condition to avoid the city centre as much as possible.

Smoke has filled the Auckland central business district for the last several days, and many have already reported sore throats, burning eyes, and coughing. Teresa Demetriou, ARFNZ Head of Education and Research, says that the smoke could seriously exacerbate existing respiratory conditions, and even lead to developing new ones.

"Smoke is a major trigger for asthma, as it is effectively tiny particles entering the throat and lungs," says Teresa. "This can severely irritate those with respiratory illnesses like asthma, bronchitis, or COPD, who could experience severe worsening of their conditions if they spend too much time in these conditions.

Teresa says that it simply isn’t worth trying to struggle through and soldier on when the cost is your long-term health.

"Kiwis usually want to tough it out and not make a fuss, but I have worked as a respiratory nurse for many years and seen first-hand the damage that can be done to the lungs. If you suffer from asthma, or any respiratory illness, make sure you’re not exposing yourself to these conditions unless absolutely necessary. It is not worth the risk."

The Foundation advises you, if you have a respiratory condition, to ensure that you keep your respiratory medication with you at all times. If you are experiencing exacerbations of your respiratory condition, or believe you may be developing one, contact your GP as soon as possible.