Smoke from Australian bush fires could have effects on asthma, COPD, and other respiratory conditions if it reaches low air levels, says Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ.
This smoke has been drifting across the Tasman for several days, with noticeable effects on weather across the North Island.
ARFNZ Chief Executive Letitia Harding says that, while there haven’t yet been official reports of increased respiratory problems for New Zealanders, people with respiratory conditions should be mindful of potential risks.
"If you have a respiratory condition, you should ensure that you keep your medication with you at all times," says Letitia. "It’s also a good time to remember that medication does expire, and so you should ensure that your inhalers are up to date in case you need them."
Smoke can irritate the airways and trigger worsening of respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis, or COPD, with children and the elderly being among those most at risk of unexpected flare-ups. Reducing the chance of exposure or outdoor exertion can help to prevent any complications.
"The best advice we can give is to keep taking your preventer medications, and keep your reliever medication on hand," says Letitia. "If you are experiencing worsening of your respiratory condition, or believe you may be developing symptoms, contact your GP as soon as possible to discuss your options."
For more information on respiratory conditions and managing asthma, visit arfnz.org.nz