The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ (ARFNZ) is urging anyone with a respiratory condition who has been evacuated from the Kaimaumau area to be careful about smoke, and to stay indoors as far as possible, with the active fire currently burning across over 2,000 hectares in the Far North.
"Our thoughts are with the Kaimaumau community, fire and emergency services and the police at this challenging time," says ARFNZ Chief Executive Letitia Harding.
Smoke from fires can worsen existing respiratory conditions and cause burning eyes, sore throats and coughing.
"Smoke is a major trigger for asthma, as it is effectively tiny particles entering the throat and lungs and causing irritation," says Joanna Turner, Research and Education Manager, ARFNZ.
"This can have severe effects for those with respiratory illnesses like asthma, bronchitis, or COPD, with children and the elderly being among those most at risk of unexpected flare-ups."
Joanna says that the best thing people can do is stay indoors and keep doors and windows closed until the smoke clears, especially with the strong winds blowing in the area today.
Letitia adds, "If you have a respiratory condition, ensure that you keep your respiratory medication nearby, and if you are experiencing exacerbations or flare-ups of your respiratory condition, contact your GP as soon as possible."
20/12/2021 - NZ Herald