Scenic Rim fires affect air quality, says Asthma Australia

WOOLOOMAN resident Suzanne McCorkell, has grave concerns about the air quality around Ipswich and Scenic Rim regions and says out of control fires, soaring temperatures, howling winds and dust storms are contributing to a state that already has an extremely high rate of asthma sufferers.

Woolooman is west of Undullah, where firefighters have been working for more than a week to contain an inaccessible bushfire.

Ms McCorkell said she was a former radiation therapist of 20 years and knew first hand the dangers of passive smoking and the stress that prolonged smoke inhalation and poor air quality can have on the respiratory system.

“I don’t know about you, but I feel like I am a two pack a day smoker at the moment,” she said.

“We know the dangers of passive smoking, and this season, the smoke and dust have been relentless”

This comes after Asthma Australia launched a new support and information campaign last week called Breathe Better in Extreme Weather, recognising the impact severe weather can have on people with asthma.

The campaign highlighted how people could keep their asthma well controlled and stay safe during bush fires, heatwaves, dust storms, thunderstorms and flooding events.

With experts predicting a particularly menacing and extreme weather season, Asthma Australia chief executive Michele Goldman said children and the elderly were particularly susceptible.

“Extreme weather events occur suddenly and increase exposure to a range of asthma triggers including dust, pollen and smoke and reduce air quality,” said Ms Goldman.

“Stay vigilant with your asthma management and understand your triggers, follow your Asthma Action Plan and avoid exposure where possible,” she said. 

Ms McCorkell said the air around her property was affected by the fires, with people choosing to follow expert advice to reduce their smoke exposure by staying indoors with the doors and windows closed, doing as little outdoor activity as possible and using re-circulated air in the car. 

“We have even had Airbnb guests cancel due to concerns around smoke inhalation,” she said.

“Our guests for this weekend have an 8-year-old daughter who is a chronic asthmatic.

“They have decided to stay on the coast.”.