Bushfires double asthma cases treated in hospital

Between Friday 18 October and Tuesday 22 October, 228 people with asthma attended metropolitan emergency departments and 799 people were treated for breathing problems by NSW ambulance personnel.

Professor Wayne Smith, director of the Environmental Health Branch of NSW Health, said that during those five days, the Office of Environment and Heritage air quality measurements showed air pollution across the Sydney metropolitan area ranged from poor to hazardous.

He said 65 patients with asthma conditions were treated on Monday this week, representing a 124% increase over usual numbers.

“On the same day, there was a 38% increase in the number of people treated for breathing problems, with 193 patients assessed after an ambulance call-out,” he said.

Dr Paul Robinson, staff specialist at the department of respiratory medicine, Children’s Hospital, Westmead, said it was critical for people to avoid smoke exposure and take their