Wagga’s asthma sufferers have been warned to stay vigilant as they face the twin potential triggers of smoke haze and changeable autumn conditions.
The smoke hanging around the city in the early part of the week was attributed by the Rural Fire Service to seasonal burn-offs, rather than drifting in from massive fires that have ravaged the Tathra region.
“We just ask farmers to be mindful of winds when they burn off so as not to impact the community,” RFS Wagga operational officer Brad Stewart said.
“Last year it was pretty bad as there was a huge amount of burning off and the smoke impact was substantial, but this year we’re fortunate the need for burning off is not as great.”
High levels of pollen from Wagga’s plane and cedar trees could also trigger some people with asthma, according to respiratory clinical nurse consultant Robyn Paton.
Ms Paton warned that it wasn’t just asthma sufferers who were at risk, but also people who lived with chronic respiratory conditions.
“It is probably timely to remind people who have these conditions to be aware,” she said.
“It doesn’t affect everybody the same way.
“People should try to avoid the smoke and the pollen that’s around at the moment.
“Those who use preventer medication should make sure they are taking it.”
Ms Paton said it was important not to ignore respiratory symptoms.
“If the symptoms are getting worse, don’t ignore them. Keep taking your reliever medication
“Check with your doctor or, if necessary, go to the Wagga Base Hospital emergency department.
“If you can’t drive because of your symptoms, get someone else to take you, or call an ambulance.”
Wagga dad-of-three Evan Traviss knows just how quickly an asthma attack can come on as all three of his children have at some stage been affected by the condition.
“It’s really important to have an asthma plan ready and to stick to it,” he said.
“And make sure your Ventolin and preventative inhalers are filled and readily available.
“An asthma attack can happen very quickly.”