SMOKE haze from bushfires burning across the state that has been blown to the Wimmera isn't going away soon, the Environment Protection Authority said.
The EPA issued an advice message on Wednesday evening for overnight moderate to hazardous air quality, with the worst affected areas to be closer to the bushfires in Gippsland but still very poor in central districts.
The authority said some smoke haze may still occur in the Western districts and said the forecast for the Wimmera was moderate for Thursday.
A moderate rating means the air quality is okay, but it could change soon. It's okay to be outside but watch for changes in air quality.
The EPA said smoke could affect people's health and recommended minimising time spent in smoky conditions whenever practical to do so.
The Country Fire Authority said smoke may still be lingering in areas surrounding Mount Ararat from a bushfire that started on Tuesday but was brought under control on Wednesday morning.
What you should do:
- Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing should call Triple Zero (000).
- If you have concerns about your health you should seek medical advice or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024.
- Symptoms of smoke inhalation injury can include itchy eyes, sore throat and runny nose through to shortness of breath, coughing, vomiting, nausea, and confusion.
People should guard against exposure to smoke by taking some simple precautions:
- Stay inside your house if possible; close all windows and doors.
- If you use an air conditioner switch it to "recycle" or "recirculate".
- Avoid exercise.
- Ordinary paper dust masks and handkerchiefs won't filter out fine particles from bushfire smoke - use a special P2 or N95 filter mask, which you can get at a hardware store. Be sure it fits properly and you don't have any medical issues that would prevent use.
Smoke and your health:
- Some people are more sensitive to the effects of breathing in smoke.
- You will be more sensitive to smoke if you have a heart or lung condition (including asthma), are pregnant, or are over 65. Children up to 14 are more sensitive to the effects of breathing in smoke.
- If you are sensitive to smoke you should limit prolonged or heavy physical activity. Where possible you should try to stay indoors.
- If you have a heart or lung conditions you should take your medication as prescribed by your doctor.
- If you are asthmatic, follow your asthma plan and carry reliever medication with you.
- For more information on smoke and your health visit https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/your-environment/air/smoke.
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