Numbers down at Katoomba Hospital for respiratory illness despite bushfires

Despite hazardous air pollution readings from bushfire smoke over the Christmas holidays, the number of emergency presentations for respiratory illness at Blue Mountains Hospital is down on the previous year.

Smoke at Woodford in November. Photo: Aidan Williams.

Smoke at Woodford in November. Photo: Aidan Williams.

Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Public Health Medical Officer, Dr Sheena Kakar said: "Blue Mountains Hospital has continued to operate extremely well this bushfire season. There have been 657 emergency presentations recorded for respiratory conditions since October 2019. This figure is down from 678 presentations upon the previous year."

Emergency department presentations for respiratory conditions were 226 since October 2019 and the figure was steady with the previous year's admissions of 224, Dr Kakar said.

"Small children, the elderly and people who have heart or lung disease including asthma are most susceptible to experiencing health effects from air pollution and excessive smoke."

Dr Kakar advised simple tips to stay safe on days with poor air quality include:

  • People with asthma, heart disease and other lung and heart conditions should avoid vigorous outdoor physical activity when smoke is around.
  • Stay indoors with doors and windows shut to reduce exposure
  • People with asthma or a lung condition should follow their Asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Action Plan and carry their reliever medication with them. If your symptoms do not settle, seek medical advice.
  • In case of emergency always dial Triple Zero.