NSW Faces Health Warning Issues as Temperatures and Ozone Pollution Increase

Tough week for people with asthma and farmers across Queensland and NSW

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High Temperatures
  • Temperatures will reach 38C in Sydney on Wednesday and 47C in northern NSW on Friday
  • Poor air quality is set to affect Sydney as high levels of ozone settle low in the atmosphere
  • Farmers have been warned about the high risk of bushfires

Queensland and NSW are facing some crazy weather this week. Temperatures are set to rise on both states, and Sydney is faced with an air pollution warning for Wednesday, as the mercury is predicted to reach a maximum of 38C. Brisbane will experience 32C today and 35C tomorrow.

The rural areas have it even worse, with NSW residents being warned to brace for a long-lasting heat as a hot air mass settles over the entirety of the state. The northern town of Bourke is expecting temperatures of 45C for the next 48 hours, rising up to 47C on Friday.

NSW Health said the poor air quality in Sydney will be of significant concern, particularly for residents with respiratory conditions. Ozone pollution, generally caused by reactive gases such as industrial fumes and car exhaust, gets worse in the heat of the summer, and reaches its highest concentrations in the late afternoon. Spending an extended amount of time outside in such conditions can result in eye, nose, throat and lung irritations, as well as dry cough and shortness of breath, making it a primary concern for people with chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma.

Michele Goldman, the CEO of Asthma Australia, says an increase in temperatures and poor air quality can trigger asthma, a condition that affects 11 per cent of the population.

“These conditions cause the muscles around the airwaves to tighten, become inflamed and produce mucus, so the airwaves become narrow. There is much less space for air to move through, making it harder to breathe,” said Goldman in an interview with news.com.au.

Parents have been advised to limit the time their children with asthma spend playing outside.

“Ozone levels reach their peak around 7pm in the evening and tend to be lowest in the morning, so it’s best to plan outdoor play in the morning when the day is cooler,” said Dr Ben Scalley of NSW Health.

“Parents should limit the time their children with asthma play outside as they are more susceptible to the effects of ozone pollution.”

In addition to our lungs, nature is also a cause for concern. The NSW Rural Fire Service has issued a high level risk warning of bushfires for the next few days, urging farmers to take action to protect their properties by putting firebreaks around all their valuable assets.