July 19, 2018

Dust storm triggers warning for people with lung conditions

As weather forecasters predict potential dust storms across south-west Queensland, Lung Foundation Australia is warning people who have an existing lung condition to look after themselves and take precautionary measures to minimise their exposure to excessive dust.

Small dust particles in the air can penetrate deeply into the lungs and irritate the airways causing symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing to worsen for people with lung conditions including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), bronchiectasis and asthma.

Children, the elderly, smokers and people with pre-existing illnesses such as heart or lung conditions are more sensitive to breathing in fine particles.

Lung Foundation Australia encourages everyone with a lung condition to make sure they have an up-to-date action plan, and ensure their medicines are current. Action plans guide patients and carers in recognising when symptoms change and what action should be taken.

Where possible, people with poor lung health in the areas affected by dust storms should:

  • Avoid physical activity outdoors while dust is in the area
  • Rest more frequently and keep away from the dust where possible
  • Follow your action plans and treatment advised by their doctor and keep their medicines close to hand
  • Close windows and doors to minimize dust in the home
  • Switch air conditioners/heaters (if you have one) to recycle or recirculate.

Key contact numbers for more information:

For general health advice, call healthdirect Australia – 1800 022 222

Lung Foundation Australia – 1800 654 301