Summer set to take asthmatics' breath away

ASTHMATICS are warned a harsh season is upon them, thanks to an early flowering season, a high pollen count, temperatures forecast to rise, and an extensive program of hazard-reduction burns.

The Asthma Foundation NSW has issued a general warning to the 800,000 people in NSW who live with asthma, that spring could be bad for asthmatics.

Apart from the pollen count, roughly one-third of NSW was classed as a high fire risk and so to counter this threat the Rural Fire Service has started an extensive program of hazard reduction burns across the state.

CEO of Asthma Foundation NSW Michele Goldman said while smoke from hazard reduction burns posed a health risk for asthmatics and people with other lung or respiratory conditions, the work the RFS was doing was vital to protect property and lives during the warmer months when bushfires were a threat.

She said pollens drawn up into the atmosphere and distributed by wind and thunderstorms were a major concern because 80% of asthmatics also had allergies.

"Allergies trigger asthma attacks in 60-90% of children and in 50% of adults," Ms Goldman said.

She said asthma claimed the lives of more than 400 Australians each year.



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