With major cities across Australia choking on thick clouds of hazardous smoke,an expert from The Australian National University (ANU) has released freelyaccessible new factsheets on how to best protect yourself from bushfire smoke.

The factsheets have been developed by leading air quality and health expertProfessor Sotiris Vardoulakis from the ANU Research School of PopulationHealth.

Professor Vardoulakis said there is an urgent need for more comprehensive andbalanced health protection advice as Australians deal with unprecedentedlevels of bushfire smoke.

“The existing public health advice on bushfire smoke is mainly tailored tobrief air pollution episodes, typically lasting no longer than one or twodays,” Professor Vardoulakis said.

“But this is not normal, and we need to urgently do more. People need to beable to access the best information out there simply and quickly.

“In the current bushfire season, urban centres have been exposed to highlevels of smoke over weeks and months.

“This new situation requires a rapid and well-targeted health protectionresponse.

“The ANU factsheets provide the advice and practical tips urgently needed bypeople exposed to bushfire smoke in their daily lives for short and longerperiods.”

The information is designed to enable the public to make clear and informeddecisions for dealing with our current and future hazy summers.

Professor Vardoulakis said he hoped the fact sheets will help people navigatethe overwhelming cloud of information from health professionals, media and thepublic.

“These factsheets will clear a path for communities and people asking how theycan plan daily life for the remainder of this unprecedented season and futuresummers,” he said.

“They aim to provide evidence-based advice on the most practical and effectiveways for protecting our health, as well as resources for further informationand public health action.

“Understandably, bushfires and smoke have caused a lot of stress and anxietyin our communities, particularly among parents with young children, pregnantwomen, the elderly, and those with existing lung disease, heart disease orother chronic illness.”

The factsheets include information for those more vulnerable to the smoke, aswell as for healthy individuals, and address topics such as being active,facemasks, mental health and medication plans.

Access the factsheets for free at: https://rsph.anu.edu.au/news-events/news/how-protect-yourself-and-others-bushfire-smoke

Image: Thick smoke haze hangs heavy over an empty skate park in Canberra.Photo: Lannon Harley/ANU

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