Health warning - smoky conditions - Alice Springs region

17 August 2011

With fires burning in and around the Alice Springs region, residents are starting to feel the effects of the lingering smoke.

Director of Emergency Medicine at the Alice Springs Hospital, Dr Stephen Gourley said there has been an increase in the number of patients presenting with respiratory distress over the last few days.

"People are presenting with itchy eyes, runny noses, sore throats and minor breathing difficulties, all of which are normal symptoms for the current conditions in the town at the moment.

"Whilst there is no cause for alarm, there are some simple precautions that people can take to minimise the health effects from the smoke haze. 

We suggest that people stay indoors and refrain from exercising outdoors, that people diagnosed with asthma follow their asthma management plan and that the very young and elderly are watched for signs of respiratory distress."

Over-the-counter medications are available to alleviate minor symptoms like a runny nose and itchy eyes, but anyone suffering respiratory distress should present at the hospital for further treatment.

Media Contact:  Sharon Hutton  8951 5123 or 0401 114 113