A severe asthma warning has been upgraded in parts of the country with authorities concerned air quality could pose health concerns. The smoke haze that's blanketed Sydney is expected to remain over the weekend, while Melbourne is facing thunderstorms that could trigger attacks.
Julia Ovens knows all too well the havoc a smoky environment can play on her health.
During the Grantville bushfire in Victoria’s Gippsland region earlier this year she felt the impact, although the blaze was at least 50 kilometres away from her home.
The air quality for the greater Sydney region is rated hazardous with 70 bushfires across the state, and vulnerable residents have been warned to stay inside until the skies clear.
People with asthma or hayfever in Melbourne and parts of Victoria have been alerted to the potentially deadly risk of asthma triggered by coming thunderstorms.
Given the potentially serious health impacts, and with one in nine Australians suffering from the condition, Asthma Australia CEO Michele Goldman is calling for better warnings to be given to the community to help minimize the risks.
And researchers at the University of Tasmania say they've identified a clear link between bushfire smoke and asthma attacks.
Nicolas Borchers-Arriagada is the study’s lead researcher.
The study also found those most vulnerable were women, anyone over 65 and those who had pre-existing respiratory conditions.