Public Health Alert update: Air quality in Canberra is deteriorating due to dust storm

As forecasted by the Bureau of Meteorology today, the ACT is experiencing dry conditions and strong winds, and the levels of dust particles are rising across the city reducing the air quality.

As forecasted by the Bureau of Meteorology today, the ACT is experiencing dry conditions and strong winds, and the levels of dust particles are rising across the city reducing the air quality.

Anyone can experience symptoms from dust including the most common symptoms; burning eyes, throat and skin irritation. Some people with pre-existing breathing-related problems, such as asthma and chronic lung diseases, may experience breathing difficulties.

Precautions you can take to minimise health impacts of a dust storm include:

  • leave the area for a cleaner environment;
  • stay indoors, with windows and doors closed;
  • stay in air-conditioned premises and switch the air-conditioner to ‘recycle’ or ‘recirculate’ to reduce the amount of dust entering the building;
  • visit a local air-conditioned building such as a library, community centre or shopping centre;
  • avoid vigorous exercise, especially if you have a heart or lung condition;
  • if you have a heart or lung condition, follow your treatment plan prescribed by your doctor; and
  • if it is safe to do so, check on elderly neighbours or other people who you think might need extra help.

Anyone experiencing difficulty breathing, should seek medical attention.

Anyone with concerns about their health should seek medical advice from their health practitioner, and anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing should seek urgent medical assistance. In the event of a medical emergency call 000.

This atmospheric dust will likely impact Canberra into the evening as well. ACT Health will continue to monitor the air quality in the ACT and will advise the public if additional public health advice is warranted.

For further information on managing your health during dust storms, visit our dust storms fact sheet available on the ACT Health website. 

For further information on weather conditions, visit: www.bom.gov.au

Page last updated on: 12 Mar 2019