Many parts of Australia, including Melbourne and Sydney, have been blanketed by smoke haze due to the devastating bushfires.
The air quality in some areas of NSW and Victoria dropped to a very poor or hazardous rating multiple times this Summer and authorities have advised those who live in affected areas to limit their time spent outdoors.
Poor air quality is a health risk to vulnerable groups including older people, children, pregnant women, those suffering from asthma and allergies as well as people with existing heart or lung conditions.
However, doctors have warned that even people who are otherwise healthy could be negatively affected by prolonged exposure to smoke haze, and develop serious illnesses over time.
Poor air quality can cause some of the following symptoms:
- Coughing, wheezing, chest congestion, shortness of breath or other respiratory issues
- Allergic episodes such as itching, sneezing and irritation
- Watery eyes
- Headaches, fatigue or dizziness
- Skin dryness or irritation
When the air quality reaches very poor or hazardous rating, we are advised to stay indoors as much as possible with their doors and windows closed.
How do you ensure, however, that the air quality inside the buildings and homes remain healthy and safe?
Using air conditioners to keep smoke out
As the air quality deteriorates, many experts and authorities will recommend that people stay inside their homes with doors and windows shut, and with the air conditioner turned on.
It is important to remember, however, to turn off the ‘Fresh Air’ function on your air conditioner if it has one, because this feature draws air from outside into the home, which is what you do not want at this moment.
Similarly, you should avoid using evaporative cooling systems when experiencing smoke haze, as it may bring in the smoke that you want to keep out.
Make sure your air conditioner is switched to the recirculate mode, so that it recycles indoor air instead of taking in outside air.
Many modern reverse cycle split system models come with good air filtration and purifying systems, so they can actually improve your indoor air quality while keeping you cool at the same time.
Some of the Daikin air conditioners, for example, come with an advanced deodorising air purification filter that traps microscopic particles and decomposes odours. This not only cleanses the air but will also help to eliminate some of the overpowering smoke smell within your home.
Other features include humidification, dehumidification and ventilating capabilities to keep the air comfortable for you and your family.
Daikin split systems such as the US7 have also been approved by the National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice program, making them an especially good option for those suffering from asthma and allergies.
Other ways to protect yourself from smoke haze
Besides running the air conditioner, here are some other things you can do:
- Get an air purifier with HEPA filter
- Try to spend time inside buildings with better air filtration systems, such as offices or shopping centres
- If possible, temporarily relocate to another area where the air quality is not as bad
Some things to avoid doing when the air quality is poor include: exercising outside, and burning incense sticks in an attempt to get rid of the smell of the smoke.
To find out more about Daikin split systems, please contact Dale Air today.