THE thick smoke haze you have woken up to this morning is likely to linger until tomorrow morning, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Senior forecaster Tom Delamotte said it was expected the haze would remain in the Ballarat area throughout today.
While some of the smoke may be reduced with expected shower and thunderstorm activity this afternoon, Mr Delamotte said Ballarat residents would not notice a major improvement until tomorrow morning.
With a maximum of 33 degrees, there is a potential for significant rainfall this afternoon, with between 5-15mm of rain forecast.
Moreover, if a thunderstorm forms, there is a potential for high winds and significant rainfall in some areas. Mr Delamotte said isolated falls of between 30-50 mm could be expected in some parts of the Ballarat region.
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The smoke affecting Ballarat is the result of fires burning across Victoria and in New South Wales.
The Environmental Protection Authority has issued a health warning to ensure people are aware of the impact of smoke and urges people to minimise the amount of time spent outdoors in practical conditions.
What you should do:
- Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing should call Triple Zero (000).
- If you have concerns about your health you should seek medical advice or call Nurse on Call on 1300 606 024.
- Symptoms of smoke inhalation injury can include itchy eyes, sore throat and runny nose through to shortness of breath, coughing, vomiting, nausea, and confusion.
People should guard against exposure to smoke by taking some simple precautions:
- Stay inside your house if possible; close all windows and doors.
- If you use an air conditioner switch it to "recycle" or "recirculate".
- Avoid exercise.
- Ordinary paper dust masks and handkerchiefs won't filter out fine particles from bushfire smoke - use a special P2 or N95 filter mask, which you can get at a hardware store. Be sure it fits properly and you don't have any medical issues that would prevent use.
Smoke and your health:
- Some people are more sensitive to the effects of breathing in smoke.
- You will be more sensitive to smoke if you have a heart or lung condition (including asthma), are pregnant, or are over 65. Children up to 14 are more sensitive to the effects of breathing in smoke.
- If you are sensitive to smoke you should limit prolonged or heavy physical activity. Where possible you should try to stay indoors.
- If you have a heart or lung conditions you should take your medication as prescribed by your doctor.
- If you are asthmatic, follow your asthma plan and carry reliever medication with you.
- For more information on smoke and your health visit https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/your-environment/air/smoke.
- Check EPA's air quality information: www.epa.vic.gov.au/EPAAirWatch.
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