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    Medibank sees significant increase in calls from New South Wales and ACT for breathing problems

    Medibank Nurse providing telehealth services

    Medibank’s telehealth services are receiving a significant increase in calls from people in New South Wales and the ACT looking for help and advice on breathing issues.

    Since the early arrival of the nation’s bushfire season in October, calls related to wheezing, asthma and breathing problems have steadily increased.

    The data is consistent with ongoing fire conditions and the impact this is having on air quality, not only in areas directly impacted by bushfires but also in places hundreds of kilometres away.

    Medibank Chief Medical Officer Dr Linda Swan says the number of calls in the first week of January compared to the same time last year reflects the scale and severity of the bushfire season.

    “Calls from New South Wales for breathing problems are up 72%.

    “And the hazardous smoke haze in the ACT has seen respiratory issues account for 20% of calls – three times higher than usual.

    “When air quality is poor, it’s important that people follow their doctor’s advice about any possible health impacts, avoid vigorous outdoor activity and reduce their exposure by staying indoors as much as possible with the doors and windows closed.

    “Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness, or difficulty breathing should seek urgent medical attention, and in the event of a medical emergency call 000.”

    For more information about protecting your health in these smoke-affected areas, go to NSW Health and ACT Health.

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