Sydney forecast

An air quality forecast for the Sydney Metropolitan Region is made at 4pm every day.



Following the 2019 – 2020 bushfire season, the following changes have been made to our network:

  • Our Grafton, Lismore, Cooma, and Merimbula emergency monitoring sites have been retained as part of our Rural Air Quality Monitoring Network. These stations will help expand the network in the state’s north east and south east.
  • Monitoring sites at Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie have been retained and will continue to report hourly data. Negotiations continue with councils on a permanent location for a comprehensive air quality monitoring station on the Mid-North Coast.

The activity guide below has been derived by categorising air quality into colour indicators, based on threshold values for air pollutants’ concentrations and visibility data. Go with the colours and follow the recommended actions to protect your health.

Air quality category

General health advice and recommended actions

Sensitive groups including:

  • people with a heart or lung condition, including asthma
  • people over the age of 65
  • infants and children
  • pregnant women

Everyone else

Good

  • NO CHANGE needed to your normal outdoor activities.
  • NO CHANGE needed to your normal outdoor activities.

Fair

  • REDUCE outdoor physical activity if you develop symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath.
  • Consider closing windows and doors until outdoor air quality is better.
  • Follow the treatment plan recommended by your doctor.
  • If you are concerned about symptoms call the 24-hour HealthDirect helpline on 1800 022 222 or see your doctor.
  • In a health emergency, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.
  • NO CHANGE needed to your normal outdoor activities.

Poor

  • AVOID outdoor physical activity if you develop symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath.
  • When indoors, close windows and doors until outdoor air quality is better.
  • Follow the treatment plan recommended by your doctor.
  • If you are concerned about symptoms call the 24-hour HealthDirect helpline on 1800 022 222 or see your doctor.
  • In a health emergency, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.
  • REDUCE outdoor physical activity if you develop symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath.

Very poor

  • STAY INDOORS as much as possible with windows and doors closed until outdoor air quality is better.
  • If you feel that the air in your home is uncomfortable, consider going to a place with cleaner air (such as an air-conditioned building like a library or shopping centre) if it is safe to do so.
  • Actively monitor symptoms and follow the treatment plan recommended by your doctor.
  • If you are concerned about symptoms call the 24-hour HealthDirect helpline on 1800 022 222 or see your doctor.
  • In a health emergency, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.
  • AVOID outdoor physical activity if you develop symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath.
  • When indoors, close windows and doors until outdoor air quality is better.
  • If you are concerned about symptoms call the 24-hour HealthDirect helpline on 1800 022 222 or see your doctor.
  • In a health emergency, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

Extremely poor

  • STAY INDOORS with windows and doors closed until outdoor air quality is better and reduce indoor activity.
  • If you feel that the air in your home is uncomfortable, consider going to a place with cleaner air (such as an air-conditioned building like a library or shopping centre) if it is safe to do so.
  • Actively monitor symptoms and follow the treatment plan recommended by   your doctor.
  • If you are concerned about symptoms call the 24-hour HealthDirect helpline on 1800 022 222 or see your doctor.
  • In a health emergency, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.
  • STAY INDOORS as much as possible with windows and doors closed until   outdoor air quality is better.
  • If you feel that the air in your home is uncomfortable, consider going to a place with cleaner air (such as an air-conditioned building like a library or shopping centre) if it is safe to do so.
  • If you are concerned about symptoms call the 24-hour HealthDirect helpline on 1800 022 222 or see your doctor.
  • In a health emergency, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

When it’s smoky, everyone should:

  • Follow your doctor’s advice about medicines and your asthma management plan if you have one. Keep your medication close at hand. Consult your doctor if symptoms worsen.
  • Reduce or avoid vigorous outdoor activity see activity guide below.
  • Spend more time indoors. Keep doors and windows shut to keep the smoke out. Open windows and doors whenever the smoke clears.
  • Spend time in air conditioned venues like cinemas, libraries and shopping centres.
  • Avoid indoor sources of air pollution like cigarettes, candles and incense sticks.​​​​​

If your child has diagnosed asthma:

  • Have an up to date Asthma Action Plan​. Seek review with your child’s GP to assess their current asthma management.
  • Check your child’s reliever medication and spacer is up-to-date and accessible by a responsible adult.
  • Provide written asthma first aid instructions, completed by your child’s GP, to their preschool, childcare centre or school.
  • Visit the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network’s Aiming for Asthma Improvement in Children​ website which includes a Good asthma control checklist​.
  • Free asthma helpline: If you need information specific to people with asthma, visit the Asthma Australia website to access their free helpline.

Information for sensitive groups

Some people may be more sensitive to air pollution. Sensitive groups include people with lung disease or heart disease, children, older adults, pregnant women.

If you need information specific to people with asthma, visit the Asthma Australia website to access their free helpline.

Anyone with persistent symptoms should seek medical advice or call Health Direct Australia on 1800 022 222

Bushfire smoke can affect people's health and it is important for everyone to reduce exposure.

Visit Health NSW - Bushfire to find out about:

  • protecting yourself from bushfire smoke
  • returning home safely
  • medications and prescriptions
  • support services
  • illness and injury from bushfire
  • information for child care centres and parents
  • advice for general practitioners

See Understanding Air Quality Data to learn about air quality information, what air quality categories are, how they are calculated and how you should use them to protect your health.

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