DOCTORS from across the state are warning locals to brace themselves for a extreme hay fever and asthma season.
With 99 per cent of the state in drought, doctors believe the risks of both chronic illnesses will be heightened.
They are warning parents to keep an eye out for their children who are the first to feel the effects.
“Usually during late winter and spring we would be expecting windy conditions to carry dust particles and pollen through the air,” Boggabri general practitioner Nishad Gamage said.
“However, given we have had a very dry winter going into spring, the risks of those windy conditions causing issues for hay fever and asthma sufferers could be drastically increased.”
Dr Gamage said the conditions posed the greatest risks for people who suffer asthma.
“We saw the worst case scenario in Melbourne in 2016 where a bad storm caused people to have breathing difficulties and in some cases cause death,” he said.
“It is quite an unusual event because the conditions are so widespread.
“The fact that the entire state is in drought will mean that the risks are heightened across the board.”
Fellow Ochre Health GP Ross Wilson said asthma suffers should begin to take preventative measures.
“As asthma triggers are varied, it’s important to take preventative measures first,” Dr Wilson said.
“Dust storms from a lack of rain, windborne pollen, and the risk of living in a high bushfire zone are common environmental asthma triggers that can cause serious flare-ups.
“Children are the first to feel the effects of smoke and particle pollution, and parents need to take extra care.
“So it is very important to have the right medication, knowledge and a written asthma action plan to help keep asthma under control.”
The warning comes in the midst of National Asthma Week with doctors warning locals to be aware of the common symptoms.
“Coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath are all common symptoms of asthma,” Dr Gamage said.
“Symptoms do vary from person to person, so it is important for people to consult with their doctor if they are unsure and their doctor can help them create an asthma action plan.”
National Asthma Week is September 1 to 7.