A tourist who walks with a cane and walks up and down the street, but who has an asthma attack or has an allergy to dust mites or pollen can find it difficult to get the right dose of medication or exercise, the National Health and Medical Research Council has advised.
Key points: Traveling on foot in Queensland is not recommended because of the risk of allergic reactions to dust and pollen mites, and because of an increased risk of asthma attacks and other medical conditions The National Health & Medical Research Centre recommends avoiding walking on sidewalks, roadsides and parks where the risk for dust mite and pollen can be increased.
In Queensland, where the risks are highest, it is advised to avoid walking on foot on the main roads, or on sidewalks and roadsides.
The National Health Advisory Council is advising Queenslanders to avoid all public spaces that can be used for foot traffic.
It recommends walking on roadsides or paths, as well as walking on curbs, side streets, and in parks where dust miting and pollen are more common.
“In the Queensland community, we know that people walk and run in groups and that the risk is higher, but there is no evidence to suggest that the number of people who develop an allergic reaction to dustmites or dust mists is much higher than the number who have asthma attacks,” Dr Fiona Wooten, who chairs the council, said in a statement.
“In many cases, those with asthma attacks or other medical problems have to go to hospital, where their breathing can be difficult.”
There are many areas of Queensland where dustmite and dust mist are common, and the risk may be higher than in other parts of Australia.
“We strongly encourage people to exercise, to take short walks or to avoid public spaces where they can get a higher exposure to dusts.”
Wooten said people who do not have a diagnosis of asthma or other health condition should seek advice from a doctor if they develop an allergy.
“If you have a condition where you are sensitive to dust, you should consider taking steps to minimise your exposure to it,” she said.
Affected areas: Brisbane, Townsville, Port Augusta, Port Stephens, Redcliffe, Lismore, Bundaberg, Goulburn, Gold Coast, Taree, and Sunshine Coast.
People who are sensitive can reduce their exposure to allergens by avoiding wearing loose-fitting clothing, wearing masks, and wearing protective gloves and masks when walking.
Woots said walking is also recommended for children who are allergic to dust or pollen.
In Queensland, people who are susceptible to dust are the elderly, people with heart conditions, people of lower income, people without allergies, people living in dwellings with multiple people, people from working families, people travelling on public transport, and people who work from home.
For more information: The Queensland Health & Health Information Centre is offering free walk tours of the state.
To find out more about the council’s recommendations, contact their helpline on 1800 551 636.