A DRAMATIC drop in air quality across the Central West over the last two weeks has seen a run on Ventolin as well as over the counter remedies to control allergic rhinitis.
In the last week alone, Bathurst has been subject to dust storms so severe that last Tuesday sporting bodies across the city cancelled their competitions for the night, on the advice of NSW Health warnings, while on Monday morning the city was clouded in smoke from fires burning north of Lithgow.
An air quality alert was issued for residents in Central NSW due to smoke from the Gospers Mountain fire which continues to burn out of control in the Wollemi National Park.
As a result Glen Davis, Glen Alice and Newnes residents were put on alert.
On Monday morning, the NSW Government's regional air monitoring service showed Bathurst's Air Quality Index (AQI) reading was 310, putting the city's air quality in the hazardous category.
The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) also warned visibility had been affected across the region and urged people with heart and lung disease to avoid exercising outdoors, even those without health issues were told to "significantly cut back on outdoor activities."
Steven Yiv, a pharmacist with John Matthews Chemworld Chemist, said they had seen an increase in demand for not only Ventolin, but also over the counter remedies for hay fever, especially when the dust storm hit Bathurst last Tuesday.
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"Yes, there's been a bit of increase for Ventolin, but it [the weather] has also been a big trigger for hay fever as well," he said.
"We've had a few people come in and say they were having trouble breathing and their chest was feeling quite constricted."
"We've also had a few come in this morning [Monday]."
He said for people suffering from allergic rhinitis (hay fever) there were a number of over the counter medications available, including nasal spray and tablets, which are most effective when taken together.
As for Ventolin demand, he said pharmacies typically see an increase in demand for the medicine at this time of year, and especially when it's dusty.
He said both asthmatics and people who don't normally sufferer respiratory conditions had come in for medicine and advice following the change in conditions.