Australian bushfires 2019–20: Exploring the short-term health impacts
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Number of pages
This report examines short-term health impacts of the 2019-20 bushfires - those that became apparent in the immediate days and weeks thereafter - with a focus on providing insights from health data. Understanding the more immediate and short-term physical and mental health impacts of bushfires can help to ensure health services are sufficiently equipped to deal with them in any future bushfire event.
The results show a clear impact on respiratory health from the 2019-20 bushfire, as there was a clear increase in presentations for respiratory problems during the bushfire season, and a large increases in sales of inhalers for shortness of breath corresponding with the spread of bushfires throughout the bushfire season. Regarding mental health issues, the study finds that more than half of Australian adults felt anxious or worried right after the bushfires, and bushfire-related calls to the Lifeline crisis support hotline increased.