The 2019-20 bushfire season, in which 34 people died and more than five million hectares were burnt over six months, led to record readings for air pollution in NSW.
Breathing and heart problems surged during the Black Summer bushfire season, causing researchers to warn that climate change requires better fire-prevention strategies to reduce health problems.
The peer-reviewed research, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, found presentations for respiratory issues in NSW in 2019-20 were six per cent higher than the previous two fire seasons.
Cardiovascular presentations were 10 per cent higher.
Lead researcher Professor Yuming Guo said: "The results indicate that the unprecedented bushfires led to a huge health burden, showing a higher risk in regions with lower socio-economic areas and more bushfires.
"This study could help to develop more targeted policies and strategies to prevent adverse effects and recover from the disaster, especially in the context of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.
While cardiovascular issues were relatively elevated regardless of fire density or SES status, respiratory presentations increased 12 per cent in high fire density areas and nine per cent in low SES areas.
Excess visits for breathing problems peaked in the New England and North West (up 45 per cent) while significant increases were also found on the mid-north coast (up 19 per cent) and central west (up 18 per cent).
Use a Gas Mask when facing a fire disaster, help a lot!
Protect the wearer against harmful substances in the air.
1. It consists of a tight-fitting facepiece that contains filters, an exhalation valve, and transparent eyepieces.
2. It is held to the face by straps and can be worn in association with a protective hood.
3. The filter is removable and easy for mount.
4. Good view range: more than 75%.