Monitoring the environment

EPA AirWatch health categories


‘Health categories’ are displayed at some air monitoring locations on EPA AirWatch.

The health category shown at each location is determined by the average level of PM2.5 over the previous 24 hours.

Each health category has cautionary health advice that suggests practical ways you can reduce your exposure to PM2.5 in smoke.

Only air monitoring stations with specific types of air monitors can be used to generate health category readings.

Health category 24-hour PM2.5
μg/m3
Cautionary health advice
Low 0 – 8.9 None
Moderate 9.0 – 25.9 None
Unhealthy – sensitive 26.0 – 39.9

People over 65, children 14 years and younger, pregnant women and those with existing heart or lung conditions should reduce prolonged or heavy physical activity. Where possible, these people should also limit the time spent outdoors.

Anyone with a heart or lung condition should take their medication as prescribed by their doctor.

People with asthma should follow their asthma management plan.

Anyone with concerns about their health should seek medical advice or call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24.

For further information, updates and advice relating to incidents affecting air quality in this area, please go to http://emergency.vic.gov.au/respond

Unhealthy – all 40.0 – 106.9

Excessive smoke levels can not only aggravate existing heart or lung conditions, but may also cause members of the community to experience irritated eyes, coughing or wheezing.

Everyone should reduce prolonged or heavy physical activity.

People over 65, children 14 years and younger, pregnant women and those with existing heart or lung conditions should avoid prolonged or heavy physical activity altogether.

Anyone with a heart or lung condition should take their medication as prescribed by their doctor.

People with asthma should follow their asthma management plan.

Anyone with concerns about their health should seek medical advice or call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24.

For further information, updates and advice relating to incidents affecting air quality in this area, please go to http://emergency.vic.gov.au/respond

Very unhealthy – all 107.0 – 177.9

Excessive smoke levels can not only aggravate existing heart or lung conditions, but may also cause members of the community to experience irritated eyes, coughing or wheezing.

Everyone should avoid prolonged or heavy physical activity.

People over 65, children 14 years and younger, pregnant women and those with existing heart or lung conditions should avoid all physical activity outdoors.

Anyone with a heart or lung condition should take their medication as prescribed by their doctor.

People with asthma should follow their asthma management plan.

Anyone with concerns about their health should seek medical advice or call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24.

For further information, updates and advice relating to incidents affecting air quality in this area, please go to http://emergency.vic.gov.au/respond

Hazardous (high) Greater than 177.9

Excessive smoke levels can not only aggravate existing heart or lung conditions, but may also cause members of the community to experience irritated eyes, coughing or wheezing.

Everyone should avoid all outdoor physical activity.

People over 65, children 14 years or younger, pregnant women and people with existing heart or lung conditions should remain indoors and keep physical activity levels as low as possible. These groups should also consider taking a break from the smoke by visiting a friend or relative.

Anyone experiencing symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure should consider taking a break away from the smoky conditions.

Anyone with a heart or lung condition should take their medication as prescribed by their doctor.

People with asthma should follow their asthma management plan.

Anyone with concerns about their health should seek medical advice or call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24.

For further information, updates and advice relating to incidents affecting air quality in this area, please go to http://emergency.vic.gov.au/respond

Hazardous (extreme) Greater than 250

Excessive smoke levels can not only aggravate existing heart or lung conditions, but may also cause members of the community to experience irritated eyes, coughing or wheezing.

Everyone should avoid all outdoor physical activity.

People over 65, children 14 years or younger, pregnant women and people with heart or lung conditions should remain indoors and keep physical activity levels as low as possible. These groups should also consider taking a break away from the smoke by visiting a friend or relative.

Anyone experiencing symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure should consider taking a break away from the smoky conditions.

Anyone with a heart or lung condition should take their medication as prescribed by their doctor.

People with asthma should follow their asthma management plan.

Anyone with concerns about their health should seek medical advice or call NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 60 60 24.

For further information, updates and advice relating to incidents affecting air quality in this area, please go to http://emergency.vic.gov.au/respond

Page last updated on 14 Apr 2017