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Australian Open players affected by wildfire smoke, poor air quality

Wednesday, January 15th 2020, 12:03 pm - The tennis player fell down during a coughing fit due to the smoke from the wildfires.

Health problems related to the catastrophic wildfires in Australia are becoming increasingly apparent and several tennis players in the Australian Open are struggling with the thick smoke that is causing the air quality to decline.

Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia fell down as she was about to serve during the Round 1 Open qualifying match and eventually retired after a coughing fit caused by Melbourne’s poor air quality.

"I was really scared that I would collapse," Jakupovic said in an interview with ESPN. "That's why I went onto the floor, because I couldn't walk anymore."

Another match with Maria Sharapova and Laura Siegemund was called off after the officials decided that the smoke was unsafe for the players.

RELATED: Dinosaur-era pines survive Australian wildfires

Australia is more wildfire-prone than any other continent and since October 2019 at least 27 people have been killed by the wildfires. More than 10.3 million hectares have been burned, which is an area that is roughly the size of South Korea.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has recently outlined the urgency for extra precautions due the risk from wildfire smoke including lung aggravation and toxicity and can exacerbate pre-existing conditions such as asthma.

To reduce the risk of adverse health effects from the wildfires, the AMA recommends that Australian residents in areas that are impacted by the wildfires should remain indoors where possible and not using evaporative air conditioners that draw air into the house from the outside.

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