Canberra Hospital's emergency department has seen a spike in the number of admissions for respiratory issues due to the thick bushfire smoke that's been engulfing the city.
Hospital staff say an increase in admissions has been seen on Friday due to the smoke haze that rolled through on Thursday night.
Some patients have travelled to ACT hospitals from as far as the South Coast, where bushfires have been ravaging the area.
Canberra Hospital emergency department clinical director Greg Hollis said while there hasn't been a large number of smoke-related cases in recent weeks since the haze first came through, Friday saw an uptick.
"Over the last week or two when there has been smoke around, we surprisingly haven't seen as dramatic an increase in presentations as we thought," Dr Hollis.
"We did see a bit of a spike on Friday morning.
"There were a couple of presentations with asthma and some from smoke-affected areas on the South Coast."
Air quality levels across the ACT on Friday were marked as hazardous, as smoke from bushfires burning from Canberra's east moved across the capital.
For smoky air the Air Quality Index (AQI) measures the amount of fine particles, known as PM2.5, present. They're invisible to the human eye.
At low levels the lungs are able to clean them out, but at high levels they struggle.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast the smoke to linger over the city until at least Sunday, and the possibility for it to continue into Monday.
Dr Hollis said the hospital had not received as many presentations in recent weeks as it had feared, due to people heeding precautions.
"People have been listening to health advice and avoiding outdoor activity and staying indoors," he said.
"We've been ready with plans around asthma presentations."
Residents with respiratory issues or other chronic heart and lung conditions, children, those over 65 and pregnant women are most at risk.
People are being urged to stay indoors with doors and windows closed and have air conditioners switched to recycling.
ACT public health physician Vanessa Johnston said the heatwave Canberra had been experiencing was likely to exacerbate conditions.
"Our air quality is being significantly impacted by the combination of bushfire smoke, extremely high temperatures and lack of wind, whiuch means the smoke is lingering," Dr Johnston said.
"During these periods of heavy smoke haze, all Canberrans are advised to avoid physical activity outside."
Professor of global environmental health at the Australian National University, Sotiris Vardoulakis, said extended periods of smoke haze blanketing cities was becoming the new normal.
"We're likely to see more of these situations in the future to to climate change, and this increases the risk of adverse health affects for the population that's affected," Professor Vardoulakis said.
"The prolonged exposure is a problem because obviously we can't stay at home all the time.
"The air quality levels this summer are unprecedented."