CHELSEA Finlayson hopes she never has to relive the fear she felt on Sunday night.
Her husband Jake and her daughter Layla, 7, both became extremely ill at their Cobden home.
Mrs Finlayson put Layla to bed shortly after 8pm, only to find her in the bathroom vomiting a short time later.
She put her back to bed, but when her daughter vomited a second time the worried parents sat with her in their lounge room.
“She was feeling dizzy and had a headache. Jake said if you’re not better soon we’ll take you to the hospital. About 10 minutes later Jake started throwing up and got really dizzy – I had to help him walk,” Mrs Finlayson said.
Concerned the two were suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning due to peat fires burning nearby, Mrs Finlayson took them to the Camperdown hospital.
They were given oxygen and a decision was made to rush them to South West Healthcare’s Warrnambool Base Hospital via ambulance.
Layla suffers from asthma and Mr Finlayson was born with a hole in his heart.
On the trip to Warrnambool, Mr Finlayson’s heart beat dropped rapidly.
“While Jake was in the ambulance his heart rate dropped to 42,” Mrs Finlayson said.
She drove to Warrnambool as the pair were rushed by ambulance, fearing the worst.
“It was horrible – it was so scary,” she said.
Mrs Finlayson said her husband underwent a blood test at Warrnambool, which showed low levels of carbon monoxide in his system.
“They said he had low levels of carbon monoxide – enough to make him unwell - but not enough to cause any permanent damage,” she said.
Doctors believe their pre-existing conditions - and regular trips to Elingamite in the past week to help family affected by fire - contributed to the pair’s reaction to the poisoning.
“They think that’s why it hit them so hard,” Mrs Finlayson said.
The father and daughter were released from hospital early on Monday morning and have been told to remain indoors while they recover.
Mrs Finlayson said this was easier said than done for her daughter.
“She’s very outdoorsy and she wants to go back to school,” she said.
Mrs Finlayson said she could not thank emergency personnel and volunteers enough for their efforts in fighting the fires.
“Our local CFA has done a magnificent job,” she said.
Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Rod Dickson said the wind was expected to change on Monday night.
“We’re expecting the wind to gradually turn to the north on Monday night,” Mr Dickson said.
He said there was no significant rainfall forecast for the area in the next seven days.
“Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like there is going to be any significant rainfall in the next week or so,” he said.
Victoria’s lead scientist Dr Amanda Caples, who was in Warrnambool on Monday, said peat fires were notoriously difficult to extinguish.
She said peat fires burnt fuel underground.
“It gets just enough oxygen to keep burning and it’s difficult because it’s underground,” Dr Caples said.
Fire, health and air-monitoring authorities urged residents affected by smoke from the peat fires to seek medical attention.
The Environment Protection Authority provides hourly updates on air quality at http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/our-work/monitoring-the-environment/epa-airwatch