1. ITV Report

How Asthma sufferers can stay safe despite "very high" levels of air pollution across the East

Asthma sufferers will be at an increased risk today. Photo: Clive Gee/PA

The East of England will be affected by "very high" levels of air pollution over the next few days.

Defra, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has warned that the region is one of the worst areas to be affected by the air pollution, linked to sandstorms in the Sahara.

The pollution forecast for Wednesday is very high for large parts of the East. Credit: Defra/Met Office

Defra has a ten-point air pollution index with ten being the highest level. Large parts of the East of England and the East Midlands are forecast to hit a pollution index of ten on Wednesday. This is indicated by the purple area on the map (above).

The increased pollution levels are expected to cause problems for asthma sufferers and those with lung and heart conditions.

"The two thirds of people with asthma who find that air pollution makes their asthma worse will be at an increased risk of an attack following the alarming Defra warning of high pollution levels around the country.

Asthma UK warns the 3.6 million people at increased risk to be sure they always have a working blue reliever inhaler on them and take their preventer inhalers as prescribed."

– Kay Boycott, Asthma UK Chief Executive

In light of the problem, Asthma UK have issued advice on their website on how to make sure you stay safe in the challenging conditions.

  • Check the air pollution forecast on the Defra website.
  • If pollution levels are high, like they are today, avoid strenuous exercise outside.
  • The highest levels of ozone occur in sunny weather. When ozone levels are high, avoid exercising outside or visiting congested areas, particularly in the afternoon, when ozone levels are at their highest.
  • Keep on top of asthma symptoms with an asthma action plan.
  • Have your reliever inhaler with you at ALL times.
  • If you think that you may be having an asthma attack, take one to two puffs of your reliever inhaler (usually blue), immediately. Sit down and try to take slow, steady breaths and if you don't start to feel better, take two puffs of your reliever inhaler (one puff at a time) every two minutes. You can take up to ten puffs. (More information available on what to do in the event of an attack on the Asthma UK website).

High levels of pollution are expected to continue across East Anglia and the Midlands on Thursday. But the air pollution is expected to ebb away by Friday.

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