The government has issued health warnings due to high levels of air pollution spreading across England this week.
The pollution is a mix of local and European emissions and dust from the Sahara desert, and is affecting parts of southern England, the Midlands and East Anglia.
The elderly and those with lung or heart disease are urged to avoid strenuous exercise outside.
British Lung Foundation honorary medical adviser Dr Keith Prowse spoke today about the implications of high levels of pollution for people with lung disease.
“Air pollution can have the greatest impact on people with pre-existing respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma, worsening symptoms such as coughing and breathlessness. The dust from the Sahara that we are seeing at the moment are worsening many local air pollution levels.
“When levels of air pollution are high, people with these conditions, or anyone else who finds themselves coughing or wheezing in times of high pollution, should avoid strenuous exercise outdoors and are better off trying to exercise away from pollution hotspots, such as busy roads or during rush hour.
“People who use a reliever inhaler should make sure that they carry it with them. If they feel that their conditions are worsening then they should contact their GPs.”
This is supposed to only last a few days but was high risk for people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.