MILLIONS of Brits have been told to take “extra precautions” as a cloud of dirty air is set to engulf the country this week.
High levels of pollution combined with warm temperatures could cause a “toxic cocktail”, which could pose a threat to people suffering asthma and other lung conditions.
Leading charity Asthma and Lung UK, have urged people with lung conditions to take their daily preventer medication as prescribed and carry a reliever inhaler at all times.
According to the charity, a recent survey found that over half (53 per cent) of all those with asthma say that toxic air is a trigger for their symptoms.
Pollutants found in toxic air in the air irritate the airways, making them swell and tighten up. This can cause breathing problems and trigger asthma attacks, which can be life-threatening in severe cases.
Extreme heat makes pollution worse by slowing down air flow, meaning polluted air remains at ground level for longer.
UK AIR, the UK’s air pollution alert system predicted high levels of pollution in the East of England, with the rest of England forecast to experience moderate levels of pollution.
High air pollution episodes in the UK are generally rare, but are likely to become more frequent because of climate change.
Emma Rubach, head of health advice at Asthma + Lung UK, said: “With air pollution forecasted to be higher than normal in England next week, along with high temperatures, people with lung conditions could be facing a toxic cocktail of dirty air that could increase the risk of asthma attacks and symptom flare-ups.
Most read in Health
“We know that half of people with asthma and COPD are triggered by air pollution, so we’re urging people to be vigilant and take extra precautions to protect themselves,” she added.
She also said the forecast should be a “wake-up call” to government to “commit to improve air pollution alerts so more of the public know what they are and what to do on days like this when air pollution spikes”.
Extreme heat slows air flow, meaning polluted air remains at ground level for longer.
The hot weather is now set to continue into next week, with the Met Office predicting highs of 35C this weekend.
A heatwave health warning had been in place until Sunday, but the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has now extended this to Tuesday August 16.
Chiefs first raised the alarm on Tuesday warning temperatures wouldn’t drop below the low 20s.
Now, the Met has said temperatures will remain in the high 20s well into the start of next week – with northern regions seeing temperatures decline from Monday.
Medical chiefs have said that young children, those with underlying health conditions and the elderly are more likely to experience adverse health effects.