Moderate to high air pollution
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has issued advice about air pollution.
There is a strong possibility of moderate to high levels of air pollution in urban centres across Northern Ireland today (Wednesday) and tomorrow.
Levels are currently low, though are forecast to increase going into this evening and persisting overnight and into tomorrow. The wind is expected to strengthen from the early hours of Friday morning which should disperse pollutants and bring levels down.
The high levels of pollution are likely to arise as a result of emissions from road vehicles and home heating and the current cold, still weather conditions in which pollutants are not dispersed.
During periods of high pollution the symptoms of people with lung or heart disease may worsen. Healthy people are unlikely to experience any ill effects.
While most people will not be affected by short term peaks in air pollution, some people - particularly vulnerable groups such as those with existing heart or lung conditions - may experience increased symptoms.
If you think you may be affected by air pollution levels, you should consider modifying your treatment as you usually do when symptoms increase and, consult your doctor if this is not effective.
You may also wish to reduce the time you spend outdoors or avoid busy, congested streets.
If you have noticed in the past that your breathing is affected during cold, calm conditions or on hot, sunny days, you should avoid strenuous outdoor activity on those days and ensure that you have access to your usual medication, such as asthma inhalers.
Children with asthma should be able to take part in games in the usual way, although they may need to increase their use of reliever medicines before participating. There is no need for them to stay away from school.
If you suffer from a heart condition and notice a change in your symptoms, you should seek medical advice as you normally would.
Hourly updates on levels of particulate matter (PM10), sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide are available on the DAERA website: http://www.airqualityni.co.uk and the Department’s freephone helpline (0800 556677), which also offers health advice to those who may be particularly sensitive to air pollution.
Subscribers to the Air Aware service will also receive notification of this alert: see http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/air-pollution-and-health