10:36 03 June 2009
Britain's recent heatwave has sparked the summer's first smog warning.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs believe that hot and sunny weather across England and Scotland will most likely to lead to the first smog episode of 2009.
The team have predicted that ozone levels from over the last week were set to move from moderate to high in rural parts of eastern and south-eastern Britain as well as along the south coast.
A Defra spokesman said: "Some people are more sensitive to ozone than others and may begin to notice an effect on their breathing.
"People with asthma are not necessarily more sensitive but, if affected, can use their 'reliever' inhaler."
The spokesman said Defra is urging the public to take sensible precautions: "Avoiding exercise outdoors in the afternoon can reduce exposure to ozone and avoiding making unnecessary short car journeys wherever possible can reduce the formation of ozone."
The genesis of ground level ozone is when sunlight acts on nitrogen dioxide and other atmospheric substances close to the ground. The pollutants that cause this originate from a range of sources, including petrol and other fuels.
The Met Office is forecasting a barbecue summer and world leaders have even suggested that painting the roofs of houses white would help the environment greatly.
The following government advice on health applies when air pollution is high or very high: "During episodes of air pollution experienced during the summer in the United Kingdom, levels of ozone, nitrogen dioxide and particles may be raised. Most people will experience no ill effects.
"Those suffering from lung diseases (including asthma) particularly if elderly should be aware that their symptoms might worsen. They may need to consider modifying their treatment as they usually do when symptoms increase, consulting their doctor if this is not effective.
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"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.
"Those suffering from a heart condition and who notice a change in their symptoms should get medical advice as they normally would."
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