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Home   Kent   News   Article

Severe pollution warning for parts of coastal Kent as Defra urges asthma sufferers to take extra care

02 April 2014
by KentOnline reporter

Asthma sufferers and those with lung conditions have been warned to take extra care today as parts of Kent face the most severe weather warnings possible.

Coastal areas of the county, stretching from Thanet down to Dover, have been issued with the highest level of pollution warning - a 10 on a scale of one to 10.

Other inland areas also face a high warning from Defra, meaning levels of pollution could affect vulnerable asthma sufferers or those with other lung or chest conditions. 

Kent's pollution map - the purple areas are of very high pollution, with red marked as high. Graphic: Ashley Austen

The warning issued today says the pollution is due to light easterly winds bringing in pollutants, and allowing those pollutants in the air to remain.

The situation is not helped by the Saharan dust in the atmosphere and settling on cars.

In the areas suffering the most severe - very high - pollution warning adults and children with lung problems, and adults with heart problems are advised to avoid strenuous physical exertion altogether, particularly outdoors.

Healthy people should reduce activity.

Car exhausts can make pollution worse

Car exhausts can make pollution worse

In areas of high pollution, those with breathing conditions should reduce activity.

People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often, the warning says.

Older people are also advised to reduce physical exertion.

A typical traffic jam can make smog worse

A typical traffic jam can make smog worse

Anyone experiencing discomfort such as sore eyes, cough or sore throat should consider reducing activity, particularly outdoors.

Strood GP Dr Julian Spinks advised people to be extra careful.

He said: "At the moment we have a triple whammy: we have high pollen levels, high pollution levels and also this sand that has come over.

"The problem with that is it can get deep down into people's lungs when they're outside.
 
"For most people who don't have chronic diseases it may not make any difference.
 
Dr Julian Spinks at his Strood surgery

Dr Julian Spinks at his Strood surgery

 
"However, if you have things like asthma, lung and severe heart disease, going out and breathing a lot of the pollution and dust that's in the air can trigger spasm in the airways giving you breathing difficulties and perhaps even a full-blown asthma attack.
 
"I think people know that pollution is a problem but I don't think many people realise how quite badly it can be for health.
 
We're at a level which is near the top severity for pollution and that does have a major impact. It does mean that people are restricted, they can't go out like they would normally."
 

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