High air pollution in the Derry/Londonderry area

Sunday, 7 January 2018 - 3:08pm – Health Protection
High air pollution in the Derry/Londonderry area

High levels of air pollution (particulate matter) are currently being monitored in the Derry/Londonderry area with people advised to take extra care if they have a respiratory illness. Low levels of air pollution are being monitored elsewhere across Northern Ireland, though there is a possibility that other urban areas will experience high air pollution as a result of the current weather conditions.

The pollution is likely to persist overnight and into tomorrow (Monday), with the situation improving from tomorrow evening onwards.

These pollution levels are the result of the cold, calm weather conditions we are currently experiencing, which can lead to the build up of local emissions from vehicles and home heating.

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 and PM2.5), sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide are available on the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affair’s website: www.airqualityni.co.uk and their freephone helpline 0800 556 677, which also offers health advice to those who may be particularly sensitive to air pollution.