PEOPLE with lung conditions were being warned yesterday to take care after air pollution levels rose above potentially harmful levels.

A combination of weather factors have led to pollution levels rising well beyond what would normally be expected, caused by light south-easterly winds, the continental air flow and dust which has blown up from storms in the Sahara desert.

The high level lasted all of Wednesday and will continue into today but is expected to drop off by late afternoon before returning to normal levels by Friday.

While no-one is in immediate danger, health officials have asked those with conditions such as asthma, not to exercise outdoors and if they start feeling uncomfortable to stop what they are doing.

Dr Ayoola Oyinloye, Public Health Consultant at Swindon Council, said: “The peculiar weather conditions will not be a major problem for most people in Swindon. Some individuals, particularly vulnerable groups such as those with existing heart or lung conditions, may experience increased symptoms.

“Residents are recommended to follow the national guidance, so adults and children with lung problems, and adults will heart problems should reduce strenuous physical exertion, particularly if they experience symptoms of air pollution while outdoors.

“People with asthma may find they need to use their inhaler more often and older people are also advised to lessen physical exertion.

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

“The conditions are forecast to last a couple of days, so this should not present long- term difficulties for most people.”

Air Pollution is measured on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the worst. Much of the south of England has been effected by the pollution and in Swindon the level was at seven or eight for much of the day.

A Defra spokeswoman said: “The high level of air pollution this week is due to a combination of local emissions, light winds, pollution from the continent and dust blown over from the Sahara.

“We want to keep improving air quality and have introduced a new five-day forecast service in addition to investing heavily in local and transport initiatives to tackle this issue head-on."

The Met Office has said the wind direction is likely to change during today which should ease the problem.