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Health warning over volcanic ash

PUBLISHED: 13:04 16 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:46 02 July 2010

Dan Grimmer

People with asthma or other respiratory problems are being warned to take extra care this evening as Met Office bosses say a small fraction of the Icelandic volcanic plume will reach ground level later today.

People with asthma or other respiratory problems are being warned to take extra care this evening as Met Office bosses say a small fraction of the Icelandic volcanic plume will reach ground level later today.

Updated weather information indicates low levels of sulphur dioxide will be expected in the plume but any adverse health effects are likely to be short term.

A spokeswoman from The Health Protection Agency said: “It is important to stress that the concentration of particles which may reach ground level is likely to be low and should not cause serious harm. If people are outside this evening and notice symptoms such as itchy or irritated eyes, runny nose, sore throat or dry cough, or if they notice a dusty haze in the air or can smell sulphur, rotten eggs, or a strong acidic smell, they may wish to limit their activities outdoors or return indoors.

“Those with existing respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma may notice these effects more than others and should ensure they have any inhalers or other medications with them.”

The Health Protection Agency, Health Protection Scotland and the Met Office will continue to monitor the situation and issue any further advice or updates as necessary as the weather changes.

Low concentrations of volcanic dust, which may contain low levels of sulphur dioxide, are also expected to ground with the plume, although this is not expected to be a significant threat to public health.

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