Health experts issue warning over Saharan dust in the UK air

Nick Reilly
Red Sun: Charities have issued an urgent health warning after Hurricane Ophelia brought a blanket of Saharan dust to UK

Health experts have warned that toxic air from Saharan dust could pose a serious threat to asthma sufferers in the UK.

On Monday afternoon, large sections of the country saw an unusual reddish hue in the skies after Saharan dust was churned into the air by Storm Ophelia.

As the dust continues to dissipate, asthma experts have warned that the remaining toxic air could pose a severe risk to the five million people in the UK who suffer from asthma.

Sonia Munde of Asthma UK explained to WalesOnline: ‘We are deeply concerned about the toxic air from Saharan dust that Hurricane Ophelia has churned up, as this could pose a severe risk for the 5.4 million people in the UK who have asthma.

A “red sun” was seen across parts of the UK today as a result of Hurricane Ophelia dragging tropical air and dust from the Sahara

‘Winds picking up dust and particles in the air could trigger potentially fatal asthma attacks. When a similar dust storm happened in April 2014, Asthma UK found a third of people told us they’d had an asthma attack as a result of the pollution and 84% said they had used their blue inhaler more than usual.’

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‘Everyone with asthma must make sure they take their reliever inhaler (usually blue) everywhere with them and continue to manage their asthma with their preventer inhaler (usually brown).’

Ophelia hit the UK and Ireland on Monday, resulting in the deaths of three people.

Remnants of the hurricane battered Britain’s west coast on Monday afternoon, with gusts of up to 80mph, exactly 30 years after the Great Storm of 1987 killed 18 people.

In London, the unusual reddish sky created a futuristic tinge that engulfed some of the cities most recognisable skyscrapers.