Moderate air pollution expected: Advice for people with asthma

For immediate release: Friday 19 October 2018

Responding to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) forecasts that there will be areas of moderate air pollution in some southern and central parts of England Wales this weekend, Dr Andy Whittamore, Clinical Lead at Asthma UK said: 

“An estimated 3.3million people who have asthma in the UK say that pollution triggers their asthma*. Poor air quality can leave people with asthma struggling for breath and increase their risk of a life-threatening asthma attack especially at this time of year when there are viruses and colder air also triggering asthma symptoms.

“If the levels of pollution particularly aggravate a person’s asthma, the best way to stay safe is make sure they take their preventer medication as prescribed. This builds up protection over time so if they come into contact with an asthma trigger such as pollution, they are less likely to have an asthma attack. They should carry their reliever inhaler with them at all times in case of an emergency. They might also find it useful to reduce the time they spend outside during rush hour and stick to back streets where pollution levels are lower. For advice on pollution and asthma visit”

*In Asthma UK’s report Falling Through The Gaps: Why More People Need Basic Asthma Care, we surveyed more than 7,000 people with asthma in the UK. 61.6% said air pollution triggered their asthma. To find the estimated number of people with asthma in the UK who said air pollution triggered their asthma, we applied this proportion to the population of people with asthma in the UK (5.4million), to get a figure of 3.3million.

For further information, please contact:

Rebecca Lewis, media officer, Asthma UK

07951 721 393

Notes to Editors:

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  • In the UK, 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12).
  • Every day, the lives of three families are devastated by the death of a loved one to an asthma attack, and tragically two thirds of these deaths are preventable.
  • Every ten seconds someone in the UK has an asthma attack.
  • Asthma UK’s mission is to stop asthma attacks and cure asthma. We do this by funding world leading research, campaigning for improved care and supporting people to reduce their risk of a potentially life threatening asthma attack.
  • The Asthma UK Helpline is open weekdays from 9am to 5pm on 0300 222 5800.
  • For more information about asthma please visit