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The warning thresholds for dangerous ozone values are being skipped across Germany.
(10.07.2010) Summer record temperatures are again predicted for today. At the same time, however, the ozone value in the air also rises. Doctors advise not to let children play in the hot midday sun. Older and sensitive people are particularly at risk.
On the website of the State Office for Nature, Environment and Consumer Protection, citizens can watch closely how the ozone levels continuously increase during the day. A concentration of 102 micrograms of ozone per cubic meter of air was already measured in the morning at 8 a.m. At 12 o'clock it was 157 micrograms of ozone and just two hours later the warning threshold of over 180 micrograms per cubic meter of air was reached. From this point on, symptoms such as headache, difficulty breathing, mucous membrane discomfort and irritable cough may appear. Over 20 percent of people in Germany show the symptoms described with these values. Babies and toddlers are particularly at risk because their high volume of breath absorbs more of the dangerous ozone. Older people are also increasingly affected because the high ozone levels can put a strain on the circulation and mucous membranes.
With values above 220, further worrying symptoms may occur. Ozone then not only irritates the mucous membranes, but primarily attacks the respiratory tract, eyes and lung tissue; when inhaled, ozone penetrates deep into the lungs. In addition to changes in the pulmonary function parameters, higher ozone concentrations cause subjective disorders such as tears in the eyes, headaches, poor concentration and irritation of the respiratory tract.
Doctors advise not only to move into the evening or morning hours because of the high ozone values, physically demanding activities such as jogging, gardening or long walking. Children should preferably not play outside in the hot midday sun. There are also dangers such as dehydration or acute sunburn. So Dr. advises Martin le Claire: "Not only because of the ozone levels, but also because of the heat, I currently advise you not to exert yourself to the maximum outside and not to exercise much outdoors." Citizens can find out about regional values on the websites of their environmental authorities.
With ozone values from 180 micrograms per cubic meter of air, people who are vulnerable and sensitive to health are advised to avoid strenuous outdoor activities; Endurance sports such as jogging should also be avoided or postponed into the morning. With ozone values of 240 micrograms per cubic meter of air, this recommendation is aimed at all citizens. Then all people, whether sensitive or not, could be affected by health problems. (sb)
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