A SAHARAN dust plume covering Ireland could spark severe asthma attacks, experts have warned.

The bizarre weather event, which is not uncommon in Europe but rarer in Ireland and the UK, will hit much of the country this week.

The Sahara dust cloud is covering Ireland


The Sahara dust cloud is covering Ireland
Dust covered cars this morning


Dust covered cars this morning

And it is expected to come down onto Ireland alongside rain showers, mainly in the Southwest.

The dust can cause problems for people who are vulnerable to poor air quality, such as those who have asthma and other breathing difficulties having life-threatening reactions.

This could be as mild as breathlessness and coughing, or at worst, hospitalisation or a fatal attack.

Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at the Asthma + Lung UK charity told The Sun: "Saharan dust could pose a serious risk to people living with a lung condition, such as asthma.

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“Dust and other types of air pollution are a well-known trigger for people with lung conditions.

"Toxic air can leave people struggling for breath, worsen symptoms, cause an asthma attack or flare up of their lung condition."

Giving an update on the Saharan dust this morning, Carlow Weather's Alan O'Reilly said: "More reports from Southwest of the Saharan dust on cars and windows after showers overnight.

"The dust will remain over us for the rest of the week but will only come down with showers."

Meanwhile, Met Eireann reckon Ireland will be "very warm both by day and night" over the next few days.

A forecaster said: "Tomorrow will be warm and sunny, with cloud building at times producing isolated showers, most likely over the western half of the country.

"Temperatures of 22 to 25C with high relative humidity and light to moderate southerly winds.

"A mostly dry start, with scattered heavy or thundery showers developing later in the day on Thursday.

"Warm or very warm sunshine at times too. Top temperatures of 20 to 26C, in light southerly breezes.

"Showers will largely die out overnight with long clear spells.

"Mist and fog patches will likely develop as winds fall light and variable.

"Warm overnight with temperatures not falling below 13 to 17C."

Temperatures in the UK could rocket OVER 30C, with meteorologists predicting the heat could match June's record 32.2C high in "unseasonably" hot autumn weather.

Water safety chiefs have urged the public to take extreme care during the hot blast, as punters flock to beaches to soak up the back to school weather.

Four people had to be rescued after getting caught up in rip currents on Main Beach in Co Donegal.

Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Daimon Fergus said: "While we are enjoying some beautiful late summer sunshine, we are also experiencing some strong waves at sea.

"With the warm weather forecast for much of this week, we want to remind everyone to stay safe while visiting the coast and to be aware of the dangers. 

"Where possible, always go to a lifeguarded beach and swim between the red and yellow flags. If you can’t go to a lifeguarded beach, choose a sea pool instead for your swim.

"Main Beach is notorious for rip currents so we would urge people to be mindful of that. If you do find yourself in a rip current, do not swim against it or you will get exhausted. 

"If you can, stand up and wade, or swim parallel to the shore until you are free of the rip, then head to shore.

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"If you can, raise your hand and call for help – and remember, to Float to Live if you can’t make it back or become too tired.

"To do this, tilt your head back with ears submerged and try to relax and control your breathing. Use your hands to help you stay afloat and call for help or swim to safety if you can."

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