Pollution and the effects of climate change can take a toll on health. At the Health Forum Süddeutsche Zeitung Experts therefore advise keeping an eye on these risks and adapting behavior accordingly. Three sources of information to help.
The UV index indicates how harmful UV radiation is at the moment. It ranges from level 1 to level 11 or higher; the higher the value, the faster sunburn can occur on unprotected skin. From level 3, sun protection measures are required; from level eight, prevention is urgent. Then, if possible, people should no longer be outdoors.
In Germany, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection compiles the current index. Radiation is recorded at 33 locations in the country; the values are updated several times per hour. In the warm season there are also forecasts three times a week for the next three days. The values can be viewed at www.bfs.de/uv-index. Weather sites or apps also often display the index.
If you travel, you can SunSmart Global UV Use app developed by the World Health Organization together with partners. It shows the UV index and basic weather data for the current day and the following days for many cities worldwide.
Air Quality Index
The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) provides up-to-date data on the cleanliness of the air in its air quality index. It is calculated from the concentrations of the pollutants nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter (PM₁₀) and ozone, which are registered at over 400 German measuring stations.
The index is updated several times a day. He assesses the air quality in five stages from very good to very bad. In the case of poor and very poor quality, sensitive people in particular, for example people with respiratory diseases, should avoid exertion outdoors.
The index can be viewed on the UBA website at: www.umweltbundesamt.de/daten/luft/luftdaten/. There it is also possible to track the concentrations of individual pollutants and to obtain forecasts for the coming days. Alternatively, the data is available on a smartphone app from the office.
For people with hay fever, the pollen forecast is an important source of information. You can use it to plan your activities and medication intake.
For Germany, the expected danger from pollen can be found at www.dwd.de/pollenflug. This forecast is made by the German Pollen Information Service Foundation (PID) and the German Weather Service (DWD). It is based on measurements of the pollen concentration and meteorological forecasts.
The forecast includes the most important pollen for Germany; these are hazel, alder, ash, birch, grasses, rye, mugwort and ragweed. It applies to the current day and the two following days. The data and the UV index are also included in the DWD’s health weather app. Forecasts for Europe are also available on the PID website.