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Heavy winds today could cause health problems

The San Joaquin Valley Air District has sent Valley residents -- including Merced County -- a health warning regarding the dust blowing around in today's heavy winds.

The dust can contain unhealthy concentrations of particulate matter, PM10, that can aggravate lung disease, cause asthma attacks, acute bronchitis and increase the risk of respiratory infections.

The cautionary health statement from the air district started Tuesday and will be in place through this evening.

People with heart or lung diseases should follow their doctors' advice for dealing with exposure to bad air quality. Seniors and children should avoid being outside in the dust for long periods of time or doing strenuous activities today.

For more information, got to or contact the air district office at (209) 557-6400 or (559) 230-6000.