PHOENIX — Authorities say ozone levels are expected to exceed federal health standards as temperatures soar in Maricopa County.

Officials with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issued a high ozone alert for Friday. The agency says high ozone levels can irritate the respiratory system, aggravate asthma and reduce the immune system’s ability to fight infection.

Children, the elderly and those with existing respiratory conditions should limit outdoor activity because high ozone levels can trigger shortness of breath, wheezing, headaches and nausea.

To reduce ozone pollution, officials want residents to limit driving, re-fuel vehicles after dark and avoid waiting in long drive-thru lines.

The advisory comes as the state heads into its first major heat wave of the year. Temperatures are expected to top 115 degrees in the state’s deserts next week.

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