PHOENIX — Authorities say ozone levels are expected to exceed federal health standards beginning Friday in Maricopa County.

An alert from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality warns residents of high ozone levels that 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-through lines.

More stringent federal health standards have increased the number of recent advisories.

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