As the Saharan Dust Cloud sweeps through Florida, you may notice the beautiful sunsets...and some pretty severe sniffles. And no, it's not in your head. Experts say this is to be expected for the next few days for us Floridians.
This article talks about why the Saharan Dust is bad for both allergies and COVID patients, which areas of Florida will likely have the most impact, along with what you can do to feel better.
Why It's Bad For Allergies and COVID Patients
So why is the Saharan Dust Cloud bad for both allergy sufferers and COVID patients? Well, it's a giant blanket of dust particles. Obviously, this can be problematic.
An allergist, Dr. Meadows, commented on why the dust particles are particularly irritating.
"The tiny dust particles contained in the plume will cause eye, nose and throat irritation for anyone who comes in their path, but particularly for allergy and asthma sufferers."
Furthermore, these aren't just any dust particles. These are foreign dust particles. Another medical professional, Dr. Pandit, commented that because we aren't used to this particular type of dust particle, our bodies could have a heightened immune response to them, thus increasing symptoms.
"Because Saharan dust includes a type of sand not found in our area, it can trigger your immune system to react with symptoms typical of springtime allergies."
So yeah, there's a good chance that our allergies can act up in the next few days. And if you have COVID, which already causes respiratory issues, then the dust cloud could make those issues more intense.
However, there are some things we can do to combat the cloud.
Areas of Florida Most Impacted
The area of Florida that will likely be most impacted by the Saharan dust is South Florida and areas along the Gulf. This is because those areas are the first impacted, and thus the dust layer will accumulate there before moving into the rest of the state. As it moves along, more dust will accumulate before it passed by us later this week/weekend!
What We Can Do to Feel Better and Stay Healthy
According to medical professionals, there are a few things we can do to feel better during this time of increased symptoms. Of course, if you take over-the-counter allergy medication, you may want to make sure you continue to take that as determined by your doctor.
Dr. Pandit offered a few solutions for mild symptoms:
- Saline Nasal Sprays
- Air Purifiers
- Nasal Irrigations
- Limit your time spent outdoors
As you can see, those solutions are focused on removing the irritants (the dust) from both your nasal passages and the air around you.
Dr. Pandit does also suggest that patients with more severe issues be close to their prescribed inhalers. And of course, if you have any severe symptoms/life-threatening issues, dial 9-1-1, see a doctor or go to the emergency room.
Stay safe and sniffle-free these next few days!