Sat. Dec 3rd, 2022
Haze or cloud of dust in suspension: how it affects health and what we can do to minimize symptoms

In the last two days we have been seeing how the skies of our country were dyed orange due to the presence of a cloud of dust in suspension from the Sahara, and that is seriously affecting the air quality of several Spanish cities.

This meteorological phenomenon, known as haze, not only causes dirt and decreases visibility, but can also be detrimental to health .

Although experts predict that the concentrations of dust will decrease starting tomorrow, its effects could last a few more days, so it is important to know how to act to protect our health and that of our children .

The Environmental Health Committee of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics has just issued a statement in which it advises taking the following measures:

  1. Stay home whenever possible , keeping windows, doors, and vents closed.
  2. If air conditioning is used , change it to recirculate, to reduce the amount of dust that enters the house. If available, use HEPA filters.
  3. Avoid exercising , especially outdoors, especially those with asthma .
  4. If you have asthma, be sure to follow prevention measures and take prescribed medication .
  5. In the street wear a well placed and tight mask . Better FFP2 or FFP3 masks, since surgical masks reduce something but do not prevent inhaling dust particles.
  6. Pay close attention to visibility when driving.
  7. If possible, monitor the quality of the air inside and outside the home.

For their part, experts from Samur and Civil Protection warn that along with respiratory patients, children and the elderly are the most vulnerable population in the face of the haze . For this reason, apart from the recommendations mentioned, they recommend cleaning the surfaces of the house with a damp cloth to prevent dust from being suspended in the air, and continually hydrate.

How can the haze affect our health?

The State Meteorological Agency has published an article explaining the composition of the haze and its effects on people’s health.

As we can read , ” Saharan dust particles are of mineral origin and, in general, are the result of rock erosion. Their chemical composition includes mineral elements such as quartz, oxides and carbonates, steel, titanium and vanadium. In some cases, sulfate peaks may appear resulting from the chemical reaction between the carbonate contained in the powder and the gases resulting from the environmental pollution present locally.” Our website is completely build for parenting keep visiting for more topics.

When the particles are inhaled , they can cause respiratory problems, throat irritation, bronchospasm in case of high exposure or aggravation of symptoms in people suffering from pathologies such as asthma, allergies or bronchitis.

The eyes and mucous membranes are also especially sensitive to haze, so it is important not to rub them if we notice that dust has gotten into them. Instead, we must blink several times to try to remove dirt and wash with physiological serum.