Trinidad and Tobago is facing poor air quality due to concentration of Saharan dust in the air. Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Heath have advised the citizens to take measures and stay indoors.
Saharan dust is a warm, dry and a dust layer of air that originates over the Saharan desert of North Africa, which extends over the earth’s surface upwards several kilometres.
Strong winds from east at the mid level over the desert picks up sand and dust , and then transports them high into the atmosphere.
The dust then is transported across the Atlantic Ocean. A lot of Saharan dust is also deposited over the Caribbean Island including Trinidad and Tobago.
Saharan dust is common in Trinidad and Tobago and occurs often throughout the year. Most frequently from April to October and peaks during May to July, which on average gets 44 dust haze.
Large particles of Saharan dust can lead to irritation in the skin and eyes whereas Smaller particles from Saharan desert can be inhaled and cause respiratory disorders and cardiovascular events.
High levels of Saharan dust have a greater effect on persons who have pre-existing lung conditions like asthma, heart disease, the elderly and children. These persons should stay indoors when possible and have their rescue inhalers with them at all times.
High levels of Saharan Dust may cause dry cough, sore throat, itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and runny nose. It is necessary to take the following measures.
Stay Indoors: If possible, stay indoors to reduce exposure to the dusty air. Keep windows and doors closed to minimize dust entry.
Use Air Purifiers: Consider using air purifiers with HEPA filters to help reduce indoor air pollution.
Limit Outdoor Activities: Minimize outdoor activities, especially for those who are more susceptible to respiratory issues. If outdoor activities are necessary, try to schedule them during times when dust levels are lower.
Wear Masks: Use masks, particularly those designed to filter out fine particles, if you need to be outdoors.
Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, as exposure to dust may lead to dehydration.
Eye Protection: Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from irritation caused by the dust and weather.
Monitor Health: Pay attention to any respiratory symptoms, such as coughing or difficulty breathing. Seek medical attention if needed.