The Sahara Dust Cloud

As if we did not have enough going on in 2020, there is now a Sahara dust cloud making it’s way into the Gulf of Mexico and part of the United States later this week. So what does that mean for patients with asthma and allergies?

First, what is the Sahara dust cloud? The dust comes from the Sahara Desert in Northern Africa each year. The dust is the thickest to move over the Caribbean Sea Region in decades. The dust itself is composed of sand and other mineral particles. 

So what does that mean for those with asthma? Dust and other types of air pollution can trigger an asthma flare and cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, or even a life-threatening asthma attack. Airborne particles, found in haze, smoke and airborne dust, present serious air quality problems. People with asthma are at greater risk from breathing in small particles. The particles can make asthma worse. Both long-term and short-term exposure can cause health problems such as reduced lung function and more asthma attacks. As always, it is very important to carry a rescue inhaler at all times. It is also very important to keep asthma symptoms controlled.

If you are struggling with asthma, please give us a call at 205-871-9661 and one of our Board Certified Allergy & Asthma Specialty physicians will be happy to help. 

Sources:

Dolce, Chris. “Saharan Dust Could Spread to Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and U.S. Into Next Week.” The Weather Channel, The Weather Channel, 19 June 2020, weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2020-06-16-saharan-dust-atlantic-caribbean-united-states-hurricane-season.

“AAFA.” Air Pollution and Asthma | AAFA.org, Oct. 2015, www.aafa.org/air-pollution-smog-asthma/.