Sahara dust: Persons with asthma should be on alert


Sahara dust, which originates from the Sahara Desert in Africa, has blanketed Guyana’s coastal communities and will likely persist until next week.

In the meantime, Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony says individuals with asthma and other respiratory illnesses should wear face masks and take the necessary precautions to prevent any breathing difficulties.

“If you have an underlying respiratory condition, then it can trigger an acute episode so for those persons with underlying conditions, they need to take these precautions,” Dr. Anthony said.

According to him, the Sahara dust is just like another pollutant in the air and as such, it can likely trigger an individual’s allergies. Persons with respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, would be affected too.

So, Dr. Anthony urged people to wear face masks. He said the N-95 masks offer the best protection.

And if someone with asthma or another respiratory illness experiences any acute illness, Dr. Anthony said they should go to the hospital at the earliest.

A public health advisory from the Ministry of Health also noted that children and babies, older adults and people with cardiovascular (heart) illnesses are also vulnerable to experiencing health problems.

And it is noted that breathing in the dust can cause coughing, asthma attacks, irritated sinuses, skin and eye irritation and scratchy throats.

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