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Health officials warn of negative effects of dust cloud

The Georgia Department of Public Health is warning Georgians that the Saharan Dust Cloud is expected to be present in the state of several days and can cause health problems.

Health officials are urging people, especially individuals with chronic lung conditions, to protect themselves from dust from the Saharan dust cloud as it moves over Georgia. The dust cloud is expected to be around for the next few days.

The dust can cause eye, nose and throat irritation for anyone who comes in contact with it, and may cause wheezing in people with allergies or asthma. The best advice is to limit exposure to the dust and take precautions to protect your health:

  • If it appears hazy or dusty outside, limit outdoor activities such as yard work, exercise, children playing.
  • Wear a face mask outside to keep dust particles out of the nose and mouth, and to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Pay attention to local air quality reports and news coverage related to the dust plume.
  • Keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed. Run an air conditioner if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed.
  • Follow the advice of your doctor or other health care provider about medicines and condition management if you have asthma or another lung condition.
  • If you experience a medical emergency, call 911.

Strong, warm winds over the Sahara desert typically kick up sand at this time of year and carry it thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean. This year, the dust is more dense than it’s been in 50-60 years.


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