From soft to heavy and severe, dust storms have a significant impact on our health—especially for children, the elderly and people with asthma—so it is important to be prepared. Short-term exposure to very high concentrations of dust and particles during a sandstorm can be harmful but long-term exposure to high concentrations might be even worse. So don’t wait for a sandstorm to take action to reduce the concentration of particles inside your homes.
- Stay indoors, with windows and doors closed.
- Air conditioned environments can provide protection. If you have an air conditioner at home, turn it on and, if applicable, use them in a recirculate mode.
- Avoid outdoor activity. If you must go outside spend as little time outside as possible.
- Avoid vigorous exercise, especially if you have asthma, diabetes, heart disease or a breathing related condition.
- If you are an asthmatic or have a respiratory condition and you develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, or chest pain, follow your prescribed treatment plan. Continue to use your usual medication.
- Seek medical attention if your symptoms worsen.
- Dust storms may reduce visibility. Extra caution should be taken when driving to avoid the risk of collisions.
- If your car is air-conditioned, reduce the amount of dust entering your car by switching the air intake to ‘recirculate’.