If you’re worried about smoke from Canadian wildfires, sandstorms now raging across the Saharan are possibly jeopardizing the quality of the air you breathe.

A week ago over northern Africa, a cloud of desert dust entered the atmosphere, crossed the Atlantic Ocean and reached South Florida over the weekend. This is the first of three dust clouds predicted by forecasters to hit the United States in July.

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Before you panic, take a deep breath. The clouds are not expected to be as worrisome as the large, dense cloud of Saharan dust that hit South Florida in 2020, according to a report released Monday, prompting warnings for people with pre-existing respiratory problems. (in English) in Sun Sentinel.

Health risks similar to those from wildfire smoke

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that the dust from the Sahara can be harmful to your health: “Particles can enter the lungs and bloodstream through inhalation, potentially causing asthma in people with this disorder.” Asthma attacks can occur and other respiratory problems can increase.” Disease. The dust from the Sahara worsens the air quality and increases the level of particulate matter in the air.”

According to the CDC, like wildfire smoke and other “particle pollution,” those at greatest risk to health are older adults, children and infants, people with underlying lung conditions (such as asthma), and people with chronic cardiopulmonary diseases. Are included. COPD. In the US, the weather phenomenon usually peaks from late June to mid-August and is usually confined to the southern states and the Caribbean.

stay informed

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a color-coded US Air Quality Index (AQI) that measures on a scale of 0 to 500 how clean or polluted the air is and what health effects it can have, especially at ground level. . Ozone and particulate pollution. Anything above 150 is considered “unhealthy” by everyone. The EPA’s website, AirNow.gov, allows users to enter a zip code to receive an air quality forecast closest to you.

When dust levels are high in Saharan, the CDC recommends spending more time indoors and avoiding outdoor activities, such as running, that require an increased rate of breathing.

(TagstoTranslate) air quality

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