Saharan DustSaharan Dust
Public advisory issued, as Saint Lucia again faces challenges Saharan Dust

The Minister of Health- Moses Jn Baptiste in Saint Lucia has issued a public advisory as the nation is grappling with a significant Saharan dust outbreak. The people with respiratory issues are advised to take necessary medications and be prepared for emergencies.

The health minister urged the residents to wear dust masks or face masks when going outside amidst the haze of dust particles, present in the air. Due to such condition, the air quality reaches to ‘unhealthy’ level.

“It is paramount to protect ourselves from the potential health effects of Saharan dust. We urge citizens to wear face masks to prevent inhaling dust particles and take precautions when engaging in outdoor activities”, said Minister Jeanne Baptiste.

Such circumstances built due to a movement of strong winds which have carried dust from the Sahara Desert in North Africa, across the Atlantic and moves towards the Caribbean region.

Individuals suffering from respiratory illnesses such as asthma or sinuses are urged to remain vigilant as they are on the high risk to get sick. The authorities will continue to work on the progression of the dust plume and has warned of limited visibility.

Noting this, the primary concern lies in the potential health effects associated with inhalation of airborne dust particles due to reduced visibility. The authorities have introduced some measures and expected people to exercise them and avoid getting sick.

  • Use a clean face mask while venturing outside their homes
  • Close windows and doors to minimize dust entry into the home
  • One should drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
  • Individual should seek medical assistance when experience worsening respiratory symptoms, such as difficulty in breathing or continuous coughing
  • The asthma patients should consult their doctors for personalized advice
  • Cover water sources such as wells, water storage ponds and containers to avoid contamination

The high levels of Saharan Dust may cause dry cough, itchy and watery eyes, sore throat, sneezing and a runny nose. Considerably, the advisory has also been issued in the country associated with the health and safety risks.

Therefore, the Minister of Health- Baptiste advised citizens to exercise caution and citizens should keep antihistamines and steroid nasal sprays with themselves in case of standard allergy medications for less severe symptoms.

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