The Saharan dust made its way across Texas in June 2022. Unfortunately, it has returned to Central Texas this summer, including San Antonio. This dry, sand-like particulate matter from the Sahara Desert has raised allergy concerns, especially for at-risk individuals. During the warmer months, high winds carry this North African dust across the Atlantic, as far as Florida and islands such as Puerto Rico. Since the dust settled in Texas, there has been a 25% increase in allergy reports. Because this dust is foreign, it triggers the immune system, resulting in symptoms like springtime allergies, just in a more extreme form. Texas weather forecast predicts the dust to subside within several days after its first reappearance. While the problem is present precautions can be implemented to keep you and your health safe.

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Saharan Dust can be harmful to anyone’s health. Common symptoms of dust are eye and skin irritations and a runny nose. It can quickly enter the lungs and bloodstream if individuals spend too much time outside with the dust. Once the dust is in the lungs, coughing, tight chest, and shortness of breath can occur. The best way to prevent/ treat these symptoms is to limit dust exposure and consult a pharmacist for allergy medicine.

Individuals prone to health complications are more at risk of developing asthma or respiratory problems, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People with asthma should be using inhalers regularly if they go outdoors. Lung and other problems resulting from this threat, reported by the CDC, are more likely to affect children, young babies, and older adults.

Allergists like Dr. Hallett and may ENT professionals encourage people to stay hydrated and to purchase air purifiers and nasal sprays. For less extreme cases of mild allergies, over-the-counter medicine can be beneficial. However, the over-the-counter medication does not assist with breathing issues. In that case, seeking professional medical advice is highly recommended.

Allergies caused by the Saharan dust present unique challenges that differ from common allergies found in Texas and other areas it has traveled to. Therefore, it is critical to take the necessary steps and be attentive to prevent symptoms. Remember to be aware and prepared to minimize the effects of allergies to ensure better health during these outbreaks.

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