Healthy Tips to Survive Dust and Sand Storms

The public is reminded to be safe when dust and sand storms occur. Exposure to dusts can cause respiratory problems, especially for those with existing allergies.  And if it’s really necessary to go out, expect low visibility on the road.

Dust and sand storms are regular occurrence in Qatar. When this happens, the Qatari government issues updates to help its citizens and residents to be ready for the storm. Sometimes, classes and work can stop, depending on the prevailing condition.

Image credit: Hamad Medical Corporation FB

What to do in a Dust and Sand Storm

Sandstorms and dust storms are caused when strong winds gather loose sand or soil. When storms like this occur, the Qatar Meteorology Department may give warnings such as “Strong wind over all areas and poor horizontal visibility at places.”

These storms can affect those who have sinus allergies and respiratory infections. Dust debris can also affect the driving condition due to low visibility. Dusts can also get in the vehicle’s air filter which can cause problems with the engine.

Hamad Medical Corporation shares some advice during this kind of weather:

  • Avoid going outside, especially during high winds or low visibility when the dust levels are particularly harmful
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a mask or damp cloth to reduce inhalation of particles of dust
  • When driving, keep the car windows closed
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes to prevent eye infections

High risk groups should be extra cautious during this time. Those who belong to the group include: infants, children, teenagers, the elderly, those with history of respiratory condition, people with heart disease, pregnant women, and those who work outdoors.

Those who are already affected with the dusts from the storm and have experienced mild symptoms such as watering eyes, cough or wheezing should go to the respective Primary Health Care Center. Meanwhile, those who experience severe breathing problem should go to the Emergency Department because the condition may be due to a lung infection.