Saharan Dust outbreak across San Fernando, Trinidad, on Sunday morning. Photo retrieved from TTWC

The Ministry of Health and Wellness has cautioned members of the public to guard against the effects of the Saharan dust, which it said is expected to affect the island starting today through to Thursday.

Saharan dust is a mixture of sand and dust from the Sahara, which is the vast desert area that covers most of North Africa.

The ministry said its advisory is in keeping with reports from The Meteorological Service of Jamaica.

It said: “Excess exposure to the [Saharan] dust particles can have severe health effects, including increased risk of respiratory and related illness such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and respiratory infection and allergies. Skin and eye irritation can also be experienced, as well as there is an increased risk of water borne-illness.”

The ministry further stated that members of the public – and especially persons with respiratory illnesses, should exercise great care by observing the following precautions:

  • Staying indoors as much as possible
  • Wearing face masks
  • Wearing long sleeve clothing, and protecting eyes
  • Washing hands regularly and avoid touching eyes
  • Ensuring water that is harvested is treated
  • Covering water used for domestic purposes, including drinking and food preparation

The health ministry, in the meantime, said members of the public should call it at 888-ONE-LOVE (5683) for further information.

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By Mills