The UAE has a significant climate and is susceptible to extreme weather, such as heat waves during the summer months and also sandstorms.
These sandstorms can have severe health effects on people suffering from asthma and being aware of how to live with asthma during adverse weather and sandstorms is vital for respiratory health and good quality of life.
Regional Medical Director, Mohamed Samir, shares six Health & Safety tips on how to survive sandstorms in the region this season:
1) Stay Indoors
Stay indoors as much a possible during sandstorms and keep windows and doors closed. Reduce exposure to common allergens during the sandstorms that may provoke asthmatic attacks.
2) Check Weather and Pollution Forecasts
It is recommended that asthmatics regularly check daily weather and air quality reports, especially during the sandstorm season. Tuning in to your local weather station can help you plan ahead and manage daily activities.
3) Clean Air Conditioner Vents
Living in a hot climate country means being indoors more often and using air-conditioning more regularly. Dust collection in air conditioning vents can be a harmful trigger if not cleaned and checked regularly. Air conditioning units need to be regularly maintained and cleaned every six months to avoid accumulation of dust in ducts and vents.
4) Use an Air-Purifier.
Sandstorms affect allergy and asthma sufferers the most. An air purifier can help reduce indoor pollution and help you breathe better. Although air purifiers are by no means a cure for asthma, they help to remove the allergens and particles which can trigger symptoms by directing air through a filter. If you are asthmatic, an air purifier can help you breathe more easily by improving indoor air quality.
5) Consider a Face Mask
Consider wearing a medical face mask or use a wet towel during sandstorms to prevent inhaling the dust particles. Do not forget to regularly change face masks.
6) Stay Hydrated
Fluids, especially water are just as important during sandstorms as hot weather. Remember to keep well hydrated or even spray water on your face and eyes if you come in direct contact with dust.
Employers need to recognise and understand that employees already suffering with respiratory problems will be more vulnerable during sandstorm season. Symptoms can include wheezing, coughing, chest-tightness, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, or even an asthma attack. See what happens to your lungs when you have an asthma attack »
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