KDHE shares steps to protect health amid potential air quality impacts from Sahara Dust

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) wants to alert Kansans to a potential air quality impact from Saharan dust.  The Saharan dust comes from the Sahara Desert in Africa, where storms can lift the dust into the atmosphere. Dust is picked up by trade winds and carried thousands of miles across the Atlantic and eventually to the U.S.  The particulate matter from this event has the potential to impact Kansas.

Particulate matter can cause health problems, even in healthy individuals.  Common health problems include burning eyes, runny nose, coughing, and illnesses such as bronchitis.  Individuals with respiratory issues, pre-existing heart or lung diseases, children and the elderly may experience worse symptoms.

Steps to protect your health on days when particulate matter is present in your community include:

  • Healthy people should limit or avoid strenuous outdoor exercise.
  • People with respiratory or heart-related illness should remain indoors.
  • Help keep indoor air clean by closing doors and windows and running the air conditioners with air filters.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Contact your doctor if you have symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath, or severe fatigue.