The Kansas Department of Health and Environment issued an alert to Kansans to the potential air quality impact from Saharan dust, Friday afternoon.
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 currently has the potential to impact Kansas.
Particulate matter can cause health problems, even in healthy individuals. Common health problems include burning eyes, a 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.
Some steps to protect your health on days when particulate matter is present in your community may include: limiting or avoiding strenuous outdoor exercise, remaining indoors if you have respiratory or heart-related conditions, keeping indoor air clean by closing doors and windows and running air conditioners with air filters, keeping hydrated by drinking lots of water and contacting your doctor if you experience symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath or severe fatigue.