HAVANA, July 23. This Thursday, the Ministry of Public Health (MINSAP) warned about the need for extreme care in the face of the cloud of dust from the Sahara that affects Cuba,and it is that the arrival of millions of respirable particles that, in addition to sand, include other chemical and biological pollutants, implies risks for the health of human beings.
The official communication warns that the event can cause “irritative symptoms in the eyes, throat, nose and skin, as well as respiratory symptoms” and recommends protecting especially the most vulnerable population groups, such as the elderly, pregnant women, children and patients with chronic respiratory diseases (such as asthma, emphysema or chronic bronchitis, among others).
According to the World Health Organization, the risk lies in the fact that the column of dry and dusty air that travels thousands of kilometers from North Africa to America also carries bacteria, viruses, spores, iron, mercury and pesticides.
In addition, under its impact rains are less likely, the temperature rises and, since it has approximately 50% less humidity than the tropical atmosphere, it can also cause dermatological conditions.
Hence, the Cuban health authorities recommend drinking plenty of fluids and wearing cool clothing, which reduces the sensation of heat and respiratory manifestations are less likely to appear or worsen.
Other preventive measures are the use of a mask or nasobuco and glasses to protect the respiratory tract and eyes from the effect of particles. Likewise, people who suffer from allergies must strictly comply with medical treatment to avoid crises.
The informative note released the day before urges the population to go to the Health services in the “presence of symptoms or aggravation of their habitual illness” in search of guidance on the conduct they must follow to treat the clinical picture.
Every year, more than 100 million tons of dust from the Sahara desert travel to countries in Europe and America, generating increased concentrations of particulate matter in the atmosphere, which often causes allergies and asthma attacks in many people, according to the WHO.
Hence the importance of maintaining the precautions indicated by the Ministry of Public Health and being attentive to official information.
Although it can cause discomfort and illness to human beings, this event does not generate emergency situations in society, and its transfer lasts a few days.
As a curious fact, it is worth saying that the Saharan cloud is beneficial for many ecosystems on this side of the planet.