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Sandstorms could lead to health problems
May 13, 2018, 10:30 am

Dust storms have been prevailing in Kuwait for some time and apart from low visibility and therefore, higher risk while driving, there have been warnings of health risks associated with the weather phenomenon.

One of the health problems is allergic rhinitis, also called hay fever, which is a common condition that leads to inflammation in the nasal canals due to allergens in the air. Sandstorms are the worst for people who suffer from allergic rhinitis or those who are prone to allergies. Apart from the dust and sand, the storms also carry allergens such as plants, fungi and grass pollen leading to a higher rate of allergies all around.

People who have weak immune systems, due to recent illnesses, age, surgeries or because of medications, are at high risk of bacterial or viral infections as well. This includes young children and older residents.

Even people who have never had an allergy are also prone to respiratory conditions, especially if they have been exposed to heavy sandstorms. Asthma sufferers and young children are the most prone to getting sick, but anyone with excessive coughing, running nose or wheezing should consult their doctor immediately.

How do I know if I am allergic?

There is a test to find out what substances you may be allergic to. It is called the 'skin prick allergy test' which involves a small dose of allergens being injected into your system to analyse reactions. So, if you feel like you are having an allergy, get tested and find out exactly what you may be reacting to.

What can I do?

If you are allergic or are worried that you're at risk of allergies, staying indoors is your best precaution. People prone to respiratory conditions should keep an eye on sandstorm predictions and the intensity. While face masks could help reduce the effects, the only way to make sure you don't fall sick is to avoid stepping out during heavy sandstorms.

However, if you do need to go out, cover your eyes, nose and mouth effectively. Stay away from indoor parking spaces as well, as the sand and allergens are most recirculated in closed off areas. 

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