How can Saharan dust affect your health and what measures should you take before its arrival?

How can Saharan dust affect your health and what measures should you take before its arrival?

Starting Tuesday and until at least Thursday, a cloud of Saharan dust classified as moderate to severe will affect Puerto Rico, causing hazy skies, reduced visibility and possible impacts on public health, reported the National Weather Service (SNM).

According to information from the SNM, Sahara dust consists of mineral dust particles that come from the Sahara Desert and the Sahel Desert, located north of Africa. The particulate matter is transported by the trade winds that blow over the Atlantic Ocean and reach the coasts of the island after traveling a distance of over 5,000 kilometers.

Although the dust cloud brings organic matter and nutrients beneficial to the ecosystem – such as nitrogen, iron and phosphorus – it also arrives with particulate matter that can be harmful to health, especially for immunocompromised and vulnerable populations who suffer from respiratory conditions.

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