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  • Writer's pictureSERHA

Jamaicans Encouraged to Reduce Saharan Dust Exposure

Updated: Jun 27

KINGSTON, Jamaica. Wednesday, June 26, 2024: In keeping with reports from the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, the Ministry of Health & Wellness is cautioning members of the public to guard against the effects of the Saharan dust that is expected to affect the island starting today through to Thursday.

Satellite images on Tuesday showed that a very thin layer of dust had drifted from the Eastern Caribbean into the Central Caribbean and is now moving into the Western Caribbean.

Excess exposure to the dust particles can have severe health effects, including increased risk of respiratory and related illness, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and respiratory infection and allergies. Skin and eye irritation can also be experienced, in addition to an increased risk of water-borne illness.

Members of the public and especially persons who are already experiencing or who are prone to respiratory illnesses should exercise great care by observing the following precautions:

 Staying indoors as much as possible;

 Wearing face masks; and

 Wearing long sleeve clothing and protect eyes.

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Members of the public should also:

 Wash their hands regularly and avoid touching their eyes;

 Ensure that water that is harvested is treated; and

 Cover water used for domestic purposes, including drinking and food

preparation.

The arrival of the Saharan dust layer is not unusual for the Caribbean. The weather phenomenon occurs annually, usually between May and October. The plumes are usually short-lived, lasting no more than a week.

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