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African dust affecting Central Texans

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Posted at 7:10 PM, Jul 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:31:53-04

Dust from the Sahara Desert is bringing hazy skies and respiratory issues to some people in Central Texas.

Providence Family Medicine Clinic Family Physician Dr. Tim Martindale said the dust particles can get into your nose, eyes or throat causing nose swelling, burning eyes and shortness of breath.

People with respiratory problems such as asthma, emphysema, reactive airway disease or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are more prone to feel the effects of the African dust. However, anyone who is outside for a long period of time may experience some symptoms. 

"This is different than allergies, that's why sometimes allergy medicine may not help. It's something that gets into space and physically, mechanically causes damage and swelling and irritation to your nose, throat and mouth," Dr. Martindale said.

Dr. Martindale recommends people to avoid the outdoors. However, if you do go outside, he advises covering your nose and mouth. In addition, he recommends people to use a saline mist and saline drops in the eyes. Drinking water and washing your face periodically is also a good way to help with the effects of the dust. 

For those who have asthma and a prescribed inhaler, they are advised to use it before they leave home or when it happens. 

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