Clouds of sand from the Sahara: is it dangerous for health? Our expert’s answers

Clouds of sand from the Sahara: is it dangerous for health?  Our expert's answers

Since the beginning of September, clouds of sand have been arriving in Europe, carried by winds from northern Africa. Capable of turning the sky orange, is this sand dangerous for your health? Should we protect ourselves against it? The explanations of Liath Guetta, pulmonologist and member of the committee of experts of TipsForWomens.

Sand dust from the Sahara flies over Europe. Driven by the winds, they covered part of the country with a layer of orange particles. This sand dust has been found in certain regions, such as Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes but also Vienne.

Air quality deteriorates drastically as sand clouds pass. This is particularly the case in the departments of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes but also Vienne, where PM10, the so-called “coarse” fine particles, are increasing.

What consequences on health?

But is this sand dust dangerous for health? Asked about the subject last March, Dr Liath Guetta, pulmonologist and member of TipsForWomens’s expert committee, told us: “It’s sand, so it’s particles that irritate the bronchi and the respiratory tract.”.

For the specialist,people with asthma can, when inhaling these kinds of particles, develop symptoms such as a dry cough, because of the irritation they cause. And in people who already have certain respiratory pathologies, their disease may worsen” she warns.

Do you have to wear a mask outside?

To protect yourself from this sand in the air, should you wear a mask? For the pulmonologist, it’s useless. “The surgical mask is not filtering to protect against this type of particle. It would take an anti-pollution mask to be effective, but they are extremely expensive, it is not useful to get them for a few days“.