Jul 16, 2009

Doctors warn of dusty conditions at weekend in UAE

Abu Dhabi: With a long weekend coming up, doctors are urging people who plan to spend their time outdoors and who suffer from severe eye and nose allergies, respiratory diseases and or skin conditions, to take precautions against dusty weather conditions.

"In general try to avoid the dust, and if you're going out always carry tissues and use a standard mouth mask if and when required - it may look socially unacceptable for some people but medically it makes perfect sense to use it," said Dr Ravi Arora, Internist at the NMC Specialty Hospital

People with respiratory diseases are advised to carry inhalers and medication with them if they opt for outdoor-type activities.

"If someone is generally on medication, they must be prepared to increase the dose in case of an allergy flare up, especially when it comes to asthmatic people," warned Dr Arora.

A spokesperson from the National Centre for Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS) told that the News the weather over the weekend is expected to be hazy and dusty in mountainous areas and the desert.

"Mountains close to Al Ain, Oman and Ras Al Khaimah and the open desert are risky for people on medication or who have breathing problems, since we do expect low visibility and dust with possible showers across the mountains and a wind increase due to rising sands in the open desert," said the official, who assured people that spending time on the beach this weekend was perfectly fine.

Dr Humeri Nasser, General Practitioner at Al Noor Hospital said people who have atopic allergies or are sensitive to dust and humidity may face breathing problems.

"Atopic families should not plan for an outdoor-type activity that could stimulate their respiratory system and result in an allergic reaction. People with asthma and eczema should not be encouraged to go out if it means risking their pre-existing medical conditions," said Dr Nasser, who urges parents planning to go on picnics this weekend, to take along a first aid kit and necessary medication.

Treatments are available if your child has a history of an allergic attack; or in case they have been stung by a bee, eaten the wrong food or face a respiratory problem, advised the doctor.

"Symptoms of an allergy are swelling, a drop in blood pressure, and loss of breath due to a swollen airway," said Dr Nasser, adding avoidance and prevention is the best policy when it comes to allergic reactions and diseases related to weather conditions.

Doctor's advice

Yaser Abu Al Sameed, M.D. pulmonary consultant, Institute of Medicine at Shaikh Khalifa Medical City says: "Many people with mild asthma need take no special care to avoid dust. However, some patients are very sensitive to this exposure.

People can try to avoid breathing dust by: Avoiding household furnishings that accumulate dust. They shoudl also dust frequently, with a damp cloth.

Al Sameed also suggested mopping floors instead of sweeping, washing all bedding every week in water that is at least 130 degrees to control dust mites, and using clean filters in air conditioning units.

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