Kentucky Department of Health issues air quality warning for Saharan dust

Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 10:00 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Kentucky Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack is warning Kentuckians about poor air quality as an area of dry and dusty air originally from the Sahara Desert moves towards the southern United States.

This dust plume, the Saharan Air Layer, occurs annually during the late spring, summer and early fall. The plume that formed on June 14 is unusually large in size and depth and is nearly 5,000 miles in length.

As this dust plume reaches the state this weekend, it can cause poor air quality, which can aggravate those suffering from respiratory conditions and poses health risks for young children and seniors.

The dust particles can cause eye, lung and throat irritation and trouble breathing. The KDPH is urging people to pay attention to local air quality reports and public health messages and to take extra safety measures, such as limiting time outdoors and keeping windows and doors closed.

The KDPH also recommends continuing to wear protective masks being used to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as they will also prevent exposure to dust particles.

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