Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) advises residents to take some basic health and safety precautions in the awful dusty weather.

Qatar suffers from dust storms as the weather changes from winter to summer as the tiny solid particles float through the air causing sinus allergies and dust infections.

Dr Khaled Al Said, senior consultant at HMC’s Accident and Emergency Department gives some tips on how to deal with the dust.

  • Avoid going outside, especially if there is low visibility and high winds. Do not do any outside exercise!
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a mask or damp cloth is you must venture outside.
  • Keep your windows closed when driving and use the air conditioning instead.
  • Try not to rub your eyes. If they become itchy, rinse with water. Contact lense wearers should be extra careful.
  • Keep a bottle of wateraround as you can become dehydrated very easily.
  • If you have allergies, start taking antihistamines.

Young children, the elderly, people with respiratory conditions or heart disease, pregnant women and people who work outdoors are most at risk from dust storms.

Dr Al Said says that if you are showing symptoms like watering of the eyes, wheezing and asthma should visit their Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) and if you have trouble breathing, cough up green mucus, it could be a lung infection and should go to the Emergency Department.

Motorists are cautioned to drive more slowly during dust storms and pull over when there is low visibility of 100m or less.