(What to do before, during and after)

Tiny dust pollution which sometimes covers the sky of large parts of the country is almost a familiar phenomenon for pilgrims going to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Syria. Because of having vast deserts and dry lands, these countries are imposed to tiny dust more than Iran. Due to climate changes that have occurred in this region in recent years, Iran has been affected as well. So the phenomenon is now extended to large parts of Iran.

Tiny dust pollution is a phenomenon produced by a combination of tiny particles of dust and urban pollution and it is very harmful to health.

Effects of dust on health

Effects of dust on health can be divided into two types:

  1. Fast and short term effects: they cause heart rhythm disorders and heart attack (for those who have a history of heart disease).
  2. Long term effects: In the long run, tiny dust particles entering respiratory tract and blood stream deposit in vessel walls. Then they create an inflammation which provides the condition for atherosclerosis and narrowing the arteries.

The prevention of harmful effects of tiny dust pollution

Be careful about the following recommendations:

  1. If possible, stay at home until the condition of air pollution has been improved. Avoid unnecessary trips (especially for the elderly, cardiac patients, people suffering from lung disease, pregnant women, children and chemically injured patients.
  2. Don’t breathe deeply in contaminated areas.
  3. To prevent the adverse effects of pollution, you shouldn’t be exposed to polluted air. Never exercise in such weather because it increases the heart rate and respiratory activity and consequently increases the polluted air entering the lungs.
  4. As long as contamination is present, regularly, wash your nose with salt water serum.
  5. Use special masks. Ordinary masks are not effective in preventing the contamination. Paper masks are never recommended because they allow the contaminants to pass. Using ordinary masks, in this condition, is very dangerous because people try to breathe deeply although the masks are not effective in reducing the air pollution and its impacts. Consequently it increases the polluted air entering the lungs and respiratory tract. Paper masks may be only effective in preventing the ordinary dust.

Standard masks for use in air pollution have different types. Mask 3M is one such mask. The mask FPP (1-3) is another type available in pharmacies and other authorized centers.

A mask should cover the nose and mouth completely. They should be replaced every two hours. Since the germs are placed on the surface of masks, if they are not replaced regularly there will be a source of pollution.

  1. It is recommended to drink enough water, low fat milk, fruits (especially citrus), fresh vegetables and some foods such as fish (salmon) every day.
  2. Refer to medical centers in case of any inconvenience, especially if you have a history of heart or respiratory disease.

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