x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

'Stay indoors and avoid sandstorms'

Doctors warn residents to stay indoors during sandstorms.

People have been advised to remain indoors until the sandstorms sweeping the country clear in the next few days.

The number of people complaining of respiratory problems has increased after two days of air tainted by sand and dust carried by strong winds. Doctors have told those susceptible to allergies and asthma to remain indoors and travel only when necessary.

"It's best for people with chest conditions, asthma and allergies to avoid going out," said Dr Zia Ul Hassan, an endocrinologist with North West Clinic in Umm Suqeim.

Dr Mohammed Mamoon, a consultant internal medicine physician at Al Ain hospital, said air conditioning was best for people during weather like this because it filtered dust and microbes present outdoors. "And if you have to leave, only leave for very short periods of time."

He said that people should avoid exercising, which could add to shortness of breath. He added children at school today should be kept indoors.

However, Dr Ul Hassan said people with no underlying illnesses should not overreact. "As long as they protect their eyes and nose and drink adequate fluids, they should be OK outdoors."

Dr Joseph Manna, of the emergency department at Tawam Hospital, said sand grains could cause corneal abrasions, and those outdoors must protect their eyes.