Moose Jaw has been a dust bowl for the past couple of weeks, and one health official is warning that the effects could cause dire consequences.
Dry weather and high winds have been kicking up dirt dust, and other contaminants, as Dr David Torr, Consulting Medical Health Officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authourity, explained. While allergies may be a concern for some, Torr said that not only those with dust allergies have to watch out for contaminants in the air.
"For infections, a lot of different bacteria and viruses can be harboured and naturally habitat in these dusts, so again, if you come into contact with your skin or if you inhale them, there is always a risk of infection, and especially in spring."
Dust is also harmful to the eyes as it can scratch them once it comes into contact with them. Torr stressed that precautions need to be taken as dust swirls around the air. The first and foremost tip given by Torr was to avoid dust altogether, but at the same time prepare to face it.
"Be aware of your own health. For example, if you have allergies, be very prepared that in the event that you have been exposed, you are equipped with the right precautions or medications to handle that."
One other source of dust at this time of year is spring cleaning, which can be just as harmful to the everyday person as it is to someone with a dust allergy.
"Especially use proper precautions when cleaning out sheds or areas that have been closed off during the winter that might harbour some of these mice and their droppings which could easily give infections."
Making sure that your vacuum has a proper filter is also a way to stop dust from getting dust sprayed around instead of safeley collected. Gloves, masks, and eyewear are all recommended to prevent dust from harming you, and wet cleaning is one way of blocking dust from being kicked up in the first place.
Other allergens to be on the lookout for as spring approaches are pollen and bees, as Torr reminded.