Log in
A+ A A-

African dust smothers Greece - Doctors warnings

The African dust that since yesterday has "covered" several areas of Greece, creating a suffocating backdrop, is creating major problems for vulnerable groups.

As the meteorologist of ERT, Panagiotis Giannopoulos, said this morning, during the day the dust will leave everywhere, as the expected westerly winds will gradually drive it away. In fact, in the west of the country the air has already cleared. However, until that happens the atmosphere is, as mentioned above, stifling, if we also consider the rise in temperature. It is typical that yesterday in Crete the mercury reached 32C (!) degrees.

Meteorologist of Open channel, Clearchos Marousakis, spoke along the samee lines who in his forecast for today stated that from the afternoon onwards the African dust will start to recede.

African dust and rains
According to national weather bureau EMY, for today Thursday (28/3), a few temporarily increased clouds are forecast throughout the country, with local rains mainly in the west, in the central, in the north and in the eastern Aegean. Isolated thunderstorms will develop in the early morning hours in the northwest. The phenomena will quickly weaken in the west and gradually in the rest, and from the afternoon hours they will be limited to the Southeast Aegean, while in the rest of the country the weather will improve.

Visibility in the morning hours will be locally limited in the western and northern continental areas. Meteorological conditions favor the transport of African dust. Winds in the east will blow south-southeast 5 to 7 and locally in the Aegean up to 8 Beaufort, gradually weakening from noon. In the rest of the country the winds will be from the west 4 to 5 and in the south 6 local 7 Beaufort.

The temperature will drop slightly in the west, where it will reach 19 to 21 degrees, and in the rest of the country 22 to 24 and locally in the eastern continental 25 degrees Celsius.

Alarm from  the Pulmonologists Union of Greece
It is recalled that recommendations to vulnerable and sensitive population groups were made yesterday by the Union of Pulmonologists of Greece, due to the explosive "cocktail" of heat and African dust that has created a suffocating atmosphere in areas of the country.

The Union of Pulmonologists of Greece calls on citizens, and especially people who belong to the vulnerable and sensitive population groups, to be especially careful due to the increased concentration of African dust in the atmosphere that has been affecting the country for the last few hours.

As the relevant announcement states, African dust contains transported particles that can be integrated with pollen, bacteria and fungi, creating a highly toxic and dangerous mixture for the human body and especially for the respiratory system.

Meteo: High concentrations of African dust until Thursday - How it will move [maps]
During the hours with the highest dust concentrations, both unnecessary movement and outdoor sports should be avoided, while staying in well-ventilated indoor areas is recommended.

In the event of clinical symptoms such as, for example, difficulty breathing, severe and irritating cough with possible sputum, chest pain, persistent sneezing, lacrimation and hoarse voice, individuals should seek immediate medical help and advice.

Strong recommendation for patients suffering from chronic respiratory problems, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and bronchial asthma, if they experience symptoms compatible with an exacerbation or worsening of the stable course of the disease, to be in constant contact with their treating physician, for possible modification of their medication and receiving additional medical care.

Vasilakopoulos: How African dust affects the body
Pulmonology professor Theodoros Vasilakopoulos also spoke on the subject this morning at Open, who explained what vulnerable people should do, and how African dust affects the human body.

"Whenever the atmosphere is burdened, especially with microparticles, people who have vulnerability, pre-existing diseases in their respiratory and circulatory systems, are burdened quite a bit. The reason is simple: Whenever dust enters and we inhale it, these small particles sit on the lining of the respiratory tract and cause inflammation. In a healthy organism, this inflammation is small and causes nothing. But in an organism that is already inflamed by some disease, by an asthma, by an allergic rhinitis, the inflammation superimposes on the pre-existing inflammation and increases or causes symptoms", said Mr. Vasilakopoulos initially.