Local News


Thick dust causes respiratory problems around Las Vegas valley

Dust advisory in effect through Friday morning
Posted at 1:07 PM, Mar 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-31 03:00:32-04

Even if you don't have chronic or seasonal allergies, with so much pollen and dust in the air, the windy conditions we experienced in the valley on Thursday could easily irritate your eyes, nose and throat.
Rowena Krider said she relied heavily on her prescription medication. She said without it she would have been miserable.
"It would have been terrible,” she said. “Itchy eyes. ... I just would have been having a hard time breathing. I also have mild asthma, so it would have been terrible! "
At times during the day there was a cloud of dust everywhere making it hard to see and even harder to breathe. As long as the winds are howling, they will continue to stir up irritants in the air.
The Las Vegas valley has been under a dust advisory. People with asthma and other respiratory illnesses were advised to stay indoors and to take their recommended medications.
13 Action News spoke to an allergist who said symptoms won't necessarily get better once the winds die down because this time of the year pollen levels will remain high.

Thomas Chu, a physician assistant at Tottori Allergy and Associates, said that is typical of spring weather.
"Use a little bit of common sense,” Chu said. “Stay indoors as much as possible when it's windy outside. If you don't have to go outdoors, please don't.”
Chu also said it may help to wear a surgical type mask when outdoors walking, running, or doing yard work.
And while it's tempting to open windows in your home or ride in your car with the windows down, doing so will only make your symptoms worse.

A dust advisory remains in effect until Friday morning.

Under windy conditions people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children may feel better staying indoors as much as possible because they could be at greater risk from particulates, especially when they are physically active, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Consult your physician if you have a medical condition that makes you sensitive to air pollution.

Tips to limit exposure include:

Limit outdoor exertion on windy days with dust is in the air. Exercise, for example, makes you breathe heavier and increases the amount of particulates you are likely to inhale.
Keep windows and doors closed.
Run your air conditioner inside your house and car to filter out particulates.
Consider changing your indoor air filters if they are dirty.
To keep dust down, drive slowly on unpaved roads.
Don’t take short cuts across vacant lots.
Ride off-road vehicles in approved areas outside the urban Las Vegas Valley.
Call Air Quality’s dust-complaint hotline at (702) 385-DUST (3878) to report excessive amounts of blowing dust from construction sites,vacant lots or facilities