Major dust storm causes damage to health of chronically ill

Dust particles in the air may cause high blood pressure, difficulty breathing and the allergy-related production of phlegm.

September 8, 2015 16:51
1 minute read.
Israel weather

Hazy, dusty conditions in Israel. (photo credit: Lahav Harkov)


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A few hundred patients, mostly sufferers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused by smoking and asthma -- were hospitalized on Tuesday after suffering from inhalation of particles during the unusually heavy dust storm around the country.

At Ziv Medical Center in Safed, chronically ill patients suffered shortness of breath and needed oxygen inhalation. At least one was admitted to the intensive care unit in very serious condition, and a six-year-old child was brought from his first-grade class with breathing difficulties.

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One of those admitted with respiratory problems due to the dust was Ya’acov Wald, an 80-year-old member of Kibbutz Shamir, whose daughter, nurse Anat Levy, gave him first aid before taking him to the hospital. His problems began at 4 a.m. in bed, as the dust particles seeped into his bedroom. He was given oxygen and kept for supervision.

Emergency room director Dr. Yosef Nevia said that such unusual weather -- in which the dust was so intense that it was hard to see anything from a distance -- was very dangerous to people with respiratory problems, heart conditions, pregnant women and children. He urged such individuals not to go outdoors and not to exert themselves physically when such a thing happens.

Dust particles in the air may cause high blood pressure, difficulty breathing and the allergy-related production of phlegm. There may also be cough, headache, asthma attacks and a burning sensation in the eyes, Nevia added. It is best in such a situation to remain in closed, air-conditioned rooms and to seek medical help if they feel unwell.

On Tuesday, more than 255 people suffered from serious side effects from the dust storm, Magen David reported. The first-aid and ambulance organization said it treated 145 people with shortness of breath and asthma attacks, 30 people who fainted and more than 80 people whose hearts were overburdened by the particles.


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