Monday, August 06, 2012

Dust is more than just a nuisance

Farming contributes to dust-related illnesses
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos
In arid regions of the United States, such as Arizona and Texas, dust storms (also known as haboobs) and dust devils are not a rare occurrence. In fact, this year’s dust activity is being compared to the infamous Dust Bowl era.

Haboobs are the flash flood version of a dust storm and Arizona has experienced several of them this year. The extreme weather has proven so taxing recently that drivers were involved in a 17-vehicle pileup killing one person.

But immediate danger is not the only concern. An Arizona researcher has been working on the possible connections between dust storms and Valley Fever. 

Valley Fever, or coccidioidomycosis, is a fungal infection often found in southwestern United States, such as Arizona, California, New Mexico and Utah. The fungus lives in soil and is projected into the air through natural processes, such as with wind storms, or through man-made means, as with construction or farming. 

This fungus is usually inhaled and stays in the lungs, where some, but not all, people show flu-like symptoms as well as chest pains, rashes, headaches, joint stiffness and swelling and pain in the legs. 

Recent studies suggest that coccidioidomycosis may be spreading to other parts of the body, such as the bones, which can then affect peoples’ mental states and cause sensitivity to light as well as weight loss.  
Apart from Valley Fever, dust storms are also carrying heavy metals, chemicals and other bacteria, which can have varying adverse effects on residents. These pollutants can lead to other illnesses, including ocular and cardiovascular diseases. 

Have you noticed any of these symptoms while living in this part of the country? How bad do the dust storms get? Tell us your story.

What you can do

AllerAir's AirMedic+ series
can be customized for your individual  needs
Though it is difficult to avoid exposure to these dust storms when on the road, there are ways to minimize your risks within the home. 

AllerAir’s varied air purifiers can help improve your indoor air quality by removing harmful particles, chemicals and bacteria from your home. 

The AirMedic+ series is specially designed for dealing with particulates and its deep-bed carbon filters adsorb chemicals and gases. There is also an option to add a UV filter which will help eradicate mold spores and bacteria.

Contact AllerAir today for more information on how you can protect your home from these dangerous dust storms.

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