A massive cloud of Saharan dust from Africa has been making its way to the United States, and it is expected to affect air quality over the weekend in southern and eastern states, and in Kansas and Missouri.

Kansas health officials said dust is picked up by trade winds and carried thousands of miles across the Atlantic and the particulate matter from the dust can cause problems, even for healthy individuals.   People with respiratory issues, pre-existing heart or lung diseases, children and senior citizens may have worse symptoms.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has some steps for people to protect their health:

  • Healthy people should limit or avoid strenuous outdoor exercise.
  • People with respiratory or heart related illness should remain indoors.
  • Help keep indoor air clean by closing doors and windows and running the air conditioners with air filters.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Contact your doctor if you have symptoms such as chest pain, chest tightness, shortness of breath or severe fatigue.