Protection against dust storms

Be prepared for the return of the Calima, dust storms to Spain Credit: Javygo, Unsplash

This week the UN mark International Day to Combat Dust and Sandstorms and we too occasionally feel the brunt of ‘calima’, or dust haze, dust blown in from the Sahara.

July 12 is the International Day to Combat Dust and Sandstorms, and while the Costa del Sol is not in immediate danger of severe sandstorms, it does occasionally feel the brunt of ‘calima’, or dust haze, dust blown in from the Sahara. Many readers will recall March 2022, when a massive orange dust storm darkened the skies over the Málaga region and, combined with rainwater, left many buildings stained with what appeared to be red clay.

But while that particular event may be a rare occurrence, dry calima blown in from the Mediterranean is quite common on the Costa del Sol, and on July 12 we would do well to remember the precautions we should take to protect our health, homes and cars.

Effects on the circulatory system

Health workers warn that breathing in the dust can have negative effects on the circulatory system. The haze contains pollutants, including particulate matter, which can also carry pollen or fungi from North Africa.

To protect yourself, doctors recommend wearing face masks when outdoors, staying well hydrated to avoid particles getting stuck in your throat, and keeping doors and windows closed to minimise the amount of haze that enters the home. They also urge people not to exercise outdoors.

Wash windscreens with water to avoid scratches

Mechanics advise washing windscreens with water to avoid scratches and to ensure clear visibility on days when the Sahara dust falls, as the dusty haze can also cause damage to vehicles, such as scratching windows when wiped. They also point out that air and cabin filters should be changed every year. If they become dusty quickly, they can damage the engine and cause higher fuel consumption.

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Written by

Adam Woodward

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