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Experts warn of breathing problems from the Costa del Sol dust cloud

The dust haze this morning (Wednesday) on the beaches of Malaga.
The dust haze this morning (Wednesday) on the beaches of Malaga. / SALVADOR SALAS
  • People with respiratory problems should avoid exposing themselves as much as possible to the meteorological phenomenon which will remain at least until Friday

People with respiratory problems on the Costa del Sol should avoid exposing themselves as much as possible to the dust cloud that has rolled onto the south coast of Spain.

This Wednesday (3 March) the haze, which has been present since the Andalucía Day holiday weekend, will reach its maximum concentration of suspended dust.

At noon, the level is expected to reach about 200 microgrammes per cubic metre, much higher than usual, according to the director of the Aemet Meteorological Centre, José María Sánchez-Laulhé.

The weather phenomenon has been serious and prolonged, although the meteorologist said that the province has experienced worse situations.

"Considering how close the Sahara is, it's not lasting many days here; it tends to reach the Canary Islands, eastern Andalucia, Murcia and especially Italy."

The scenario will remain at least until Friday, due to the south-southeast wind, which carries the material in suspension from Algeria, adds José Luis Escudero, author of the SUR blog Storms and Lightning.

"If it rains it will do so in the form of mud, but that is not likely in Malaga."

José Daniel Alcázar, at the Hospital Quirónsalud Málaga, explains that the dust cloud can produce symptoms similar to allergies, with an itchy nose and eyes, sneezing and, in people with chronic respiratory problems, it can lead to a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease crisis.

"Airborne dust is very irritating, especially in people with chronically inflamed airways," said the doctor who explained that they have not dealt with that many cases this year. "The Covid measures that are being observed, especially mask-wearing, and some people being afraid to leave home, have meant that there are hardly any cases in the emergency department."