The cloud of Saharan dust is beginning to move into Louisiana. New Orleans and the southern part of the state is being impacted early this weekend, but this dust cloud will be moving across the state over the next two days. The Weather Channel reports this will bring hazy conditions to much of the Gulf Coast Region.

Health experts say this does bring added caution and more COVID-19 concerns.  The dust has tiny mineral rock particles from Africa. While it can produce vivid sunsets, the head of environmental sciences at LSU Health New Orleans, Dr. James Diaz, says it poses a risk to those with underlying health conditions.

 

Dr. Diaz says “We know that breathing in these small dust particles can make all those conditions worse and if those conditions get worse, you are at greater risk of getting COVID-19.”  He adds that those with asthma, COPD, chronic bronchitis, and heart conditions should be most cautious.

Diaz says you should definitely wear face masks if you have to be outdoors this weekend. But the best advice is to stay indoors if you can.

When going outside he says: “That’s the time to put on an N-95 mask and not to put on one of these cloth masks.  You are going to need a mask with a filter if you have to go outside and you’ve got a pre-existing lung condition.”