All About Saharan Dust Allergy

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saharan dust sat 286x300 All About Saharan Dust Allergy

Photo from The University of New South Wales School of Physics

As the tradewinds turn warmer and we look toward the summer, Caribbean residents living in the US Virgin Island prepare themselves for general allergy season and the added complications brought on the Saharan Dust.

What is Saharan Dust?

Every year, large amounts of mineral dust are transported by trade winds from the Sahara Desert to the Caribbean island, thus its name.

The dust combined with the hot dry air of the Sahara Desert often forms an atmospheric layer called the Saharan Air Layer (SAL) which has significant effects on tropical weather. We love the dust for its ability to lessen our hurricane seasons, but the dust brings its own dangerous mixture of minerals, pollen, and fungi, including Aspergillus sydowii.

Saharan dust has been associated with sinus problems such as sneezing, nasal congestion, respiratory problems, eye itching and allergy attacks. It can also aggravate emphysema and lung disorders,particularly pediatric asthma.

In a study conducted at the University of West Indies, a SAL invasion was associated with increase pediatric visits to hospital emergency rooms on the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean. Here, on St. Croix, we also seem to register an increase in patients with respiratory discomfort of varying levels when the dust floats our way.

Proper Treatment

It is important to seek treatment if you experience difficulty breathing or discomfort that interferes with your daily life. Treatment of childhood respiratory issues by a medical professional is extremely important to address issues now that could lead to aggrevation and greater complications when the child is older.

If you are concerned about allergy symptoms or respiratory issues, feel free to contact us and we will conduct an examination and outline your treatment options with you.

Stay safe and be healthy!


Dr. Guy Garman Ear Nose and Throat Center, based in St. Croix, US Virgin Island, offers treatment and surgery for thyroid and parathyroid diseases, mouth and throat cancers, head and neck injuries, as well as facial plastic and reconstructive surgery.

With more than 20 years of experience, let Dr. Guy Garman and his caring staff provide you with the excellent medical services you need.

Conveniently located in the Beeston Hill Medical Center on St. Croix, our state-of-the-art facility will provide you with comfort and professional care you deserve.