Benefits of using mask for the African dust storm blowing back into the area Sunday

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African dust storm to blow back into area this weekend. (KTRK)

Doctors tell us they've seen an increase recently in patients wondering if the Saharan dust is what's causing their worsening allergy symptoms.

"To some degree, if the dust is heavy enough, everyone would feel it. But patients with asthma, severe asthma or uncontrolled asthma, they're going to be particularly susceptible to symptoms," Allergy and Immunology Specialist Dr. David Engler said.

Who will be impacted the most? Doctors say the very young and senior citizens are most vulnerable, along with anyone with moderate to severe asthma.

Symptoms include wheezing, tightness in the chest, coughing, and shortness of breath.

Most importantly, asthma patients should minimize their time outdoors Sunday.

Have your inhaler handy, and use it as your doctor recommends. But if you have to be outside, a mask will help most patients.

Dr. Engler recommends an N-95 mask, which is available at hardware stores. It's helpful to keep the dust away from your mouth and nose, and is not very expensive.

Just holding a handkerchief or t-shirt over your mouth or nose to breathe through will also keep out the dust.

Once you get back inside, remember that dust is still possibly on you. Be sure to take an extra shower and change clothes.
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weatherasthmaair qualityhealthHouston