By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

We certainly have had our share of wind lately. Not to mention the unusually cold weather. This could affect your health!

The type and size of a dust particle influences how harmful dust is to human health. The possible amount of dust present in the air and how long you have been exposed to it are also important factors.

The type of dust varies with location and possibly even with time of day. Cities tend to be rich in combustion particles from vehicle emissions which is considered more harmful relative to windblown dust from the earth’s surface.


Dust particles small enough to be inhaled may lead to:

irritation of the eyes



hay fever

asthma attacks

For people with respiratory conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive airways disease (COAD) or emphysema even small increases in dust concentration can make their symptoms worse.

1) During the winter, people spend more time indoors with the windows sealed, so they are more likely to breathe the same air as someone who has the flu and thus contract the virus.

2) Days are shorter during the winter, and lack of sunlight leads to low levels of vitamin D and melatonin, both of which require sunlight for their generation. This compromises our immune systems, which in turn decreases ability to fight the virus.

3) The influenza virus may survive better in colder, drier climates, and therefore be able to infect more people.

Consider staying indoors if possible. Wear a mask and protective eyewear and keep warm. Consult with your physician if symptoms worsen or persist.

Source: Western Australia Dept. of Health