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New Mexico Drought Brings Dust Storms

May 1, 2013

By The Albuquerque Journal

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Here`s a twist on New Mexico`s drought problem. A windy cold front blowing in over the next few days will kick up an unusual amount of dust, according to the New Mexico Environment Department.

Due to the current drought and very dry soil conditions, there is more potential for blowing dust than usual for the entire state even in lower wind conditions.

The Environment Department realizes that although dust storms are common in New Mexico and are inherent to arid climates, inhaling dust can cause a number of serious health problems and can make some health problems worse.

It can irritate the lungs and trigger allergic reactions, as well as asthma attacks. For people who already suffer from these conditions, dust can cause serious breathing problems. Dust can also cause coughing, wheezing and runny noses. Breathing large amounts of dust for prolonged periods can result in chronic breathing and lung problems.

-- Breathing too much dust can potentially harm anyone. However, the following groups run the highest risk of being adversely affected by a dust storm:Infants, children, and teens;

--The elderly;

--People with respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchitis, COPD and emphysema;

--People with heart or lung disease; and

--Pregnant women.

Bottom line, according to NMED: if you need to avoid the risk, it`s best to stay indoors as much as possible

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(c)2013 The Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, N.M.

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Story image: In this March 19, 2013 photo, a trickle of water left in the Rio Grande is pushed downstream by the wind near the chile growing community of Hatch, N.M. AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan

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