Beware of yellow dust

from 51st Medical Group
Aerospace Medicine squadron

3/1/2009 - OSAN AIR BASE, REPUBLIC OF KOREA -- March through May on the Korean Peninsula brings a break between the winter-bearing Siberian air mass and the summer swelter that fl ows from Southern Asia. But, just to keep things interesting, spring in Korea also means yellow sand storms from the Gobi
Desert in Northern China, Inner Mongolia and Manchuria.
These sand storms kick up huge clouds of dust that can travel all the way to Korea and Japan. When that happens, the Korean Meteorological Association's weather officials may issue "Asian Dust" or "Yellow Sand" health advisories, using a yellow-sand warning system. 

The level of warning depends on how much sand, measured by the number of dust particles, are in the air. For more information, visit USFK also monitors the Yellow sand and provides regular updates and recommendations throughout the day. You can access their information at:
Osan's Bioenvironmental Engineering, Public Health and Weather officials monitor the KMA and USFK sites and provide advisory updates throughout the day on the Commander's Access Channel as conditions warrant. 

The health risks associated with yellow sand are minimal for most active duty members and their dependents. There is a small subset of personnel who are at higher risk from the yellow sand, namely individuals with pre-existing respiratory problems such as asthma, emphysema or other forms of chronic respiratory disease. 

These individuals may experience wheezing or shortness of breath with high dust evels. Individuals with seasonal allergies may also notice worsening of their allergy symptoms such as increased nasal congestion, eye irritation, coughing, phlegm and shortness of breath.
If you or a family member has one of these conditions please check the Osan AB Commander's Access Chanel throughout the day, or the USFK website for an update as conditions frequently change.

The following measures can also help prevent development of symptoms associated with yellow sand: 

· Consider limiting outdoor activities when high dust levels are present
· Wear glasses instead of contacts
· Close windows
· Wash exposed skin after returning indoors
· Wear long sleeves
· Cover mouth and nose
· Do not drink or eat food outside
· Drink water frequently
· People with lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion

For more information regarding yellow sand, call Public Health at 784-4494/2515 or Bioenvironmental Engineering at 784-2623.