The UAE was blanketed in fog on Monday, and this trend is predicted to continue on Tuesday as well. The thick fog resulted in delays of around 120 flights in the UAE on Monday. But what about the health effects of fog?
Fog is a low-lying cloud formed by accumulation of water molecules from local water bodies, essentially 'water in the air'.
Does fog affect your health adversely? Will it trigger existing respiratory conditions or allergies?
We asked an expert, Dr. Sandeep Pargi, a practicing specialist in respiratory medicine at Aster, about this.
Can fog affect your health?
"No, fog by itself is not known to have adverse health effects", Dr. Pargi said.
However, smog or fog that mixes with smoke and other pollutants in the air is what causes or triggers health problems.
How about fog in the UAE?
Dr. Pargi maintained that fog in the UAE is not as polluted as in many other countries and cities.
However, as fog usually occurs at the same time as most people drive to work in the country, the chances of vehicular pollutants or irritants mixing with the fog is high. This mixture can be harmful, more specifically to a smaller high-risk population.
Who is a high-risk person?
Anyone younger than 14 is considered at high-risk during foggy or smog conditions, therefore all children and young adults. Other high-risk individuals include patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma sufferers, smokers, people with cardiac diseases, and allergy-prone individuals.
What can they do to stay healthy?
According to Dr. Pargi, people at high-risk should, as far as possible, not go out during foggy conditions. However, if that's not possible, wear filtered masks as opposed to regular ones. These are available in pharmacies.
"If you find yourself falling sick or feeling under the weather during this season; it may not be just the fog. It could be a combination of the allergens in the fog, cooler temperatures, viruses in the environment and other factors," Dr. Pargi said.