2012 Arab News
2012-03-01 Health Warning
Published: Mar 1, 2012 01:52 Updated: Mar 1, 2012 01:52

The Civil Defense authorities advised the public yesterday to exercise extra care when using heating devices in closed rooms during the extreme cold weather predicted for the next few days.

According to a statement from the Presidency of Meteorology, cold air and active winds are expected to prevail until Sunday. Subsequently, temperatures will drop gradually, starting from the northern parts of the country. Temperatures are expected to drop first in the northern parts to below zero. Areas in the eastern, central and western parts of the Kingdom will be affected Saturday. The velocity of surface wind is expected to reach as high as 65 km/h that will possibly lead to dust and reduction of visibility in areas including the eastern and central regions, while other parts such as Najran, Asir, Baha and Makkah areas may be affected.

In a separate forecast made yesterday for 24 hours until 9 a.m. on Thursday, the PME said initially areas such as Tabuk, Al-Jouf and Arar in the northern region will be affected by the winds and visibility will be reduced to less than a kilometer. The traffic police advised motorists to be more careful when driving in inclement weather conditions. The security authorities will also field special teams to monitor the movement of traffic during this period. The Saudi Red Crescent will also be on alert to attend to emergency calls in case of accidents on roads.

The Ministry of Health advised citizens and residents, especially patients with asthma or chest infections, not to expose themselves to the dusty environment due to the current changing weather conditions in the Kingdom. The ministry sent a circular to all directors of the 20 health regions requesting them to take special care of patients who come for treatment for asthma, rhinitis, chest and eye infections.
The statement said health officials as well as members of the public should monitor weather forecasts made by the PME and act accordingly. A senior official from the Ministry of Health told Arab News that the preventive medicine department of the ministry will launch an awareness campaign to control infections caused by the changing weather conditions. Such infections could be prevented provided those susceptible to these conditions stay indoors during inclement weather, the official said.

He added the ministrys health education department will carry out a campaign to save a large number of people who tend to become victims of the changing weather conditions throughout the Kingdom. The official said that aside from taking outdoor precautions, people must pay attention to personal hygiene such as washing their hands and face when they walk into their houses. The house also should be airtight so dust cannot penetrate into the apartments and people should ensure blankets and mattresses are free of dust, he noted.

The ministry had also advised all its health institutions to treat round the clock all walk-in patients who suffer from respiratory diseases. The ministry has more than 2,000 public health care centers supported by major hospitals and government clinics in all parts of the Kingdom.

On Saturday, a strong sandstorm hit the Saudi capital, making the city totally dark after 4 p.m. as it swept through neighboring areas. Traffic on the main arteries of the capital such as Qassim, King Fahd, Khurais and Makkah roads came to a standstill because of the storm which started around noon.

2012 Arab News
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