Calima

Several days a year we experience the phenomenon called “calima” here in the Canary islands.

This is essentially a suspension of dust which remains in the air because it is so fine. It initially blows over from the Sahara desert, raises temperatures considerably, and usually dissipates within a day or two. During a calima, there is a localised temperature inversion, meaning the higher you go up, the hotter it gets.

When calima is at its worst visibility drops dramatically and the landscape is shrouded by an orange dust cloud. It can have a bad effect on people with breathing issues and sometimes it gets so bad here that we get adviced to stay indoors. Luckily that is very rare.

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My daughter has asthma and for her the calima is the worst days of the year. It’s not many of those days, but it increases the chances of her getting an infection.

We have the experience now, we know the procedure, we know the medication and we know Emine. We are prepared and usually it passes without any fuss.

The calima we have now has been a bit difficult. It’s been here pretty much all week, but building up in the distance. When it’s so long lasting it gets harder for my little one.

She needs to wear a dust mask outside, take medicine and we keep the curtains closed in the open windows. We want to do everything to avoid an infection. She had a rough night last night with more medicine than usual, so we went to the hospital in the early morning hours.

We came in time! No fever, no infection, lungs are well. All we needed was a little stronger inhalators for the next few days. The forecast says the calima should pass after the weekend, so fingers crossed!

Some of you might think it’s bad to live in a country with calima whilst having asthma. During thise days, yes. But the rest of the year the warm fresh island air is perfect! She used to be a lot worse in Norway and needed medication on a daily basis.

My advice? Just listen to your body and take the precautions and you will be fine even during the worst calimas!

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