At approximately 11:30 PM on November 27 an eruption began in the summit caldera of Mauna Loa volcano on the Big Island. Winds may carry volcanic gas and possibly fine ash downwind. Vog is a mixture of sulfur dioxide gas and particles. Sensitivity to vog varies. Here are the five top things to do if you were bothered by vog.
1. understand the hazard. get familiar with monitoring websites and the forecast of Vog plume location depending on your location. Links are in the comments. Currently Hawaii air quality levels are good. Still highly sensitive individuals, such as premature infants, patients with asthma, respiratory problems, heart problems pregnant women, and young infants may be affected at these levels.
2. This is the time to get out your asthma action plan. keep your medication‘s handy make sure you have a refill of all your asthma medication‘s. If you don’t have any medication‘s but feel that you’ve been having symptoms please contact your doctor for a prescription.
3. Stay indoors if there is vog and use an air cleaner or HEPA filter while indoors.
4. limit strenuous activities.
5. If driving through dense volcanic plume near Hawaii volcanoes national park close up your vehicle or leave the area if appropriate. Temporarily close your windows and vent and turn your fan and air conditioner off. First of all please note that reports in the media of ash being abrasive to the lungs are not correct.Ash irritates the respiratory system but it will not scratch the lining of your lungs. If you’re concerned wear an N 95 mask to protect yourself from the ash, but keep in mind that these masks are not effective against volcanic gases. We do know from multiple studies from the past with one specific study of the acute impact of volcanic ash on asthma symptoms and treatment that 42% approximately of asthma patients may suffer exacerbation during a volcanic eruption. Compared to severe asthma patients, mild and moderate asthma patients were more at risk. It seems that severe asthma patients were not affected since they knew their asthma is severe and they took measures preventatively.