PETS, VOLCANO AND YOU


A volcano eruption can put many animals at risk.

Animals who inhale or ingest volcanic ash are at risk for fluoride poisoning. This could cause internal bleeding, long-term bone damage and teeth loss.

Cows, sheep, goats and horses should be rounded up and put in a closed barn, provided with hay and clean water until the ash dissipated.

Birds were also affected by the volcano. The ponds became heavy with mud and they were unable to fly because their wings were covered with ash.

Guidelines for pet owners concerning animal health after a volcano:

  • if you notice any symptoms or smell sulfur, rotten eggs or a strong acidic smell take reasonable action to protect your pets by limiting their time outdoors
  • any pets with respiratory problems should be well protected from the atmosphere
  • cover outdoor aviaries to protect birds
  • find suitable shelter for any pets that usually live outdoors.

“Pet owners should limit the amount of time that they and their animals spend outside if they detect the ash and consult a vet if they have any concerns about the health of their pets.”

Make sure that you bathe your pet often in Luke warm. Keep any wounds covered and dry. Change bandages everyday for any wounds.

 

The Vog Measurement and Prediction Project – VMAP.. Healthy Weather???


The Vog Measurement and Prediction Project (VMAP) provides real-time vog forecasts. With the help of our project collaborators vog forecasts are available to the public through this web site. Comments and inquiries can be directed to the appropriate contact. We welcome constructive comments from all VMAP users, and strive to provide the best possible service consistent with our mission and resources. Inquiries into actual measured values and concerns regarding hazardous conditions should be directed to the appropriate agency such as the Hawaii State Department of Health. The VMAP website is intended to be complementary to the data provided by other state and federal agencies.

Vog is primarily a mixture of sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas and sulfate (SO4) aerosol. SO2 (invisible) reacts with oxygen and moisture in the air to produce SO4 aerosol (visible). SO2 is expected to be the main problem in areas near the vent (Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Pahala, Na`alehu, Hawaiian Ocean View Estates) and SO4 aerosol is expected to be the main problem at locations far from the vent (Kona and farther north and west). For more information on vog visit the FAQ page here.

Vog and Your Health

The links and material on this page are provided to summarize findings about the effects of vog on health.

Health Effects

How vog affects human health is the topic of active research. Children and those with pre-existing lung conditions are the most vulnerable to its effects. Some studies show that children and those with pre-existing respiratory problems are more likely to visit a medical clinic or emergency room during vog episodes. Although vog exposure has not been shown to cause childhood asthma, it has been shown to aggravate asthma in those already diagnosed with the condition.

When exposed to vog, some people report eye, nose, throat, and/or skin irritation, coughing and/or phlegm, chest tightness and/or shortness of breath, headache, and increased susceptibility to respiratory ailments. Some people also report fatigue and/or dizziness. One researcher also found vog is associated with high blood pressure. Another researcher found a link to anxiety. More detail on the health effects on vog can be found in the References section, or by visiting the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network.

Disclaimer: The information contained in the VMAP website is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep the information accurate and up-to-date, we make no representations, warranties, or guarantees about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability with respect to the VMAP website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the VMAP website for any purpose. Although every effort is made to avoid interruptions to VMAP access, any reliance upon any information presented is strictly at your own risk. In no event will the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the UH-M Department of Atmospheric Sciences, the VMAP team, or any personnel or collaborator associated with VMAP be liable for any losses or damages (direct or indirect) without limitation whatsoever in connection with the use of the VMAP website. The general public is welcome to use the VMAP at this time and by its use implicitly agrees to the terms of this disclaimer.

CLICK HERE FOR VMAP

 

THE HEALTH HAZARDS OF VOLCANIC ASH (part 6 Precautions for Children)


THE HEALTH HAZARDS OF VOLCANIC ASH

A guide for the public

This   document   has   been   prepared   by   the International  Volcanic  Health  Hazard  Network (IVHHN), Cities and Volcanoes Commission, GNS Science and the United States Geological Survey (USGS)  to  promote  the  safety  of  those  who experience volcanic ashfall. This guide explains the potential health effects of volcanic ash and gives details on how to protect yourself and your family in the event of a volcanic ash fall.

Precautions for Children

Children face the same hazards from the suspension of ash as other age groups, but their exposure may be increased because
they are physically smaller and are less likely to adopt reasonable, prudent, preventive measures to avoid unnecessary
exposure to ash. While evidence suggests that ingestion of small amounts of ash is not hazardous, we recommend that you take
the following precautions.
  • Keep children indoors if possible.
  • Children should be advised against strenuous play or running when ash is in the air, since exertion leads to heavier breathing, drawing small particles more deeply into the lungs.
  • Communities in heavy ash fall areas may wish to organize day-care programs to free parents for clean-up tasks.
  • If children must be outdoors when ash is present in the air, they should wear a mask (preferably one approved by IVHHN). Many masks, however, are designed to fit adults rather than children.
  • Take particular care to prevent children playing in areas where ash is deep on the ground or piled up.
  • Long Pants, Long Sleeve Shirts, mask, goggles, Hats and gloves.

Reduce the exposure to ash:

The most effective way to reduce exposure, especially for people with particular susceptibilities (e.g., children and infants, older people and those with existing respiratory (lung) or cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) disease) is to shelter somewhere which is not ashy, ideally inside a building where you can stay indoors for some time, if necessary. If you are very concerned about your health, take advice from a health professional.

Take steps to keep ash out of your indoor environment:

  • Close doors and windows, where possible.
  • If possible, seal up large gaps and spaces to the outdoors. For example, you could use tape and plastic sheeting, or rolled-up towels.
  • Try to set up a single entry/exit point for the building. Leave ashy clothes/shoes outside
  • Do not use any appliances (e.g., air conditioners) which suck in air from the outside. If the indoor environment is ashy, try to gently clean away the ash (e.g., using damp cloths)
  • Don’t use vacuum cleaners as they can blow out fine ash, back into the indoor space.

If you are staying indoors for a long time:

  • Make sure that the indoor environment does not get too hot. If it gets too hot, consider evacuating.
  • Don’t use cooking and heating stoves, or other appliances, which produce smoke.
  • Do not smoke cigarettes or other products.
  • Do not use un-fluted gas heaters, or outdoor appliances such as gas patio heaters or barbecues, indoors, due to risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Once the ash has settled, it important to remove it through clean-up activities, using water to dampen it first. You must wear a face mask if you are cleaning up settled ash.

When should I use respiratory protection?

If you cannot remove yourself from the ash, you may wish to use some sort of respiratory protection (e.g., face mask), or may be advised to do so by governmental or humanitarian agencies. Masks may be worn when:

1) you are outdoors and there is ash in the air (either during ash fall or afterwards, when it may be remobilized by wind, vehicles and human activities);

2) ash is being mobilized indoors or outdoors by activities such as removal/cleaning-up.

Masks can be worn during waking hours. It is not recommended to wear a face mask while sleeping as it will probably not stay fitted to the face, and it is harder to breathe with a face mask on.

Who can wear respiratory protection?

People with existing respiratory or cardiovascular disease should talk to a health professional about whether facemasks are suitable. Care should be taken to ensure that it is not harder to breathe when using any form of respiratory protection.

Masks are not usually designed to fit children’s faces (although some manufacturers are now producing small masks aimed at children but not infants). Exposure for children and infants should be reduced by staying in a non-ashy (indoor) environment wherever possible. If you do give a mask to a child, show the child how to fit it well, and be very careful it does not make breathing difficult.

What types of respiratory protection are most effective?

The following information will help you decide on which type of respiratory protection to use, but other factors, such as the cost and availability of the protective products, may also need to be taken into account.

When you wear respiratory protection, the effectiveness depends particularly on two factors:

1) how effective the mask or material is at filtering particles (stopping the ash from passing through the material);

2) the fit of the mask or material to the face (preventing particles from entering around the edges).

  • The most effective respiratory protection for adults is to wear a well-fitting, industry-certified face mask such as an N95 mask (also called P2, FFP2 or DS2 in different parts of the world). The certification will be printed on the mask. Such masks are usually disposable.
    • These are highly-efficient at filtering ash and are also usually designed to fit adult faces well, but may be too big for children.
    • Due to their tight fit, they may feel uncomfortable.
    • Using highly-effective masks can make breathing harder; if you have existing respiratory or cardiovascular disease, talk to a health professional about whether such masks are suitable for you.
    • These masks come in many different shapes and sizes. Some fold out into a mask shape and some have a ready-made cup-shape. Some have a valve on the front to improve comfort by letting hot, humid air out. All of these masks will be highly-effective at filtering ash, if worn properly.
  • Some non-certified face masks state that they are designed to filter ‘PM2.5’ (small particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter), which is likely to be the most harmful fraction of the ash.
    • These are probably highly-efficient at filtering ash but are often not designed to fit well to the face and so may not be very effective.
  • A standard, pleated surgical mask will be good at filtering ash as long as it fits well to the face. If it does not, it will provide less protection than an industry-certified face mask.
  • Simple healthcare masks (rectangular, non-pleated) do not filter ash well and also do not have ways to make a good seal to the face.
  • Hard-cup (also called nuisance-dust), ‘fashion’ and scooter masks are less effective at filtering ash compared to industry-certified and surgical masks, and may not fit well to the face.
  • Cloth materials (e.g., bandanas, t-shirts, veils, handkerchiefs) worn over the nose and mouth are less effective at filtering ash than most masks, so will offer less protection and they also tend not to fit well.
    • Increasing the number of layers of cloth improves the ability to filter ash but will still be less effective at filtering ash than most face masks.
  • Wetting materials does not improve the ability of masks or cloth to filter volcanic ash.

How should I put on a face mask?

  • With clean hands, take the mask out of the packaging. Avoid contaminating the inside of the mask with ash.
  • Open up any flaps and prepare the straps/loops for tying around the head or ears.
  • Fit the mask over the nose and mouth.
  • Fit the straps to the head:
    • If the mask has elasticated, adjustable straps, put them over your head with the top strap above your ears, around the top of your head, and the lower strap below your ears, towards the bottom of your head. Tighten the straps until the mask makes a seal around your face and is comfortable.
    • If the mask has non-adjustable straps, tie them snuggly around the head.
    • If the mask has ear loops, you may need to use the loops to tighten the mask (you could tie a knot in the loops if the mask is baggy on your face).
  • With both hands, gently press the nose clip over the nose so that it fits well across the nose and onto the face below the eyes. Do not pinch the clip.
  • Press the edges of the mask onto your face (around the cheeks and chin).
  • Once you have fitted the mask, cover the mask with both hands, being careful not to change the fit. If you are using a mask without a valve, breathe out sharply. If you are using a mask with a valve, cover the valve with your hand before breathing out, or breathe in sharply, instead. You should not be able to feel any air escaping/entering around the edges of the mask. Readjust the fit until the seal is tight.
  • If you cannot get the mask to fit, try to find a different mask which fits your face better.

Make sure your choice of respiratory protection fits to your face!

  • A good face mask may have a flexible metal nose clip, adjustable straps and may also have foam around the edges to help with the seal to your face.
  • When your face mask fits properly, there should be a good seal around your face so that you cannot feel any air coming in around the edges.
  • Make sure that spectacle/goggle frames do not affect the seal between the face mask and your face.
  • If you have facial hair, the face mask will not be as effective, because it cannot make a good seal to your face.
  • You can improve the fit and effectiveness of a face mask by tying a layer of cloth over it, although you are likely to find this less comfortable and you should not tie the cloth so tight that it makes breathing harder.

How long will a face mask last for?

  • Disposable masks are designed for single use (so packaging will often state that they should be disposed of after 8 hours) but they can be worn until you notice that they are clogged and/or breathing becomes harder, or if you notice the mask starting to break.
  • However, you may choose to replace them sooner for hygiene reasons and should check frequently for any degradation or growth of mold.
  • Some industrially-certified face masks have a ‘use-by’ date printed on them. After this date, the manufacturer cannot guarantee the integrity of the mask materials.
  • If supplies are limited, disposable masks can be stored for re-use in a clean bag or box to ensure that dust from the outside does not contaminate them. They should not be hung in a dusty environment.
  • Some manufacturers now make non-disposable masks for community use. These can often be washed, for hygiene reasons, but washing will not remove particles from the filtering layer, so they must also be discarded when they become clogged and/or breathing becomes harder, or if you notice the mask starting to break.For further information on the health hazards of volcanic ash and preparedness for ash fall, please download the IVHHN pamphlets available at: http://www.ivhhn.org/pamphlets.htmlThe above material is reproduced from the NEW IVHHN guidelines on Protection from Breathing Ash. Please visit that page for the source research and references.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE HEALTH HAZARDS OF VOLCANIC ASH (part 5 What to do to protect yourself against ash)


THE HEALTH HAZARDS OF VOLCANIC ASH

A guide for the public

This   document   has   been   prepared   by   the International  Volcanic  Health  Hazard  Network (IVHHN), Cities and Volcanoes Commission, GNS Science and the United States Geological Survey (USGS)  to  promote  the  safety  of  those  who experience volcanic ashfall. This guide explains the potential health effects of volcanic ash and gives details on how to protect yourself and your family in the event of a volcanic ash fall.

What to do to Protect Yourself Against Ash

Limit Driving

Immediately after an ash fall, even a light one, driving conditions, visibility and air quality can be dramatically
affected, especially by the resuspension of ash by traffic.
Rainfall has a sudden but temporary effect in improving air quality until the ash dries out again. We recommend that, following an ash fall, you refrain from driving and stay indoors if possible. If you must drive, maintain a large distance from the vehicle in front of
you and drive slowly.

Reduce ash in your house

Keep all doors and windows closed whenever possible.

Eye protection

In fine-ash environments, wear goggles or corrective eyeglasses instead of contact lenses to protect eyes from irritation.

Protection

Those undertaking clean-up operations should always wear effective dust masks (see IVHHN Recommended
Masks document at http://www.ivhhn.org). If no approved mask is available, a fabric mask improvised from cloth
will filter out the larger ash particles which may contribute to throat and eye irritation. Dampening
the fabric with water will improve its effectiveness. People with chronic bronchitis, emphysema or asthma
are advised to stay inside and avoid unnecessary exposure to ash.

Drinking Water

After light ash fall it is usually safe to drink water contaminated with ash, but it is better to filter off the
ash particles before drinking. However, ash increases the chlorine requirement in disinfected surface-collected
water which, therefore, can be microbiologically unsafe to drink. Ash will usually make drinking water
unpalatable (sour, metallic or bitter-tasting) before it presents a health risk. The safest way to ensure your well-being is to stock up on water prior to the event. Collect enough drinking water for at least a week (up to one gallon , or 3-4 litres, per person per day). If you rely on collecting rainwater, cover the tank and disconnect any down pipes before ash fall occurs.

Home-grown food

Ash-covered vegetables grown in fields are safe to eat after washing with clean water

Clean Up

Lightly water down the ash deposits before they are removed by shoveling, being careful not to excessively
wet the deposits on roofs, causing excess loading and danger of collapse. Dry brushing can produce very high
exposure levels and should be avoided. Hosing uses large quantities of water and may cause water
shortages in heavily-populated areas.

PROTECT YOURSELF FROM VOLCANIC ASH…

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