On January 12, 2020, the Taal Volcano began to spew ash and smoke with its status raising up to Alert Level 4. Exposure to the volcanic ash may lead to various possible health problems. Here are some information that mommies and daddies can go through to be more alert during the ashfall.
Volcanic ash is made out of fine rocks, minerals, and glass particles from a volcano that is spewed out during eruption. The ash may be harmful due to the poisonous gases that accompany it such as sulfate, carbon dioxide, hydrochloric acid, and hydrofluoric acid.
If you speculate ash to be around the area where your children are staying, avoid any extraneous activities or outdoor play that may lead to heavier breathing. The fine dust can cause more secretions on the lining of airways which cause people to cough and breathe heavily.
Complaints of throat irritation, wheezing, runny nose, coughing, and lethargy. These could lead to respiratory issues such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.
Parents and kids are advised to stay indoors during the ashfall. However, if spending time outdoors cannot be avoided, kids are left vulnerable to eye problems.
Eyes may become itchy or bloodshot, and corneal abrasion may incur which can result to conjunctivitis.
When in contact with ashfall, volcanic ash may cause skin irritation especially if the ash is acidic.
Redness, itchiness, dryness of skin, rashes, and allergic reactions. These symptoms may imply skin problems such as irritation, and burns.
- Always wear effective dust masks. If no mask available, a damp cloth will do.
- Make sure the family wears goggles or corrective eyeglasses to protect eyes from irritation. Avoid using contact lenses.
- Ready an emergency kit and a family emergency plan.
- Keep children indoors at all times if possible.
- Do not open air conditioning units, as outside air will be moved into the room, and may damage air conditioning systems.
- Avoid any extraneous activities or play that may lead to heavier breathing.
- Prevent children from playing around areas where ash may be piling up.
- Filter your family’s water to prevent ash particles from contaminating your water
Here are hotlines you can call in case of emergencies:
- National Emergency Hotline – 911
- PHIVOLCS – (02) 8426-1468 to 79
- Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) – (02) 8426-0246
- Philippine National Police – 117
- Philippine Red Cross – 143 or (02) 8790-2300
- National Disaster Risk Reduction And Management Council – (02) 8911-5061 to 65 local 100
- Gretchen Williams, “Volcanic Ash: More Than Just a Science Project”, Geology and Human Health
- Ira Nopuente, What Happens To Our Skin When Exposed To Ashfall, Cosmopolitan