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Ashfall Could Trigger Asthma Attacks: How To Protect Your Child
PHOTO BY @Mikumi/iStock
  • Taal Volcano in Batangas erupted at around 2 pm on January 12, 2020, causing earthquakes around its vicinity and spewing smoke and ash 14 kilometers high that reached as far as Quezon City, which is around 117 kilometers from Tagaytay.

    One of the biggest concerns as ashfall covered many parts of Metro Manila yesterday was the health implications of inhaling volcanic ash. 

    In a 2018 article on SmartParenting.com.ph, the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (IVHHN) said that the ash can have "acid coatings" which may cause lung and eye irritation. The Department of Health also warned of possible throat irritation, coughing, breathing discomfort, and minor skin problems as a result of inhalation.

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    Corresponding with SmartParenting.com.ph, pediatrician Dr. Jaime Isip-Cumpas advises the public to stay indoors as much as possible to protect themselves from the adverse effects of the ash fall, and to wear masks if it is absolutely necessary to go out.

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    "If going outside cannot be avoided, adults should use an N95 mask. If this is not available, a nuisance dust mask or a damp cloth to cover nose and mouth may be used cautiously. Avoid direct exposure to ash particulates as these may cause respiratory, ocular and skin problems," she said.

    For children who have asthma or allergic rhinitis, Dr. Isip-Cumpas recommends, "It is prudent to use their maintenance medications already. Make sure that they have their rescue medications always available...an air purifier should also be helpful." (Here's how to properly clean your home after an ash fall.)

    The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) warned the public in a briefing today that light ash fall is expected to stay for 72 hours in the air.

    The American Lung Association advises that medical attention should be sought in case an asthma patient experiences any of the following:

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    • wheezing
    • shortness of breath
    • difficulty taking a full breath
    • chest heaviness
    • lightheadedness
    • dizziness
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