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DOH warns: Exposure to volcanic ash may cause health problems

/ 07:09 PM January 12, 2020
Taal Volcano

Loud booming sounds were heard by nearby residents when Taal Volcano erupted Sunday. These images were taken about 3 p.m. or 2 hours after the eruption from Tagaytay City, Cavite. Photo from Tagaytay City Cavite Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Sunday warned the public of possible health risks of exposure to volcanic ash after Taal Volcano spouted a giant ash column.

In an advisory, the DOH explained that “volcanic ash consists of powder-size to sand-size particles that have been blown into the air by an erupting volcano.”

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“Anyone who already suffers from health problems such as bronchitis, emphysema, or asthma should avoid exposure to volcanic ash,” the DOH said.

The DOH listed the following as some of the health effects of volcanic ash:

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  • Nose and throat irritation
  • Coughing
  • Bronchitis-like illness
  • Discomfort while breathing
  • Eye irritation
  • Minor skin problems

To cope with volcanic ash, the health department asked the public to take the following precautionary measures:

  • Minimize exposure to ash
  • Stay indoors as much as possible
  • Keep doors and windows closed
  • Keep home from infiltration by using damp curtains, blankets or clothing
  • Use dust masks
  • Wear goggles or eyeglasses to protect eyes from irritation
  • Keep pets in closed shelter
  • Clear your roof of ash
  • Observe traffic notifications and road safety measure

Taal spouts giant ash column after a phreatic explosion occurred in the volcano’s crater around 1 p.m.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has upgraded the Alert Status on Taal to Level 3 around 4 p.m., which means increasing the tendency towards an eruption.

READ: Alert Level 3 up for Taal volcano

Phivolcs has already recommended that Taal Volcano Island and high-risk barangays in the towns of Agoncillo and Laurel in Batangas be evacuated, due to possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami.

/atm

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Responding to appeals for help, the Inquirer is extending its relief to the families affected by the recent eruption of Taal volcano.
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TAGS: ashfall, Batangas, DoH, Phivolcs, phreatic eruption, Taal eruption, Taal Volcano
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