The Department of Health (DOH) has advised the public to minimize exposure to the volcanic ash blown to Metro Manila cities after the Taal Volcano eruption on Sunday (January 12).
This is because the ashfall contains harmful substances such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, fluorine and hydrochloric acid, among others.
Among the harmful effects of volcanic ash are: nose and throat irritation, coughing, bronchitis-like illness, discomfort while breathing, eye irritation and skin irritation.
Particularly vulnerable to these harmful substances are people suffering from asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This is why they are advised to remain indoors.
Interviewed over radio station DZMM, pulmonologist Giancarlo Arandia said the ash particles are so small that can easily enter the openings of the respiratory system.
Those who can’t avid gong outdoors, Arandia said they should use N95 masks or damp towel in covering their nose.
Ophthalmologist Nilo Flor Cruz also told DZMM: “Irritating ‘yung ash na ‘yon dahil medyo acidic ‘yon eh. Kung dati sa panahon ng Pinatubo, pwedeng mangalawang ‘yung mga bubong, paano pa ‘yung mata natin.”
He recommended the use eye of lubricant drops to remove the tiny ashes and also regular washing of the face.
The Philippine office of the World Health Organization gave these recommendations to the public: stay indoors unless absolutely necessary; avoid low-lying areas and areas downwind from the volcano; for children, the elderly, and people with respiratory problems, wear masks that block small particles of ash; for the general population, wear a simple mask; wear protective eye gear; make sure food and water you consume are safe.