While lahar flows may not directly impact Eastside residents, volcanic ash can travel much farther and remain in the air for weeks. Ash is usually just a nuisance in small doses, but it can have adverse impacts on individuals with asthma and other respiratory conditions, as well as infants and the elderly. Take the following precautions in the event of volcanic ash fall.
Those most at risk should limit outdoor activities. Keep children and pets indoors, and keep doors and windows shut. Place damp towels at door thresholds and other draft sources.
Wear a mask
When outside, wear a single-use, disposable face mask. Remember that these masks may not fit small children properly.
If you have asthma or another respiratory condition — or have a child with asthma — pay attention to symptoms such as wheezing and coughing, or more severe symptoms such as chest pain or tightness, shortness of breath, and severe fatigue. Contact a doctor if you have trouble breathing.
Protect your eyes
If you wear contact lenses, remove them, and wear glasses or protective goggles.
If you find ash in your drinking water, use an alternate source such as bottled water.
Ash can reduce visibility and make driving difficult and dangerous. Additionally, the ash may be harmful to your vehicle and may even disable it. Frequently change oil and air filters in your car.
Source: Washington State Department of Health