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HomeNewsArchivesAlert: DOH Issues Respiratory Alert After Montserrat Volcano Collapse

Alert: DOH Issues Respiratory Alert After Montserrat Volcano Collapse

July 30, 2008 – The residue from the partially collapsed dome over the crater of Montserrat's volcano can pose a health risk to persons with allergy and respiratory problems, and people are urged to seek medical care if necessary, according to a press release from the V.I. Department of Health.
Residents should stay indoors and keep windows closed as much as possible, said Health Commissioner Vivian I. Ebbesen-Fludd.
The dome over the crater of the volcano partially collapsed on Tuesday, July 29, spewing ash an estimated 40,000 feet into the sky. The residue will mostly affect patients with allergies and respiratory problems and individuals can experience symptoms including sneezing, nasal congestion, respiratory problems, and itchy eyes. It can also aggravate patients with emphysema, asthma and other lung disorders, according to Dr. Audra Thomas, DOH medical director, who is an allergy specialist.
Residents should have necessary medication available at all times and should seek medical care if symptoms become a concern.
"People with respiratory illnesses who must go outside should wear a dust mask," Dr. Thomas said. She also advises residents who find it necessary to wash the residue off vehicles, roofs and other areas, and to wear long sleeve shirts because the ash can cause skin irritations.

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