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Kilauea eruption affects air quality

Vog conditions and sulfur dioxide air levels are increasing and fluctuating in various areas of the state due to the eruption at the Halema’uma’u crater at the summit of Kilauea on Hawaii island, the state Health Department reported Thursday.

The eruption, which began Wednesday, is within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, but changing wind conditions have created intermittent air quality problems in areas west of the summit.

Hawaii residents and visitors are advised to be prepared and aware of the surrounding conditions, as well as how they feel or may react to vog in the air, especially children, the elderly and those who have preexisting respiratory conditions.

In the event of vog conditions, recommended precautionary measures include reducing outdoor activities that cause heavy breathing, staying indoors and closing windows and doors, setting air conditioners to recirculate, drinking lots of fluids to prevent dehydration and contacting a doctor as soon as possible if health issues develop.

The Health Department also said that face coverings and masks used to prevent the spread of COVID-19 do not provide protection from sulfur dioxide or vog.

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