By Jessica Pag-iwayan
Taal volcano in Talisay, Batangas is erupting. Since Sunday morning, Jan. 12, it has been showering volcanic ashes, not just in nearby areas but as far as Clark in Pampanga. Photos circulating revealed locals in Batangas evacuating while turning the area into a desert-like state.
The province is now under the state of calamity. Health professionals are warning everyone about the health threats caused by volcanic ashes as strong winds carry the ashes to the Central Luzon area.
According to the International Volcanic Health Hazard Network (IVHHN), ash may cause different health hazards, such as nasal irritation and discharge, painful, itchy eyes, and skin irritation. People in the affected areas are encouraged to protect themselves by wearing masks and goggles, and drinking plenty of water.
Children are also not exempted from these threats. They are the most vulnerable ones. “Children face the same hazards from the suspension of ash as other age groups, but their exposure may be increased because they are physically smaller and are less likely to adopt reasonable, prudent, preventive measures to avoid unnecessary exposure to ash,” IVHHN says. The organization gave some precautionary tips to keep children safe in times like this.
Keep children indoors as much as possible
This also means that you should close all the windows and doors to prevent volcanic compounds and particles from entering the house.
Avoid strenuous play or running during ashfall
“Exertion leads to heavier breathing, drawing small particles more deeply into the lungs,” the organization says.
Wear a mask
If it is unavoidable to go outdoors, children should wear masks to prevent them from breathing air that is contaminated with volcanic ashes. Keep in mind that we are not talking about an ordinary mask, but an IVHNN-approved one which is also known as the N95 mask.
These tips are not just applicable for children but also for everyone. Stay indoors and keep safe, everyone!