HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Haze from Kilauea volcano covered the state for yet another day Thursday in a pattern that has been repeating about once a week for at least the past month.
"It's been more intense than ever lately, and there's been a breeze with it too," said Kailua resident Gordon Olsen. "So the breeze is still blowing but the vog is getting thicker."
"It feels like it's been really bad this year. Really bad," said North Shore resident Kristin Austin.
The vog has been just something you can see. It's also something people can feel.
"People will feel watery eyes, runny nose, scratchy throat, and then they start to feel run down a little bit," said Dr. Robert Sussman. "And then if they have a little bit of asthma, something like that, that can flare."
Sussman is CEO of The Medical Corner. He reports an increase in patients at his four locations on Oahu. He also said because the vog has been happening so frequently, some people with respiratory conditions don't have time to fully recover before the next round arrives.
"We're getting more calls on the phone or using our internet, coming through our Web site, so they can say, hey, can I get a refill of my inhaler? Can I get my eye crops because I know that it's vog or I think that it's vog," said Sussman.
And since it's the flu season, Sussman said some patients are unsure what's causing their illness. "People are sort of sick, and they're like, okay, do I have the flu? Is it the vog? Is it one or the other?"
Sussman said tests often reveal Madame Pele is the culprit, sending sulfur dioxide released by Kilauea to the smaller islands until they can be pushed away by the next round of trade winds.
"When they have asthma, or just trouble breathing, or some people have allergies from the sulfur, it just really affects them," said Austin. "I know a couple of people who have said 'I don't want to live here any more like this.'"