Medical facilities brace for influx of patients as threat of vog looms
Medical officials are asking the public to be prepared — especially if you have respiratory issues.
HAWAII ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Island medical professionals are standing by for a potential influx of patients coming in with vog-related respiratory issues.
“Those who are have respiratory illnesses and distress, this is the time to prepare and work with your primary care provider to make sure your medication supplies are filled and refilled,” said Elena Cabatu, Director of Public Affairs for Hilo Medical Center.
Hospital officials said there has not been an increase in visits yet.
A Vog Measurement and Prediction Program from the University of Hawaii shows there are traces of hazardous sulfur dioxide emissions surrounding the Mauna Loa eruption.
Medical experts say it is nothing to be alarmed about, but it is something to monitor.
“Very much a familiar smell in terms of eruption,” Cabatu said. “It’s an early warning signal for us to take precaution.”
Meanwhile, another impact to atmospheric conditions is drawing concern.
The lava crossed Mauna Loa Observatory Road and cut off access to a key global climate monitoring station.
“This is that that case we were afraid of,” said Dr. Ralph Keeling, professor of geochemistry at the University of California San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Keeling’s father developed instruments in the 1950s that monitor the world’s CO2 emissions. Those instruments at the Mauna Loa Observatory established the famous Keeling Curve which provides evidence that human activities are altering the planet’s climate.
“The Mauna Loa record was a wake-up call for people that humans were impacting the whole world in a way that would affect climate, and so it was kind of the alarm bell that went off,” Keeling said.
Keeling said this isn’t the end of their record, but it is a gap – they hope won’t last too long.
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