Vog Creates Health Headaches

Oct 11, 2006 08:05 AM

By Kristine Uyeno

(KHNL) - Anyone who has looked outside their window or stepped outside should've noticed the vog that's covering much of Honolulu.

Although the rain is clearing up some of the skies, vog remains a health concern for many people.

"Excessive coughing, more so than normal," said Joe Ascierto, tourist.

The Arizona resident, who has emphysema, didn't know what to think.

"I thought it was just the weather change," said Ascierto.

The vog comes from the Kilauea volcano on the Big Island. This creates the haze we've been seeing.

"And it puts a lot of our little particles in the air, a lot of particles are small, what we call particulate matter, small enough to lodge itself deeper down into the lungs," said Claudia Clement with the American Lung Association.

That's why health experts advise people who have a chronic lung disease, like asthma, bronchitis or emphysema, to be on a vog alert. You shouldn't smoke and avoid secondhand smoke as well.

Experts say you should stay indoors and use an air conditioner if possible. They also advise you to drink plenty of fluids to loosen the mucous and help you cough.

Officials are asking everyone, including healthy people, to follow their suggestions.

"For the normal, healthy resident, it might just be watery eyes or something like that just because it's an irritant," said Clement.

And while some are paying attention to this health advisory.

"I might rethink my morning walks," said Patti Bielawski, visitor.

But others aren't.

"But it's nothing bad and I'm not going to stay in the house for it," said Richard Rea, Honolulu resident.