Many people fantasize about moving to or vacationing in Hawaii. However, those with pre-existing respiratory conditions and visiting the Island of Hawaii (also known as the Big Island) may experience some health issues.
According to the State of Hawaii website, ʺvog is a term that refers to volcanic smog. Vog becomes thicker or lighter depending upon the amount of emissions from Kilauea volcano, the direction and amount of wind, and other weather conditions. People with pre-existing respiratory conditions are more prone to adverse effects of vog.ʺ
Possible health issues related to vog may include:
• Breathing difficulties
• Increased susceptibility to respiratory ailments
• Watery eyes
• Sore throat
Vog conditions mainly exist in the following areas of Hawaii:
• Volcano Village to Hilo
• Kailua-Kona to Ocean View
As a frequent traveler to the Big Island, I can offer you some suggestions of things you can do to protect yourself from vog. These tips are compiled from the Kona and State of Hawaii websites:
• Monitor vog conditions daily. Call the Department of Health’s toll-free VOG help line at 866-767-5044 for daily updates on vog levels.
• Avoid heavy physical activity.
• Stay indoors.
• Close windows at night.
• Stay hydrated. Drink bottled water or hot tea.
• Keep any respiratory and heart medications you use handy. Keep your medication refilled and use your daily (controller) medication as prescribed.
• Have your emergency or evacuation medications available. If you don't have any medications, but feel you might need them, call your physician.
• Drink lots of fluids to loosen mucus and clear lungs. Hot tea may be especially good.
• Don't overexert yourself when vog levels are high. Even better, take it easy.
• Don't smoke and avoid people smoking during vog episodes.
• Purchase indoor plants (especially spider plants) may help clean the air.
• You also can try hanging up sheets that have been soaked in a mixture of one teaspoon of baking soda to one liter of water (which can help trap acid aerosols and gases.)