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Eye irritations possible during ashfall, DOH warns

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By Analou de Vera

The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday warned the public against possible eye irritations as volcanic ashes may cause adverse effects in the eyes.

The towering skyline of Metro Manila is barely seen as it is covered in a thick haze after being engulfed w/ volcanic ash as viewed from a deck in Antipolo city. The whole Metro was affected by the phreatic eruption of the Taal volcano. (PHOTO/ ALVIN KASIBAN)

The towering skyline of Metro Manila is barely seen as it is covered in a thick haze after being engulfed with volcanic ash as viewed from a deck in Antipolo city. The whole Metro was affected by the phreatic eruption of the Taal volcano. (ALVIN KASIBAN / MANILA BULLETIN)

“The smoke, the small particles with sulfur can irritate the mucosal membrane of the body, like the eyes. It can get your eyes irritated quite badly if you are exposed to this,” Health Undersecretary Rolando Enrique Domingo told reporters.

Domingo advised those individuals affected by the eruption of Taal Volcano in Batangas to wear goggles or eye glasses.

“Ang inaadvise din ng mga opthalmologist–do not look up. Iyon kasing eye lashes natin meron syang proteksyon sa mata. So pag nagfa-fall yung abo, naproprotektahan, pero pag tumingin ka sa taas pwedeng dumiretso sa mata mo [Ophthalmologists also advise not to look up. Eyelashes are a form of protection for the eyes. In case the ashes fall, it can protect the eyes but if you look up, the ashes can directly go to your eyes],” said Domingo.
Domingo also advised the public to refrain from using contact lenses.

“At this time, we advise you not to wear contact lenses. Kasi pwedeng dumikit sa contact lenses yung abo [the ashes may stick with the contact lenses] and then it will irritate your eyes,” said the health official.

In case an individual suffers from eye irritation, Domingo said that it is important to immediately wash the eyes with clean water.

“To remove the offending agent, wash your eyes with cold [and] clean water repeatedly,” he said.

He also noted that antibiotic eye drops are also being distributed by the DOH in Calabarzon.

Aside from the eyes, the DOH previously noted that individuals may also suffer from nose and throat irritation, difficulty in breathing, cough, bronchitis-like illness, and minor skin problems if exposed to volcanic ashfall.

 

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