The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) urges Hawai‘i County residents to take precautions to protect their health whenever there are elevated levels of air pollutants.
Communities near the Kilauea volcano are particularly affected by increased levels of both sulfur dioxide (SO2) and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) caused by the recent volcanic activity.
Communities farther away from the volcano, such as Kona, will more likely be affected only by PM2.5.
The DOH has monitoring stations that check SO2 and PM2.5 levels in Kona, Hilo, Mountain View, and Pahala.
SO2 is also being monitored at one station in Puna.
Elevated levels of SO2 or PM2.5 can cause breathing problems in individuals especially those with pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis.
If you have respiratory conditions and live or work in an area impacted by SO2 or vog, consider taking precautionary measures.
The following are general recommendations from the American Lung Association:
Stay indoors and use an air conditioner, if available.
Do not smoke and avoid second-hand smoke.
Limit physical exertion.
Drink plenty of fluids to loosen mucus. Warm beverages seem to work best.
If you take medications, always have an adequate supply and keep them readily available in a convenient place.
Contact your physician as soon as any respiratory problem develops.
While these recommendations are intended primarily for persons having respiratory or chronic lung disease, they are also useful for healthy persons during vog episodes.
For additional information on respiratory health, contact your personal physician or the American Lung Association of Hawaii.
Please click on the following links to learn more about related topics:
FAQs and Answers on Vog and Volcanic Emissions from Kilauea (PDF)
County of Hawaii, Kilauea Eruption Update website
National Park Service - Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
National Park Service, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - Closed Area and Advisories
USGS Volcano Hazards Program
EPA AIRNow Hawaii web page
Hawaii Short Term SO2 Alert Index
Vog Measurement and Prediction Project VMAP
The Hawaii Volcano Helpline is a recorded message for the public without access to a computer to obtain current air quality conditions based on sulfur dioxide readings on the Island of Hawaii. The Helpline is updated daily except weekends and state holidays.
The telephone number for the Helpline is (808) 586-3997. To call toll-free from the neighbor islands, call the numbers below, then enter “63997”.
Molokai & Lanai: 800-468-4644