Lung Disorders Expert Forum
Respiratory Problems From Volcanic Ash
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Welcome to the Lung Disorders Forum. Questions in this forum are being answered by doctors from the Lung Institute at Columbus Regional Hospital. This forum is for questions and support regarding Lung Disorders such as: Lung Cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Asthma, Emphysema, Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH), Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), Bronchiectasis, Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1) and the various treatment options available for each.

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Respiratory Problems From Volcanic Ash

I have relatives who are farmers in Iceland and are refusing to leave their farm out of concern about their livestock. They have shared that when they are outside they feel grit on their teeth and have eye irritation. The WHO has issued conflicting reports on the Ash cloud, first saying it posed health risks, then yesterday saying there was not a health risk. Should I be concerned about my relatives? Are there any preventive measures they should be taking? What should they discuss with their physician?
Thank you for your guidance.
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1277598_tn?1271097794
Particulate ash exposure can indeed cause both short and long term lung injury.  Short term airway irritation that is asthma like with cough and breathlessness is know to occur.  Long term problems with bronchiectasis (injury and inflammation in the medium and smaller airways) and inflammatory lung lesions can also occur.  It is worth at least wearing a mask and keeping indoor air filtered.
2 Comments
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543012_tn?1281588450
"It is worth at least wearing a mask and keeping indoor air filtered."

I agree with this statement. Just to give you an idea of what ash-smoke can do,
I have my own lung problems today stemming from just ONE night out on the beach
near a campfire and the smoke from the campfire became strong enough to when I was
too close to it and breathed in the smoke, I instantly, the next day had bronchitis for the
first time. From then on to this day, many years later, I now have developed lung scarring
that has made me unable to breathe at all unless I have medications and lung steroids,
and I must always get the flu shot each because ONE cold will send me to the hospital emergency room, no medications of my own helping me to breathe.

If I would've known a mask would have protected me from what I have NOW?
Absolutely, I would've worn a mask.....or not gone to the campfire at all. :)

Just one spore making it through to the lung will give lifetime lung problems.
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