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Experts Update Ash Health Advice After Volcano Closes UK Airports

April 16, 2010

Some health advice from the BBC related to the volcanic ash cloud:

UK health experts have advised people to return indoors if they start to get respiratory symptoms due to volcanic ash falling to ground level.

The Health Protection Agency in conjunction with Scottish advisors stress the small amounts of ash are unlikely to cause any serious harm.

But if people notice symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes or cough they may want to go inside, they advised.

Those with conditions such as asthma may notice the effects more, they said.

The updated recommendations come after reports of a small concentration of particles reaching the ground.

People may notice notice a dusty haze in the air, the HPA said, but any health effects are likely to be short-term.

They also said that low levels of sulphur dioxide are likely to be found in the plume but this is also not expected to be a threat to human health.

If people smell sulphur, rotten eggs, or a strong acidic smell, when outside they may wish to limit their activities outdoors or return indoors.

Anyone with respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema and asthma should ensure they have any inhalers or other medications with them, the recommendations said.

Update: British Lung Foundation Spokesman Professor Malcolm Green backed these recommendations, saying:

“We would advise people living with a lung condition in affected areas to carry their medication as a precaution as they may experience a short-term worsening of symptoms.”

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