ash volcanic scattered in the air after the eruption of volcanoes store harmful contents for human health, one of which causes a fatal lung disease. Gases issued during volcanic eruptions include carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), sulfur dioxide (S02), and nitrogen (NO2). All these substances are known to be harmful to humans. Meanwhile, volcanic ash contains quartz, quartzite or tridymite minerals. This substance is free silica crystals or silicon dioxide (SiO2) which can cause silicosis or fatal lung disease. According to Dr. Erlang Samoedro Sp.P FISR, a pulmonologist and as General Secretary of the Indonesian Lung Doctor Association, said silicosis is common with miners. “Mineworkers work in areas with high concentrations of silica-containing air for long periods of time, which is very smooth and resembles broken glass,” he told on Friday (5/11/2018).

Volcanic ash after the eruption of Merapi Friday, (5/11/2018) also contains SiO2 content. In general, Erlang explains the symptoms to be aware of when in areas with high levels of silicosis ash, such as areas affected by volcanic ash. “First, there is irritation to the nose and make the nose runny, then sore throat accompanied by a dry cough and shortness of breath or wheezing with excessive phlegm,” he explained. For prevention, Erlang suggests closing jendala, door and minimizing the use of heating or air conditioning. The goal is to reduce the ash into the house. Then, use an N-95 type mask and glasses when outdoors or while cleaning the ashes. However, if there is no N-95 type mask, ordinary masks are allowed. Splashing water before cleaning the ashes is also very important so as not to spread ash into the air when cleaned. Also, use body armor to keep the ash from falling directly on the skin. As much as possible avoid driving the vehicle and avoid drinking water that has been contaminated with ash. “Notice the warnings, and obey instructions from local authorities, such as from local health authorities, officials will inform the public when it is safe to go outside, to drive, drinking water users.” If there are health problems, seek immediate medical help. In addition, for people who already have asthma or bronchitis, and chronic obsturic lung disease, please be careful because the post-eruption air condition may cause difficulty breathing.


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