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DOH Does Not Recommend N-95 Masks for Children

June 1, 2018, 7:33 AM HST
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Kīlauea Summit explosion, May 24, 2018. PC: Pamela Mizuno.

The Hawai‘i Department of Health is advising that residents keep infants and children indoors during ash fall and high SO2 level events.

“We are not recommending N-95 masks for children or infants,” said Al Bronstein from the DOH’s Emergency Medical Services and Injury Prevention System Branch, during the May 31, 2018, emergency officials’ media briefing.

Ash covers much of the landscape and Highway 11 at the 45-mile marker on May 26, 2018, at 2:20 p.m. downwind of the summit of Kīlauea from the nearly constant ash explosions at the Halema‘uma‘u Crater. PC: Crystal Richard.

“We believe for children and infants, the best medicine is to keep them out of the exposure, so keep them inside,” he explained. “Even for adults, the masks aren’t meant to go out and stay outside in the ash fall. They are meant for short-term use, so I think we need to keep this all in perspective.”

Bronstein said the Hawai‘i State Poison Center can answer questions members of the community might have regarding volcanic emissions. The calls are free and confidential. The center can be reached at (800) 222-1222.

When asked if there has been an uptick in injury reports, Bronstein said no, there have only been minor irritations. “Nothing that is alarming,” he stated.


“It’s a dynamic process,” explained Bronstein.


He emphasized minimizing exposure for everyone—but especially infants, children, elderly and sensitive people.

He reminded residents that the N-95 masks are for short-term use for particulate in the air only and that the gas masks for SO2 are not recommended for the public.

SO2 & Ash Concerns Addressed at Ka‘ū Community Meeting


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