Are you asthmatic? Beware the Etna ash

FILE PHOTO: Volcano guides stand in front of Italy's Mount Etna, Europe's tallest and most active volcano, as it spews lava during an eruption on the southern island of Sicily, Italy February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello/File Photo

The Health Authorities warned the general public on the effects of ash on health in view of Etna eruptions on Friday. In a statement the Superintendent of Public Health explained that the effects may divided into several categories which include respiratory effects, eye symptoms and skin irritations depending on the exposure.

The fine ash particles when breathed into the lungs can cause chest discomfort with increased coughing and irritation when a person is highly exposed to them. People suffering from asthma or other lung problems such as bronchitis and emphysema, and sever heart problems are most at risk. Inhaling of ash particles could lead to breathing problems.

Direct exposure can cause eye irritation as pieces of grit can cause painful scratches in the front of the eye as well as conjunctivitis and skin irritation for some people.

The Authority explained that the effects on health depend on various factors which include wind direction and speed, saying that the effects could not be predicted and the results may vary.

Finally the warning reminded people to wash fruits and vegetables properly.