FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Southerly wind flow brought vog to Oahu -- thicker yesterday morning, but midday rain cleared the atmosphere considerably. It was still evident in late-afternoon sky effects over the ocean, looking out from Magic Island.
Surviving, but sweltering
A doctor tells asthma sufferers to use their full arsenal of drugs
AS VOG CONTINUES to blanket Hawaii's skies, residents suffering from respiratory ailments are being told to seek air-conditioned spaces and to take all of their allergy or asthma medication.
That's what Dr. John T. McConnell of Kaneohe, who suffers from asthma, is advising his congested, sniffling, red-eyed patients to do.
And he is following his own advice, refusing to be a victim of the hot, muggy conditions -- made worse by light Kona winds bringing gases erupting from Kilauea volcano on the Big Island for the past several days.
"I choose not to be a victim. I simply refuse," he said, citing the motto of the American Lung Association.
McConnell, a former board member of the association, still volunteers his time at asthma clinics.
The lung association issued its own vog alert yesterday, advising the public to stay indoors, to contact their physicians if symptoms get more severe, and to wear a paper or gauze dust mask.
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Diamond Head was shrouded in the haze of vog yesterday as Joni Olesberg, left, and Yoshie Teh of the Waikiki Aquarium education department collected specimens off Duke Kahanamoku Beach by the Hilton Lagoon.
McConnell said several of his patients had called seeking treatment, and he had told them to "take all their prescription medication, the full dosage, as many times a day as ordered" as a prevention measure.
He acknowledged that it's OK for some patients to "slack off" their medications when their symptoms are under control.
Other than staying in air-conditioned spaces and taking medication, "there's not a whole lot you can do" but "wait it out," he said.
The American Lung Association said moistening the mask with a solution of baking soda and water might improve the filtration of the irritating particles in vog. The ASL also noted that if it is more difficult to breathe with the mask on, don't use it.
"The most important thing is to remain calm. It should be gone by the weekend," McConnell said, citing a statewide weather report.
Tradewinds from the north-northeast will return later this week and blow the vog away, according to the National Weather Service.