HONOLULU (KHON2) — With two volcanoes erupting at the same time, health officials are warning those who have breathing problems to take extra precautions. They add that this is also the time of the year when more people are susceptible to respiratory problems.

Volcanic eruptions spew out sulfur dioxide and micro particles known as vog, which can irritate your eyes, nose and lungs. The state Department of Health has set up air monitoring systems which show the air quality online. A link with a map and a link to an advisory paged was provided by the DOH.

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So far, the air quality is good, for now.

“Conditions have the potential to change really rapidly, and people need to be ready to take steps to protect themselves because there may not be a lot of time to prepare or plan once conditions change,” said Dr. Diana Felton, DOH state toxicologist.

Those who have asthma, COPD, emphysema and other chronic lung diseases are more susceptible. And at a time when hospitals are full dealing with other respiratory diseases like RSV, the flu and COVID, experts are urging everyone to be more careful.

“It’s just the recipe for disaster for some folks; so just to take that extra precaution if you don’t have to travel, if you don’t have to attend big parties. Please try not to do so, just to be a little extra vigilant,” said Dr. Jordan Lee, of the American Lung Association, Hawaii Chapter.

Health officials add that since it’s been 38 years since Mauna Loa erupted, it is not clear what effects it will have on air quality. But, the main thing is for people with breathing issues to be prepared.

Make sure you have enough medications on hand. Have an evacuation plan ready. Stay indoors as much as possible, preferably where it is air-conditioned. If there are loose doors or windows, cover the gaps with damp towels. Keep monitoring the air quality. And when in doubt, don’t go out.

“We hope others who do have even minor respiratory issues err on the side of caution. Again, the wind can change at any moment,” said Elena Cabatu, Hilo Medical Center spokesperson.

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Officials say wearing N95 or KN95 masks will also be helpful to prevent breathing in bigger particles like ashes and thin strands of glass known as Pele’s hair. They’re formed when lava is cooled rapidly. But, those masks will not protect you from dangerous gas such as sulfur dioxide.