Effects of ash on health — Information related to Mt. Shinmoedake's recent volcanic activity

Effects of ash on health may be divided into several categories: respiratory symptoms, eye symptoms and skin irritation. Refer to the following information to prevent health issues.

In rare circumstances when there is a lot of ash, people may experience the following symptoms:

1) Respiratory symptoms:

   * Nasal irritation

   * Throat irritation and sore throat

   * Coughing

People suffering from asthma, bronchitis, emphysema​, or severe heart problems are most at risk.

2) Eye symptoms:

   * Eye irritation 

   * Eyes becoming painful, itchy or bloodshot

3) Skin irritation:

While not common, volcanic ash can cause skin irritation for some people.

Symptoms include:

   * Irritation and reddening of the skin

   * Skin becoming painful and swollen

When ash is falling, you should:

  • Brush the ash off your hair and clothes before you go inside
  • Wash your hands and rinse your mouth when you come home
  • When outside, wear a mask and use an umbrella
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes if ash gets inside, instead rinse your eyes with clear water
  • Contact lens wearers should leave out their lenses to prevent corneal abrasion from occurring
In case of health issues due to eye troubles or inhaled ash etc, please consult a doctor.

In the event of heavy ash fall:

  • If possible, stay inside
  • If you must go outside, wear long sleeves and put on a mask and hat and use an umbrella
  • When cleaning, wear a mask and goggles. Lightly watering down the ash will keep exposure levels at a minimum

Precautions for children:

  • If possible, keep children inside
  • If children must be outdoors when ash is present in the air, they should wear masks
  • Do not let children play in places where ash is deep on the ground or piled up
  • Children should be advised against strenuous play or running when ash is in the air, since exertion leads to heavier breathing, drawing small particles more deeply into the lungs.


Kobayashi City
Regional Revitalization Division
Address: 300 Hosono, Kobayashi City, Miyazaki, Japan 886-8501
Phone: 0984-23-1148   /   Fax: 0984-23-6650   /   Email: k_sousei@city.kobayashi.lg.jp