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What To Do If You Can't Get A Hold Of N95 Masks For The Ashfall

Stay safe!
IMAGE Hannah Villafuerte

Following the phreatic (steam-driven) eruption of Taal Volcano that began on January 12, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) has put Taal Volcano on Alert Level 4, suggesting that an explosive eruption is possible within hours or days.

Volcanic ash from the eruption has reached beyond Batangas where the volcano is located. According to PHIVOLCS, ash fall has been experienced in places including Sta. Rosa, Lagunas; Dasmariñas, Bacoor, Silang, Cavite; Mecauayan, Bulacan; Antipolo, Rizal; Muntinlupa, Marikina, Pasig, Quezon City, and Makati, among others.

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According to Department of Health, volcanic ash contains carbon dioxide and fluorine which may cause health problems like eye irritation, extreme cough, and skin irritation. To protect yourselves from the ash fall, professionals highly encourage the use of N95 masks, a protective face mask that can filter out dangerous particles and prevent you from inhaling them. Local stores and pharmacies, however, have started to run out of such masks. In the event that you cannot get a hold of such masks, here are some alternatives to take note of:

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Use a moist cloth or towel.

PHIVOLCS suggested in a statement that, although not as efficient as N95 masks, those affected by the ash fall may use a wet cloth or towel to cover the mouth and nose for protection against volcanic ash. The moisture in the cloth will help filter out the hazardous particles and keep them from entering your system.

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Layer at least two facial tissues underneath a regular surgical face mask.

If you only have the regular face masks, add extra layers of protection by stapling at least two facial tissues underneath. 

In cases of emergency, you may reach out to authorities through these hotlines:

NDRRMC - (02) 8911-5061 to 65 local 100

Red Cross - (02) 8790-2300

Philippine National Police - 117

MMDA - (02) 8882-4151 to 77

PHIVOLCS - (02) 8426-1468 to 79

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PRIMO.

First. Pixie dust and paper cuts – these are the first things Wendy knew about Peter Pan. Aurora first met Prince Philip when she was sixteen. Learning how to ride a bike was also a first while I was growing up, but you are probably the first of too many. The first collection of dust and stars; maybe Luna will try to ask, who was your first? I might answer and tell her that it was you.

The first of too many stars in the sky. You are the first of too many fallen leaves during fall – and you will be the most anticipated snowflake as winter comes. A dark path that you can’t see without any light, hence, you were once the moon and there are the stars that shine so bright at night. Are we too early? Or we just really want to be ahead of time? Even in a glimpse, I would like to see the two of us connect as if we can reach the sky. There are other parts of the heavens you have never saw and other oceans you haven’t laid your feet onto – but the constellations will always wait for you. Close your eyes, love, close your eyes. Start counting backward: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Count backward until you see the twinkling lights that will guide you to the right path. To the right satellite; to the right person. A first.

There are many firsts – first love, first heartbreak, first sport you played, the first thing you do in the morning, the first thing you remember about the person in front of you. There are a lot. It’s actually up to us how we will consider something as a first. So, Primo, you are already a first of too many.

Bea Alamis A day ago
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