Posted by: Anna Webb | January 3, 2010

Children and Vog Related Allergies

Sulphur plume at Halema'uma'u Crater

Children can be particularly sensitive to vog and it’s important to keep an eye on them during periods of heavy vog. The most common symptoms are wheezing, asthma attacks, sore throat, headache and eye/nose irritation. Sometimes an allergy medication can help. Cough medicine (expectorant) can keep their cough loose. Make sure children get plenty of water and rest. However, it may be necessary to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe.

Current emissions from Halema'uma'u Crater

Bear in mind that in Lower Puna, there are no vog devices in place to monitor vog  levels, therefore, there will be no warnings issued, even in the event of dangerous levels. You must use your own judgement as to when you need to take your child out of the vog area. One suggestion is taking a trip to the grocery, hardware or variety store. This is a good way to get out of the vog and into an air conditioned environment for a period of time to provide some temporary relief.

The current surface ridge is supposed to adversely affect Big Island weather and keep vog on the east side through Wednesday. Unfortunately, it’s predicted to return again on Friday.

Here’s a 2008 article worth reading about Hawaii Vog and studies about vog triggered asthma attacks.

Comments are welcomed and any vog symptom relief tips worth sharing with others are appreciated.


  1. I’ve found that euculyptus tea helps with asthma too. Steep for 30 min, in no more than 6oz water, then drink hot. Helps for a few hours at a time.

  2. In April of 2008 my husband and I moved our two young children, then age 2 and 1 years old to the Big Island of Hawaii. Two months later we had to do the unthinkable (for us) and move back to the mainland. While on the island, our one year old son had extreme breathing complications from the increased amount of vog. During our short stay we did meet several families struggling with the same idea of moving. Does anyone know where I might find people chatting on how to make a difference in a positive way for Hawaii by getting information out on health concerns and how to help. I am very interested in helping and have finished writting a memoir addressing our experience of Hawaii in a positive way.

  3. Hi Amber,
    Thank you for your comment. If you don’t mind sharing, in what area did you live while here?

    There are two forums on Big Island.
    For the east side:
    For the west side:

    There is nothing else available for the public that I’m aware of. In addition, the current “vog websites” are inaccurate. I spent a lot of time on the phone with the EPA in trying to get a monitor for the Lower Puna area. In the end I was told there is no funding for that. You may wish to browse my blog for other vog articles I’ve written.
    Speaking of, the vog is very heavy down here in lower Puna this morning.
    Thank you for your comment!

  4. We lived near Waikoloa Beach Resort. I remember waking up in the mornings and hearing the birds singing, looking outside and seeing nothing but blue skies. I also remember waking up, hearing birds singing and seeing nothing much of anything except for a sky drifted over in a blanket of gray. Both memories remind me that the island touched my life in so many positive ways. Like watching my boys learn how to hold their breath under water from the greatest swim instructor who just happened to look a lot like Sarah Jessica Parker. But the greatest lesson we all learned was to lay back and enjoy the ride instead of rushing. In so many ways I wish that we still lived there. Maybe we will someday. But until Kilauea eases up it would have to be on a different island. Until then, I am going to try to figure out a way while living on the mainland to make a difference for people having difficulties with the vog in Hawaii. If you have any ideas please let me know. Mahalo Nui Loa.

  5. Thanks Amber. Yes, the Waikoloa area and Kona are still plagued with vog. Here on the SE side of the island, we are usually free of it because trade winds blow it to the west side. Unfortunately, this year we’ve had numerous voggy days due to alternate wind patterns.
    And, we’re so close over here to volcano (Waikoloa is about 90 miles away) it overpowers when westerly winds blow it here. Regardless, it’s bad there too. I haven’t been able to tolerate Kailua-Kona and have only been there once in the past year and a half, to drop off and pick up my daughter’s family at the airport. Kona was literally in “white-out” conditions. It was bad.
    I’m so sad that you and your family had to move away and your comment is touching. Yes, the island has much to teach Western society how to slow down and smell the flowers. It teaches us how to live and love fully.
    If I come across any ideas I will certainly share them with you.
    Much aloha to you and your family,

  6. Aloho Anna,
    Thank you for sharing the current conditions of the island with me. I would appreciate any ideas that you may have on ways to help or gather support. I have started a blog. It isn’t much yet but I hope to provide a place to communicate about vog and gather ideas of what people are feeling and their thoughts on how to help. I know how touchy of a subject vog has to be regarding the tourism of the state. But after watching my own children who were affected by elevated amounts of sulfur dioxide emissions, there has to be some way of making this better without a negative impact.


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