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Music Therapy Advisory and Air Quality

May 9, 2018 02:34 PM

The Answer my Friend is Blowin’ in the Wind: Music Therapy Advisory and Air Quality

As music therapy professionals, it's important to be prepared for natural disasters specific to our region. Hawaii is unique in that there is an active volcano. AMTA and the Western Region reached out to check in with our professional colleagues around disasters and we've been in contact with the MT-BC closest to the volcano. Even though our colleagues in Hawaii are very familiar with the problems of volcanic eruptions, we thought a brief posting might be helpful since it’s always good to be informed.

One adverse effect of the volcano on the Big Island is VOG or toxic gas and particulates that are produced around eruptions. Sulphur dioxide emitted from the volcano can be toxic and dangerous, especially when trade winds do not blow the gas and debris off shore away from the island chain. Acidic conditions and acid rain can result affecting air quality and water sources. Poor air quality can also occur in other areas of our country around wildfires, dust storms, and urban air pollution. Here are a few suggested tips prepared for clinicians affected by VOG; however, many of these tips may also be helpful in other regions where we may experience poor air quality.

Intervention/Client Safety Recommendations
  1. Limit outdoor or commuter time when VOG/air quality levels are high.
  2. Keep windows and doors closed as much as possible. Use towels to close gaps if needed.
  3. Good quality N95 masks, fitted properly, may be helpful.
  4. Heed state and county alerts.
  5. Turn on dehumidifiers on A/C units to help reduce contaminants inside.
  6. Consider using a good quality air filter.
  7. For clients with respiratory issues, limit strenuous or active interventions and consider modifying more active music therapy interventions.
  8. Encourage increased water consumption to clear contaminants from mouth and throat.
  9. To neutralize acidic conditions, soak a hand towel or piece of cheesecloth in a thin water/baking soda solution. Drape the cloth near the face of a fan running on low-medium speed (be cautious to keep the cloth wet but away from the motor for safety).
  10. Pay attention to your body and responses from clients. If becoming fatigued, stop activity and get some rest. If struggling to breathe, move to an area with less VOG or seek medical attention.

VOG Information & Safety:

Local Air Quality:

Safety Alerts:




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