‘Do not panic’, health minister advises public

Members of the public wearing protective masks today.

Minister of Health Julius Timothy is asking the public not to panic as a result of ash currently affecting the island following the collapse of a volcanic dome at the Soufriere Hills Volcano in Montserrat yesterday.

“We do not want any panic. This is not a panic situation. If you don’t have a mask, you are not going to die. The people of Montserrat have been living with this for a very long time. Just manage yourself properly. If you don’t have a mask you won’t die,” he asserted.

The Casualty Department at the Princess Margaret Hospital has reportedly treated several persons as a result of the circulating volcanic ash.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Johnson has joined calls from other officials for members of the public to take measures to protect themselves.

At a press conference at the Princess Margaret Hospital today, Dr. Johnson reiterated that persons suffering from respiratory diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, and other chronic lung conditions are most at risk for developing symptoms from volcanic asphalts.

According to Dr. David Johnson, symptoms of irritation from ash include short breath; tightness of chest; chest pains; itching, drying and burning sensation of the eyes, nose and nostrils; wheezing; dry cough; runny nose; and swelling or tearing of the eye and runny nose.

The medical official advised the general public to take a number of measures to protect themselves, including the wearing of dust masks to cover their noses, or a damp handkerchief or cloth.

“If no mask is available, damp handkerchiefs, cloth of clothing will filter out the larger ash particles which may contribute to throat or eye irritating,” he said

Dr. Johnson said persons with chronic bronchitis and asthma are advised to avoid going out.

“In fine ash environments, wear goggles. Persons with dry eyes should use artificial tears. Use protective gears such as eye glasses, sun glasses instead of contacts to protect eyes from irritation. Keep all doors closed when there is heavy accumulation of ash. Remember that vehicular accidents are more likely to occur because of reduced visibility. Therefore, keep a proper distance between vehicles when driving,” the medical official advised.

According to Dr. Johnson, persons should avoid drinking uncovered water or food.

“Food handlers are advised not to prepare food in open areas and to keep food covered at all times. People whose source of water is from the roof, should disconnect the source and ensure that the roof and guttering is cleaned before reconnection. Avoid using brooms and dry dusting,” he said.

The Chief Medical Officer has also advised parents to keep children indoors when ash is visible.

“Children are more vulnerable because they are shorter and closer to the ground, therefore keep children indoors when ash is visible and they should be advised against playing or running outdoors,” he explained.

He said if children must be outside, they should wear dust masks and return home as soon as they are dismissed from school.

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  1. jigga
    February 15, 2010

    girl in yellow hotter

  2. en ba la
    February 15, 2010

    Why do people behave in such a ridiculous manner. The volcano is erupting on the island of Montserrat people where they have the real gas and ash remaining in the air. The wind transports the ash in our direction.

    Some people on here man I would not want to be caught in a difficult or emergency situation with them. lol These people will not even know what to do no matter how much you try to prepare them. it shows how irrational people become – questioning why LIAT cancelled flight – COMMONSENSE

    Stop beating up on the Minister.

    Disaster Preparedness – these are the people who should be taking stock and stocking up on masks and educating people on how to prepare for these types of things. Do they still exist -lol –

  3. Thoughtful
    February 15, 2010

    @Jupe, exactly……….people should take all necessary precautions to protect themselves from the ash fall but should not panic since panic is “a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces HYSTERICAL or IRRATIONAL behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.”

    You want people to be running around Dominica behaving irrationally and hysterically?

    Irrational: Marked by a lack of accord with reason or sound judgment

    Hysteria: craze: state of violent mental agitation

    I don’t think we want people behaving like this, do we. I think not.

    Protect yourselves Dominicans by all means but please don’t start behaving irrationally and hysterically. In other words, DON’T PANIC!!!!

  4. Jupe
    February 15, 2010


    People should avoid unnecessary exposure to ash and wear an effective face mask when outside to reduce inhalation of ash particles. Patients with chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma should take special precaution to avoid exposure to ash particles and be aware that the use of any respirator other than single-use (disposable) respirator may cause additional cardio-pulmonary stress.

    Medical services can expect an increase number of patients with respiratory and eye symptoms during and after ash fall. People will generally be very concerned about the effects of ash, and questions usually arise about the content of the ash, particularly regarding the minerals quartz, cristobalite, or tridymite. These are free crystalline silica known to cause silicosis, a disabling and potential fatal lung disease typically found in miners and quarry workers exposed to high concentrations of siliceous dust over long periods of time.


    February 15, 2010

    for all those commenting about PANIC why LIAT canclled their fliehts ot DOMINICA?????????becuase its of grave concern……………….come on people we are not in the 70s when we did not know better. but i guess these day who have the money get the vote and or we bend the truth so that we can get something from them. I am proud i want nothing …

  6. Irie
    February 14, 2010

    I doh sending nobody and inhale ash, but if you have lotah, or any skin fungus a little ash can do you good….i serious you know, doh go an bathe all you self in ash and say is irie that send all you, but small quantites of ash have medicinal benefits for fungus infected skin, so all those lotah sufferers that refuse to go by jolly’s and buy sulphur cream, and like to sweat and rub up on people for carnival, now is all you chance to try and treat all you condition…..because lotah contagious.

  7. mystic man
    February 14, 2010

    soon it might be worse,when dey say donot panic dats when u run ok people. biliv it

  8. en ba la
    February 14, 2010

    Dominicans need to get a grip on themselves. In as much as no one want to say it I wil – PANIC PEOPLE – NOw run for the hills to escape the ash? is this what we want to hear?

    Trying to have people remain calm in these times is the job of the officials and they are doing just this. Minister is advising to remain calm. Chief Medical Officer advising on what measures to take so what more can we ask for.

    People are already scared and worried so advising them not to panic is the best the man could do – STOP making everything political. No matter what – politics still gets in the way and we are never satisfied. Simply go get yourself in the field so we will look to you for advice during these times. if you insist of criticizing.

  9. childofGod
    February 14, 2010

    Domincans, look up for our redemtion draweth nigh.May God have mercy on Dominica.

  10. en ba la
    February 14, 2010

    No on wants to say it I will -Panic people – o by the way

  11. Thoughtful
    February 14, 2010

    @patriot, you hit the nail right on the head. It appears lots of people don’t know the meaning of the word ‘panic,’

    This story is a well balanced and well written story, so I don’t understand why people seem to misunderstand it and make it appear that the Minister and the Chief Medical Officer were contradicting each other. As a matter of fact both statements compliment each other since they are coming from different branches of the public health portfolio. The minister can only comment on the issue in a broad sense (he is no medical expert) while the experts comment on the specifics. It just makes sense.

    Hats off to the DNO staff and I know they cannot please everyone (including me, LOL). If I were the editor my headline would have been, “Health officials advise public, ‘do not panic; take precautions’.”

    Maybe people would have seen the story differently, I don’t know. It appears some people come here just to play “devil’s advocate” and look kind of silly in the process.

  12. lol haha
    February 14, 2010

    I guess its the gal in blue that make the valcano crash
    ca she so hat hat hat hat

  13. February 14, 2010

    how to b a minister

    my ppl this is wat we should do due to the ash fall;

    1. mask..to use,, where to obtain them and how to use them.
    2. keep windows close for dust and ashes.
    3. cover drinking water in barrels..and tanks. obtain spring bottle drinking water. keep clothing dust particle free
    4. keep children indoors as much as possible.
    drive with your vehicle windows shut close or nearly close ..restricting dust into the vehicles.

    5. any other act that will restrict dust entry into your breathing space…food,.etc.

    your hon. minister for health.

  14. Patriot
    February 14, 2010

    Some of you apparently do not get the meaning of the word panic.

    PANIC[pan-ic]…a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces HYSTERICAL or IRRATIONAL behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.

    Or maybe some of you just get a nut coming on here and play antagonist.

  15. p
    February 14, 2010

    mr. julis u to think beter than that we will die that is to sandy we have to vote uwp becuze that is stue pe ni

  16. February 13, 2010

    Some of you people are turning this network into a laughing stock.

    SHAME ON YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. d
    February 13, 2010

    The minister of health obviously don’t know anything about health, why shouldn’t anyone panic this ash is health hazard. He should read what the Chief medical Officer said, so immature.

    February 13, 2010


  19. isdat
    February 13, 2010

    So best the man had asked ppl to panic? What would u ppl have said then? Geez……

  20. Jessica Riviere
    February 13, 2010

    hey wat daDeuce nah…i was well on my way to belle mache” in my belle jogging suit an sin an den d principal tellin ppl it cancelled and i hv asthma but i wasn’t feeling nothing bcuz at leaast everyone including me had a handkerchief covering their face…stupes…i was well checking i goin and eat junk and talk while getting in some exercise and den dem man go an cancel it…well N E ways panic or not is stilll ash…and yes ma girl in d blue top reppin for d dominican beauties..bellerzzzzzzzzzz

  21. waiting
    February 13, 2010

    This was a very irresponsible statement by the health minister.It is typical of these politicians to sound absurd whenever they are talking off the cuff.Their deliveries are more than usually poor.I am not panicking but i am wearing my mask,since i have totally ignored the pronouncement from the hon.minister.

  22. Shame-reminder
    February 13, 2010

    Volcanic Ash over the island of Dominica is a very serious matter . Continuous Inhaling volcanic ash can cause serious and prolonged health problems. The Health Minister should let the people know of how equipped they are in case of emergency, and be prepared to provide masks to people of the island. The Minister of Health should be advising people of where to pick up masks and what measures to take if the problem continues .What measures are in place for situations when it occurs?

  23. dominican
    February 13, 2010

    what kind of health minister is this asking ppl not to panic……is he not listening to the health hazards associated with inhaling this stuff…..and he says Monsterrat has been living with this like its ok….what a fool!

  24. ohno
    February 13, 2010


  25. Nature isle girl
    February 13, 2010

    Why would the minister tell the general public don’t worry … they won’t die. thisis not a matter to take lightly. PPl need to safeguard themselves as much as possible especially wih the catastrophe in haiti and now another volcanic event in montserrat… take hid Dominicans.

  26. February 13, 2010

    But GWADA which is closer to Montserrat never got on like this,they got ash but they went about their daily business because they knew it was for only a few hours duration.By the time we get masks and give to the children all will be over.Because of the wind direction we got the brunt of it where is the ash now.Antiguans were told not to panic and they were thankful for the advice.The people who were affected on Montserrat with skin infections etc were in prolong contact on a daily basis.Oh and by the way it is Pollen season with so many trees in blossom don’t those suffering from respiratory problems know they have to guard against?We are so naive and want to Politicise everything.

  27. Thoughtful
    February 13, 2010




  28. Smurfy
    February 12, 2010

    Dominicans, I just want to say to you that you should “PANIC.” I guess it’s going to be very helpful for you guys.

  29. Dog Race
    February 12, 2010

    The girl in blue is hot!! but ya people where your mask this dust in not healthy at all and do drink rum to flush the dust out from your system, trust me it works. That’s the best health tip I can give for now. By the way it was prescribed my a medical doctor.

  30. February 12, 2010

    It seems as if the Health Minister is not “ocouran” with health matters
    for him to come out with his statements, We had to get a better sense of the
    situation from the medical Doc.

  31. Shame
    February 12, 2010

    YOu bunch of ignorant people. How can you expect the man to say you guys should panic. What will come from telling you to panic other than casualties. Well if is that you want to hear, DOMINICANS PANIC. Chroops.

  32. Arjay
    February 12, 2010

    A rather unfortunate if not irresponsiible comment by the Health Minister! In a situation like this the Minister would be well advised to check with the Senior Medical Officer before making any public comments It is embarassing to have the Senior Medical Officer and the Minister giving different messages. Hopefully we’ll get it right some day.

    February 12, 2010

    JULIUS TIMOTHY SO DANGEROUS he saying do not panic. My niece and nephew had to move to England because they got all sorts of rash on their skins due to the ash and almost 85 percent of Montserratians have migrated to England , Antigua , Anguilla and the USA . Most of the people in Montserrat are GUYANESE seeking to live there for seven years so that they can get nationality in Montserrat and that they will be able to run to England. Soon there will be a break out of ringworm and a whole set of rashes on the skin . So Timothy and his gang get you all facts right. I am saying this so that the few Dominicans who really care about Dominica will do their part to save them-self and not be fooled .

    February 12, 2010

    The Minister of Health and his ministry should make masks available to ALL the schools and the elderly urgently because this is a national disaster and it threatens public safety and the national security . I do not know with what Julius timothy thinking??????But guess all the money was spent on buying their votes so if they die like pigs he do not care. they have their french county to run to .

  35. Anthony Ismael
    February 12, 2010

    I know the minister of health is a trained Economist by profession however, that does not give him the right to make untrue statements about the recent slate of ash that has been affecting Dominica. Some quick research would tell him that those persons with compromised respiratory systems could die as a result of volcanic ash, that is presently affecting the island. I hope the local citizens are more informed than our Minister of Health.

  36. Bella
    February 12, 2010

    They also said do not panic about the h1n1, that it is far from reaching Dominica. They forgot people travel every day and an airborne disease can be picked up just like that. I’m not saying that this volcanic ash is as bad as the h1n1, but instead of he saying “do not panic, that it won’t kill you”, he should be more sensitive to those who suffer from breathing problems. I think that statement was kind of raw.

  37. Eric Cartman
    February 12, 2010

    yes girl in blue looking scrumptious for real

  38. LCM
    February 12, 2010

    Some advice from the Minister of Health. No wonder it is argued is best to get someone with health experience to be the health minister.

    Thank you Dr. Johnson for saving the Day.

    Apparently it is only when you going to die that peoples health is important to the minister. Why not tell the people we are trying all we can to get air filters to the entire public. If the ash keep around during carnival then alot will be needed.

    The minister also need to realize health problems such as lung cancer and other respitory illness come about by prolonged exposure to irritants and chemicals, so not because the people in Montserrat have been exposed for years does not mean they ok. It seems like people have to die to take it serious.

    Anyway the doctor gave some good advice. Those who cannot find dust mask i suggest you check the construction supply stores. Breathing volcanic ash is no joke.

  39. February 12, 2010


  40. Fbd
    February 12, 2010

    Some Dominicans can really comment crappy and full of ignorance.
    Sometimes i really think DNO would just not take any comments on certain topics .
    But Mr Health Minister – people can die as a result of this ash . Did you think of those persons with Asthma and bronchitis when you commented ?
    Or Tuberculosis ?

  41. tall dark handsome married man
    February 12, 2010

    yah the girl in blue looks real nice!!!

  42. d biggest boss
    February 12, 2010

    boiii dominican mess up eno …. dem man palyin greddy for a mask wii …….my boi i passin my hand on a ride d ash doe even want to go … i blow it all rool out

  43. Karkabeff
    February 12, 2010

    What health minister? He well in his AC (office and car) so he can belch all the bubbles he want. And yeah, that a healthy looking young gwal there boy. From the neck down looking delicioso. I wish I could see her face but tell her Cow Poopoo say hello and he like what he see.

  44. CI
    February 12, 2010

    The timing could not be worst. Outdoor activities is the heart of the carnival which means this will prevent some people from enjoying themselves. For those whose systems are compromised, asthma, etc, please heed the warning and protect yourselves.

    Hopefully the ash clouds and dust will disappear very soon so that carnival will go on as planned.

  45. Dominican 2 D Bone
    February 12, 2010

    Thats all the Comments these people could put its a shame.

    Take note as to what the Health Minister said:

    “We do not want any panic. This is not a panic situation. If you don’t have a mask, you are not going to die. The people of Montserrat have been living with this for a very long time. Just manage yourself properly. If you don’t have a mask you won’t die,”

    yes people in Dominica should really not panic. but not because the people of Montserrat have been living with it for years. Are you aware mr minister that there are your own Dominican people living in Montserrat under the same conditions and for years over 14 years. I think you should get pointers from the Montserrat Govenment when its Dominica turn. God forbid. and instead for the minister/Government to make provisions for people to get mask to protect themselfs. especially that Dominica have more volcanoes than Montserrat.

  46. A true dominica in the u.s.a
    February 12, 2010

    To all the above commentators you all are just full of it. This could be another disaster and you have nothing pertinent to say. Why do some people waste their time to write such foolishness?

  47. February 12, 2010



  48. kyonn thomas
    February 12, 2010

    u taking a walk down in town with a face mask girl, take tht off , show dem nice lips nuh…tht ash ting is a mess up ting yeh, i walking n dust falling like is snow.

  49. Mahjee
    February 12, 2010

    You doh seeing is Pink Apple dat dere herself. She pobably run home after dey take de picture and turn on her computer to pass her comment about her own self. LOLOLOL

  50. stupes
    February 12, 2010

    Pink Apple, am sure you’re a womn. Gees Dominica filled with lesbians…. doh worry when a volcano buss I hope it wipe yall out!

  51. Waitukubuli
    February 12, 2010

    Hahahahaha – u Dominicans make me laugh – even with a mask on you get “tartay”. Weh, weh, weh – I bet if she was wearing a “paper bag” over her head your comments would remain the same. Because you are probably scanning from the chest down.

  52. Pink Apple
    February 12, 2010

    Hmmmmmmm i wonder who’s that girl in the blue she looking nice eh, seen her somewhere

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