The ‘haze’ is a toxic smoke which can be caused by various sources such as forest fires, farming activities, traffic and industrial pollution. It usually occurs during the dry seasons and tends to peak around the months of September or October for countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Prolong exposure to the toxic fumes from the ‘haze’ can be harmful to your health, especially for people with chronic conditions such as asthma or respiratory problems. Long-term exposure to the ‘haze’ can also lead to the development of medical conditions such as bronchitis as well as increased risk of lung cancer.
Here are some helpful tips to protect yourself from the ‘haze’:
- Refrain from strenous outdoor activities when air quality is worsening
It is important to monitor the PSI (Singapore Pollutant Standards Index) during the ‘haze season’. The PSI readings are available from websites such as https://www.haze.gov.sg. When the PSI value exceeds 100 (unhealthy range), you should refrain from strenuous outdoor activities such as exercising. During strenuous activities, the air intake is increased which can result in more harmful particles entering your lungs. These particles can be dangerous to those with existing heart or lung conditions as they could trigger a heart or asthma attack.
- Keeping the haze out of your home, office and vehicle
Closing doors and windows followed by turning on your air-conditioner or air purifier can help to remove the harmful particles and pollutants from indoor environments. If you are travelling in a vehicle, it is also important to roll up the windows as well.
- Stay well hydrated
Keeping well hydrated helps to encourage the body to remove harmful toxins from the body. Drinking 6 – 8 glasses of water a day can help the body to flush out toxins via the kidneys. You should also cut down on coffee and alcohol as it can cause dehydration to your body.
- Build up your immunity with foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids
Foods rich in Vitamin C such as citrus fruits, cauliflower and broccoli can boost your immunity. Loading up on Vitamin A rich foods such as sweet potatoes, carrots and salmon (rich in omega-3 fatty acids) can also help to maintain the function of your heart, lungs, kidneys and other vital organs.
- Wear an N95 mask when you are outdoors
Wearing an N95 mask when outdoor helps to provide respiratory protection from harmful airborne particles. For the mask to provide full protection from such particles, it should fit the face of the wearer. Masks that don’t fit well will be uncomfortable to wear and can allow the harmful pollutants to enter from the gaps.
Photo credit: Business Insider
Dr Nelson Wee,
Silver Cross Medical (Holland)
275A Holland Ave, Singapore 278993