Haze in Singapore - How do Singaporeans manage it?
What is haze
Singapore experiences haze periodically throughout the year.
Haze is actually caused by forest fires in the region, this happens when open burning is done to clear land for agricultural use.
It worsens during dry seasons, changes in wind direction and when rainfall is low.
Prevailing winds sometimes carry smoke haze that was produced by the forest fires over to Singapore's skies during the Southwest monsoon season. (June - September)
The most effective way combat haze is to cut down the burning of forest. However, it takes collaborative efforts amongst the affected countries to come out with an actionable plan and a long term solution.
What are the effects of haze on our health
The most common symptoms include, eye irritation, nose irritation and throat irritation.
At times, some may experience inflammation of the eyes, nose and throat too.
People also complain about dizziness, stress and headaches.
Haze also affects those who already suffer from heart or lung conditions and asthma.
Pregnant women and their unborn children are advised to stay indoors and minimize activities outdoors while the psi levels are unhealthy.
We have little to no control over the long term plans for haze, but for short-term wise,
we can apply these 8 tips to stay healthy during the haze period.
1. Stay indoors
Before leaving your home, ensure that all your windows and opening areas are closed.
It is better to come back to a non-ventilated home than a home filled with a million haze particles.
These unhealthy particulars is hard to filter out by the human body and stays in our body for a period of time.
Check NEA's website
to see whether we are in the good or moderate zone but resume outdoor activities.
2. Increase intake of water to 2 litres
Water makes up 70% of the human body, therefore it is of paramount importance to keep ourselves hydrated.
Haze toxins are absorbed by our lungs and skin and this causes our kidneys to work extra hard, we can help them to excrete the toxins by staying hydrated.
3. Use an air purifier
An air purifier doesn't look like much, but however they are really effective in sanitizing the air.
If you are looking to buy a new air purifier because of the hazy weather, then you must look out for those with HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter.
In these machines, air is drawn in and passed through an ultra-fine filter that traps mould, dust mite spores, and most importantly, PM2.5 - microscopic air particles which are prevalent during hazy days.
4. Stay away from alcohol and coffee
These beverages dehydrate our body system, which affects our kidneys and makes it harder for it to function during the haze period. If we cannot abstain from these beverages totally, we should at least consume less of it.
5. Wear a mask
N95 masks work only if there is a good fit with the face of the wearer.
This way, most of the air that the wearer breathes in has to go through the filter and not through the gaps between the mask and the wearer's face.
Haze can contain fine particles that are 2.5 microns or smaller (PM 2.5), and studies have shown that N95 masks do provide good protection against particle pollutants as they are at least 95% efficient against fine particles that are about 0.1 - 0.3 microns.
6. Boost your immunity with healthy foods
Build up your immunity with foods rich in Vitamin C (Oranges, Guava, Strawberries, Vitamin E (Nuts and Seeds) and Omega-3 fatty acids (oily fish).
Having consistent and regular healthy meals can boost our immunity system and lessen our chance of getting a scratchy throat and runny nose.
7. Wash our hands and face regularly
As much as we try not to be exposed to the toxins, our skin still absorbs them.
Wash our hands and faces thoroughly and frequently when we are outdoors and take a shower immediately when we come back home, this is to cleanse away any toxin residues that are present in our skin.
8. See a doctor immediately if you feel unwell
For those with breathing problems (eg. asthma) and skin problems (eg. eczema), always be prepared with your medical solutions during the haze period.
For those who experience suddenly health problems, especially to do with breathing, see a doctor immediately.
However, be informed that it is common to experience a runny nose as the body produces extra muscus to excrete the toxins.
|Image source: www.moh.gov.sg|
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