Haze occurs when pollutants and particles of smoke and dust exceed a certain level in our atmosphere and remain suspended in air. It can sometimes linger for weeks to months and poses a health hazard especially to the young, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.
The effects of haze vary depending on individual health condition. Among healthy individuals, short-term exposure to high levels of haze particles may cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat in healthy individuals. Such irritation resolves on its own in most cases.
However, effects of haze are more severe in individuals with respiratory diseases. Haze particles can affect the heart and lungs, especially in people who already have chronic heart or lung disease e.g. asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or heart failure.
7 Practical tips to reduce exposure during a haze episode:
l. Avoid outdoor activities. Use a suitable face mask eg. N95 mask to help filter out particles, including small PM2.5 particles.
2. Keep doors and windows closed. This will help to reduce the rate of haze particles entering the home.
3. Minimize activities such as smoking that can produce indoor air pollutants.
4. Switch on fans or air-conditioners for air circulation and cooling.
5. Portable air purifiers can help further reduce the indoor particle level.
6. Drink plenty of water. Ensure a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.
7. Remember to take your prescribed medication and see your doctor early if you have an symptoms or concerns.
This article is written by Dr Alison Ting.