10 Ways to Beat the Haze

Haze situation in Singapore is getting from bad to worse. Yesterday, the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading was at 155! That’s 50% over “unhealthy” levels of pollution which start at PSI 100 onwards. This makes the haze situation yesterday highest since September 1997. That’s 16 years ago.

And the forest fires on Indonesia’s Sumatra Islands are not letting up. To make things worse, Indonesian authorities are expecting the situation to get worse before it gets better. The hot and dry climatic spell is set to peak over the next 2 weeks. What?! Another 14 days of this haze.

Though smoke-filled air causes no long-term medical problems in healthy people, it can be irritating and uncomfortable. For people very old, very young and those with heart disease, haze can add life-threatening burden to their health.

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Suit up now and and learn how to easily beat the haze in 10 ways.

Haze Buster #1: Stay Indoors
This is the best time to stay indoors. Put your outdoor exercise plan like running and brisk walking to rest for the next few weeks. Aerobic activity will only require you to breathe deeper, introducing more pollutants into your lungs. If you have to be outdoors, make sure you are not exposed to more than a hour of vigorous exercise because the body takes in 10 to 20 times more air during exertion than when at rest. If you have pets, keep them indoors. Dogs, especially little ones, have small lung capacity so no more long walks for your doggie until the smog clears up.

Haze Buster #2: Shut Your Windows & Doors
In this haze condition, there is no point staying indoors and leaving your windows and doors wide open for air ventilation. Shut all your windows and doors, and turn on the fans!

Haze Buster #3 Switch on the Air-con
Again, there is no better excuse to air-condition our homes. Make sure your air-con filters are clean and not clogged. If so, time to re-contract with your air-con maintenance company and gets your air-con units clean, unclogged and operating at maximum efficiency. This will help to save power and energy used as well.

Haze Buster #4: Quit Smoking
This is probably the best time to quit smoking. Besides exposing our bodies to the toxic pollutants in the air during this hazy season, cigarette smoke further aggravates our lungs, making them more sensitive to the effects of the air pollution.

Haze Buster #5: Reduce Indoor Air Pollutants
While you are staying indoors, make sure you are also managing other sources of indoor air pollutants. Avoid indoor cigarette smoking, candle burning, deep-frying of foods and heavy usage f aerosol products like hairspray. This will keep your indoor air as fresh and clean as possible.

Haze Buster #6: Put Away The Vacuum
Vacuum cleaners not only suck up loose dirt and dust off the floors, but they also tend to stir up surrounding areas of dust inside your home. Avoid vacuuming your home during this hazy period and use a floor sweeper and wet mop instead.

Haze Buster #7: Put on a Mask
Prevent from inhaling toxic air pollutants by wearing a mask. Don’t just grab any surgical or paper mask because those do not provide adequate protection against haze pollutants. They are mainly used as a body fluid barrier rather than against fine micro particles. You will need a respiratory mask instead. Respiratory masks are designed to keep out fine air pollutants like smoke and dust. Available at most pharmacies and polyclinics.

Haze Buster #8: Wet Your Eyes
During this hazy period, having dry and irritable eyes is common. Make sure to keep your eyes moist with preservative-free eye drops. According to baby forums, some mothers use a few drops of breast milk to wash out their babies eyes. This helps to reduce eye irritation from the toxic air pollutants.

Haze Buster #9: Try Natural Remedies
Try natural home remedies to soothe ailments caused by the haze.

  • To soothe dry throat: Mix equal parts aloe vera and orange juice. Add honey. Drink a glass every morning.
  • To suppress bouts of coughing: Chop up a garlic clove and place in a small bowl. Add two tablespoons of honey, cover bowl and leave overnight. Take one tablespoon of the mixture throughout the next day.
  • To dissolve mucus: Add two tablespoons of vinegar to a jug of water and take occasional swallows. This will cut through the mucus buildup and naturally clear your airways.

Haze Buster #10: Up Your Vitamin Intake
If you cannot avoid going outdoors completely, the best way is to get maximum internal air pollutant protection. You can do this by watching your diet and ensuing you maintain high levels of Vitamin A, C and E. These powerful anti-oxidants will help your fight against internal pollutant irritation or infection. Also, cut down on your alcohol, tea (exclude herbal) coffee consumption. These beverages contain high purine, which are toxins that the body eliminates by urine or sweat in the form of uric acid. Purines need large amounts of water to dilute and flush out. This will leave you feeling dehydrated and run down.

Read more about the haze on How the Haze is Hurting Your Body and It’s Raining Birds in Singapore.

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