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Friday, September 25, 2015

Health Guide: Protecting Yourself from the Haze

If you are still wondering why Singapore looks like a scene in the horror film - Silent Hill now, it is because of the haze. In Southeast Asia, particularly in the months between May and October annually, haze has become a serious and recurring problem due to forest fires. These fires are caused mainly by land clearing and “slash and burn” agricultural practices in Indonesia, particularly Sumatra and Kalimantan.

Singapore has experienced similar haze, the worst prior to the current one was in 1997, when the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) index peaked at 226.

Photo Courtesy from The Straits Times

I know, I know, no one likes the haze. Every piece of clothing, every item and every place smells like burnt otah (spicy fish cake), even my university orientation to Sentosa got cancelled because of the haze, which scores the highest in the PSI on that day itself. Now, instead of whining and complaining about how slow the governments from both sides are resolving the haze issue, it is time to be more resilent. Oh, regarding the more political matter, despite the what-seemed-to-be "unapologetic" Indonesia ministers, I am sure that our government is working on it, they are not magician that could make rain clouds appear to wash down the haze.

During this period when the air quality is poor, do take the following precautions to protect yourself and your loved ones:

1. Avoid outdoor activities, espcially outdoor sports and strenuous activities. 

2. Stay tuned to NEA's air quality updates. (

3. Wear a N95 mask, or equivalent if prolonged outdoor activities is unavoidable. Surgical masks are useless against the haze.

4. Drink more water and increase intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.

5. Take your medicine regularly if you are suffering from any exisiting illness, especially heart or respiratory diseases. Consult a doctor if you are not feeling well.

6. Close all windows, doors and any openings that may allow haze to enter your home and office. Use an air-conditioner or air-purifier if you have one.

7. Use an air purifier to keep the particulate levels low.

8. Avoid smoking. Surely you don't have to consume more pollutants, and that, negative times negative doesn't equates to positive.

9. Pray hard for the rain to come. Do a rain dance if you know how to.

Meanwhile, sit tight and stay healthy.
God bless.