The Caffeine Connection
Hazy Impacts to our Health
What is haze all about?
Haze an environmental situation where air-borne pollutants such as dust, soot, smoke and other toxins (sulphur dioxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide) get excessively suspended in the atmosphere.
How the extent of haze is quantified
Through the 24 hour Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) that takes into consideration PM2.5 levels.
How exposure to haze affects our health
Inflammation and swelling of the eyes. Symptoms include :
- Itching / burning sensations to the eyes.
- Excessive Tearing
- Swollen Eyelids
- Pinkish (reddish) whites of the eyes
Runny / Stuffy nose. Symptoms include :
- Excessive mucus discharge
- Blocked nose
Symptoms Include :
- Dry, sore or itchy throat
Symptoms include :
- Rashes and dry patches
How the PSI levels are classified
0 – 50 (Good), 51 – 100 (Moderate), 101 – 200 (Unhealthy), 201 – 300 (Very Unhealthy), 300 or more (Hazardous)
How to protect against the haze
- Wear a mask
Choose only N95 masks and avoid using surgical masks as they do not filter out any harmful haze particles
- Stay indoors
When PSI levels reach over 100, it would be advisable to stay indoors with air conditioners switched on.
- Use of Air purifiers
When used indoors, these devices are able to circulate and filter out microscopic particles in the air.
- Carry along inhalers at all times
For those suffering from COPD or asthma, it would be advisable to bring along respiratory medication within arm’s reach.
- Apply moisturizing skin care products
Helps to prevent drying skin related discomfort to the skin
- Keep hydrated
Drinking water will help sooth irritated throats and help the kidneys flush out toxins absorbed from the haze more effectively.
By : Dr Chen Yiming
Family Physician, MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (NUS), GDFP Dermatology (NUS)
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