Health symptoms of haze to watch out for

Health symptoms of haze to watch out for

Who is at higher risk of developing adverse health effects due to the haze?

The following groups of people are at higher risk:

  • People with heart or lung disease (such as asthma, congestive heart failure, heart attack, COPD, emphysema, respiratory allergies)
  • Old and frail persons
  • Young children

What are the signs and symptoms to watch out for?

You should watch out for the following symptoms:

  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy throat
  • Stinging/watery eyes
  • Headache
  • Cough with or without mucus
  • Difficulty in breathing

These symptoms are not infectious i.e. do not spread from person to person, and usually not serious in nature. They are expected to subside as the air quality improves.

However, persons with pre-existing heart or lung disease or asthma who suffer from breathing problems such as shortness of breath, cough or wheezing (heavy breathing sounds) OR chest discomfort/pain, should seek medical attention and take appropriate medication as advised by their doctor.

What are the measures I can take to reduce adverse health effects from the haze?

24 hour PSI < 100 (Good/Moderate range)

Pay attention to local air quality/PSI reports and stay alert to news coverage/health warnings related to smoke.

24 hour PSI 101-200 (Unhealthy range)

Measures as described above and in addition, reduce vigorous outdoor activity.

Stay indoors if possible and keep indoor air clean by keeping the doors and windows closed. If you have an air conditioner, it will be useful to keep it switched on and ensure that its air filter is clean.

Do not smoke or vacuum as this will stir up dust particles already in the home. 

Additional measures for persons at risk

Do not undertake physical exertion and limit outdoor activity.

Consider using suitable particulate air filters to improve indoor air quality.

Consult your doctor and consider use of respirator masks especially if you have togo outdoors when 24 hour PSI is more than 150.

24 hour PSI 201-300 (Very unhealthy range)

In addition to the measures described above, everyone shouldtry and wear respirator masks when outdoors.

People at risk should consider wearing the mask even when indoors especially if indoor air quality worsens.

24 hour PSI 301-400 (Hazardous range)

Avoid all unnecessary outdoor activity, including work. Avoid all unnecessary outdoor activity, including work.

What should I do if I my eyes get watery and itchy as a result of the haze condition?

Washing eyes with clean water may provide some relief to eye irritation from the haze.

Alternatively, normal saline eyedrops or natural tear supplements are also effective washing away any haze compounds or dust particles which may get into the eye.

These are readily available in commercial pharmacies or optical shops.

Information provided by the Ministry of Health on their website.

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