Thursday, 20 June 2013

Haze Haze Everywhere

I've got Sinus and the haze isn't doing me any good. I worry for my loved ones as well, especially a couple of preggy people I know. Hence, I've made arrangements to purchase 1 box of 3M's N95 mask. They definitely don't look better than surgical masks buy hey! Beauty and health, which one you choose?

Let me tell you some things about haze...
Haze is an atmospheric condition where particles, smoke, dust and moisture suspend in the air obscuring visibility.

How Haze Can Affect Your Health
Fine particles in a haze are extremely small and light which mean they suspend in the air for much longer periods of time and stand a higher chance of being inhaled by animals and humans.
When inhaled, these fine particles (those measuring 10 microns or less) can cause irritation of the nose, throat, airways, skin and eyes. You may experience sneezing, running nose, eye irritation, dry throat and dry cough as a result of inhaling the air pollutants. These symptoms are usually mild if the haze is not severe and will subside when you stay indoor and limit your exposure to haze.
However, if you are suffering from some medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, lung disease, chronic sinusitis and skin allergy, your condition could be worsened by haze. You are also more likely to experience severe haze-related effects than those who are healthy.
Minute particles contained within a haze can enter the bloodstream when they are breathed deep into the lungs and get absorbed by underlying tissue. Once they enter the blood, they can potentially interact with other compounds and substances in the body, for example ‘bad’ cholesterol, to produce damaging effects such as inflammation.
Children and the elderly are more vulnerable to the ill effects of haze due to their weaker immune system, and hence, they should take special precautions to protect themselves. 
See chart below:
Index Value
PSI Descriptor
General Health Effects
Health Advisory
Up to 50
Good
Good
None for the general population
51 to 100
Moderate
Few or none for the general population
None required
101 to 200
Unhealthy
Mild aggravation of symptoms among susceptible persons ie. those with underlying conditions such as chronic heart or lung ailments; transient symptoms of irritation eg. eye irritation, sneezing or coughing in some of the healthy population.
Persons with existing heart or respiratory ailments should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity. The general population should reduce vigorous outdoor activity. Appropriate public advisories regarding the use of respiratory masks and other health matters will be given.
201 to 300
Very Unhealthy
Moderate aggravation of symptoms and decreased tolerance in persons with heart or lung disease ; more widespread symptoms of transient irritation in the healthy population.
Elderly and persons with existing heart or lung disease should stay indoors and reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity. The general population should avoid vigorous outdoor activity. Appropriate public advisories on air cleaning devices for homes and offices will be given.
301 to 400
Hazardous
Early onset of certain diseases in addition to significant aggravation of symptoms in susceptible persons; and decreased exercise tolerance in healthy persons.
Children, elderly and persons with existing diseases should stay indoors and avoid outdoor activity. The general population should avoid all unnecessary outdoor activity.
Over 400
Hazardous
PSI levels above 400 may be life-threatening to ill and elderly persons. Healthy people may experience adverse symptoms that affect normal activity.
Children, elderly and persons with existing diseases should stay indoors, keeping the windows and doors closed and avoiding physical exertion as far as possible. Outdoor activity should be avoided. The general population should keep physical exertion and outdoor activity to as low a level as possible.
During a prolonged haze period when the air quality is poor, you can take the following precautions to protect yourself:
·         Pay attention to local air quality updates. Recommended precautions you should take will usually be given in the form of advisories based on the latest air condition. So it is recommended that you check your local health authority’s website regularly for the latest air quality update. Here are some websites to check for the following countries:
·         Singapore: National Environment Agency
·         Malaysia: Department of Environment
·         US: AIRNow
·         Minimize outdoor activities, especially outdoor sports. If you must exercise outdoor, avoid exercising in highly congested areas near busy roads and freeways, particularly during rush hours. Read more: Is Running in a Haze Bad for Health?
·         Close all windows, doors and any openings that may allow haze to enter your home or office. Turn on the air conditioner if you have one. Note: If the weather is extremely hot, it can become dangerous if you stay indoor with all fresh air intake closed. In this case, seek alternative shelter.
·         At home, use an air purifier to keep the particulate levels low. Choose an air purifier that is suitable for the size and type of your home. Avoid air cleaners that generate ozone as they will increase air pollution in your home.
·         Keep air conditioner in tip-top working condition with regular cleaning and servicing. Fine particles can enter an air-conditioned building through the fresh air intake and by infiltration through openings and gaps.
·         If you are staying in a building with a central air conditioning system, install an air cleaning device. This helps to reduce the amount of air contaminants that may be circulating in your building.
·         Take your medication regularly if you are suffering from an existing disease, especially heart disease and respiratory disease. If you feel breathless at any point in time, seek medical attention immediately.
·         Limit or avoid smoking indoor and the use of gas stove, wood fireplace, candles, incense and anything that burns. In an enclosed area, smoke, gases and pollutants emitted from burning sources are trapped indoor and could build up to hazardous level if they continue to burn for an extended period of time.
·         Under severe haze condition, wear a respirator if you must go outside. Respirators work better than face masks as they seal better and restrict more polluted air from entering the nose and mouth. Further, their filters can be replaced which make them reusable.
That's all for now. I'm going to be a 'Santa Claus' tonight, busy delivering masks to my loved 
ones. I hope you're well prepared.
Dreamy C

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