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How to Protect Yourself From the Haze in Singapore

Stay indoors as much as possible during the haze

Individuals who suffer from any sort of cardiac (heart) or respiratory (lung) diseases or problems, as well as young children, babies and the elderly should refrain from going outdoors whenever the haze is in Singapore. Even if you don't have any pre-existing health issues or conditions (good good!), you also should reduce any outdoor activities when the air quality is hazy/unhealthy.

Singapore's National Environment Agency (NEA) reported these air pollution health warnings in Singapore when the air quality reached an unhealthy reading of 155 on the Pollutants Standards Index (PSI, which takes 3-hours reading average) on 17th June 2013. To find the latest readings, go to www.nea.gov.sg.

PSI readings below 50 is considered good, 51 to 100 is moderately unhealthy, 101 to 200 is definitely unhealthy, 201 to 300 is very unhealthy and anything 301 and above is very, very unhealthy and is classified as hazardous to health.

Sadly, there is an annual occurrence and recurrent of smoke haze here in Singapore, and generally occurs between May to October (yes, it's THAT long), and is generally caused by winds that blow in the tiny haze particles of ash from the massive forest fires from our neighbouring country, Indonesia (it's been around for years, but in the last few years, it has gotten worse unfortunately).

Most of these particles are called PM10 (which "10" here refers to the size of the particulate matters in microns) - breathing in these particles consistently and excessively can/will increase a person's risk of developing viral and bacterial infections, as well as contribute to heart and lung diseases, cancers and potentially causing strokes.

Though the larger air particles are "caught" and filtered out by our respiratory tract system, it's the tiny PM2.5 particles that are the dangerous ones, which are deposited into the lungs. These tiny particles can accumulate over time and harm our lungs and bodies.

“Existing health conditions such as eczema, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and eye diseases like conjunctivitis are made worse by air pollution,” says Associate Professor Loo Chian Min, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

“Even healthy people can suffer from irritation in the eyes, nose and throat, coughing and sneezing, if they spend time outdoors during a smoke haze.”

Ways to protect yourself from the haze

Take the following steps to protect yourself from the haze in Singapore:

  • Stay indoors and close your windows for as much as possible (air conditioning can help to filter out some)
  • If you're driving, please drive with the windows fully up
  • Stay/use air conditioning wherever you are, as they help to remove some air particles/pollutants
  • Use air purifiers/air ioniers to have purify out small particles
  • Keep drinking water, which will help your kidneys to flush and remove any toxins that are absorbed through your skin and lungs
  • If you can, cut down on coffee/tea/alcoholic beveages, as they are diuretic in nature and promote fluid loss as well as leech nutrients from your body. If you need to drink them still, be sure to drink lots of water too.
  • Build up your immunity with foods that are rich in

    1) vitamin C such as oranges, guava and strawberries
    2) vitamin E such as nuts and seeds and
    3) omega 3-fatty acids from oily fish

Some nutritional supplements we recommend you consider taking for yourself or for your children:

  • For children and adolescents:

    Total Balance Children's - which helps to support healthy development, healthy immune system and supports learning and physical well being

    Omega 3 DHA Minis - which are rich in DHA, high quality and in mini gels capsules for easy swallowing, making it ideal for children. Also helps with supporting healthy circulation

    Immu-stay - supports healthy immune response to common seasonal ailments, maintain your body's immune function as well as supports healthy inflammation management

  • For teenagers, adults and elderly

    Total Balance Unisex Premium - which contains more than 88 optimized nutrients for cellular health

    Omega 3 - which are rich in DHA and high quality. Also helps with supporting healthy circulation

    Immu-stay - supports healthy immune response to common seasonal ailments, maintain your body's immune function as well as supports healthy inflammation management
  • Do try to wear a mask that helps with filtering the air you breath whenever you go out

Stay healthy and strong!

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