In case you haven’t heard, haze is BACK!
While the Silent Hill type atmosphere leaves us breathless (literally), the noxious air is full of dangerous pollutants that are harmful to health.
Besides the usual wear-face-mask-and-stay-indoors precaution, we know many are asking “what else can we do?”
Don’t worry, guys. We’ve scoured all corners of the internet with the help of Pak Cik Google (and authorities’ websites) to prepare a list of 9 tips to protect yourself during haze season.
1. STAY INDOORS
Yes, it’s obvious but we can’t stress this enough. STAY INDOORS.
You should also keep your doors and windows closed to prevent the harmful air from coming in.
2. If you have to be outside, WEAR 3-PLY NOSE & MOUTH MASK
The Health Director-General of Malaysia recommends that those who head outside should wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth that’sat least 3-ply.
So yeah, the surgical masks you keep sneaking away from clinics aren’t good enough because they can’t filter out the haze particles that can be as small as 2.5 microns. That’s 30 times smaller than human hair!
It’s best that you invest in a N95 mask as it can filter at least 95% of airborne particles, including the smaller harmful ones.
3. Reduce physical activities outdoors
Yes, this may seem a bit strange. But during haze season, it’s recommended that you reduce physical activities that can cause increase breathing and metabolic rate.
These can cause increased susceptibility to haze health risks such as:
- Coughing and itchy throat
- Breathing difficulties & feeling of suffocation
- Frequent sneezing & watery nose
- Chest pain
However, you can still exercise indoors by going to the gym, playing futsal, squash, badminton and even Zumba-ing in your room!
4. DO NOT SMOKE
Sorry smokers, but the eating ban isn’t the only thing you have to worry about.
With the noxious air quality, smoking only exacerbate the bad health effects, not only to yourself but to anyone in the surroundings.
Malaysia’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has concluded that there is a deterioratory effect between smoking and all major respiratory symptoms among adults for active smokers AND those involuntarily exposed to tobacco smoke during haze, such as:
- Shortness of breath (dyspnoea)
- Breathlessness among children
- Poor asthma control amongst adults and children
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
5. Switch on the aircon
Okay, we know most Malaysians already do this because they cannot tahan the heat outside.
So yay, there’s an upside to using the aircon during haze as it also filters the air.
BUT, make sure your aircon is serviced regularly ah… You don’t want to waste all that electricity (and harm your health) cooling up your house with busted air filters.
6. DRINK MORE WATER
Remember, people: Hydration is KEY.
You need to guzzle AT LEAST 8 glasses of water a day and keep on drinking even if you don’t feel thirsty.
This is to maintain optimal hydration levels to regulate body temperature. You should also take frequent showers to cool the body and avoid wearing thick, tight and dark clothing to help with the body’s heat loss process.
Bad news for coffee lovers though, MOH says that you should reduce caffeine intake to prevent dehydration.
7. Take more showers
As mentioned earlier, frequent showers help combat with the heating effects of haze.
It is also advised that you wash your face and exposed skin as frequently as possible to rid yourself of pollutants that can cause rashes and itching.
8. Eat right
To combat the toxins floating about in the air, you gotta arm your body with the best defence available: nutritious food.
Load up on fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibres.
Looking for an excuse to take that much-needed vacation?
Just pack up your bags and LEAVE.
In all seriousness though, this is the best remedy to haze exposure. It’s important to take a breather from the toxic air that’s burdening the immune system.
Even if it is for a weekend, it will do you good (psst! Check out this weekend-getaway list we made for you earlier)
This move is especially beneficial for high-risk individuals such as:
- Senior citizens
- Sufferers of:
- Lung inflamation
- Chronic lung disease
- Heart disease
- Those who work outside the office or home.
There you have it, folks! TRP’s list of 9 tips to protect yourself during haze season.