Unless you’ve been hiding underground for the last few days (not a bad idea), you’ll have noticed the same impenetrable haze that made my journey to work a nightmare today. The last time the air got this bad was way back in 1997, and then it ‘only’ hit 226 PSI. That was bad enough, but now we’re way past the 300 PSI mark. This is a serious situation.
But as is often the case when we’re faced with a communal challenge, the government and community is coming together. “Look out for one another – we will get through this together,” said the PM, a sentiment that is being backed up by 23 government agencies tasked with minimising the impact on the population.
5 Million Face Masks, Please!
Health services are taking measures to keep their patients and staff as safe as possible, and the Singapore Armed Forces are keeping outdoor exercises to an absolute minimum. Military personnel are also getting N95 face masks. I think they would be wise to issue 5 million of those!
Tips for Staying Safe in The Haze
Avoiding the ill-effects of this haze is no easy task. Here are some useful tips to stay healthy in the haze:
- Stay indoors whenever possible. If you have to go outside, it’s wise to get all your tasks completed in one go – so planning well before you leave home is a good idea.
- Try not to exert yourself outside.
- Wear an N95 certified mask, especially when the PSI count is over 150. Be aware that standard surgical masks cannot keep out fine particles the way the N95 mask can.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Drink less coffee and/or alcohol to help keep hydrated.
- Keep your face, hands and body clean, especially after being outside.
- Avoid smoking.
- If you are experiencing eye irritation, saline eye drops will help wash out the particles.
- If you have an eye irritation and wear contact lenses, stop wearing them until your eyes feel better. Wear glasses if you have them.
- Visit your doctor immediately if you are experiencing respiratory problems.
- If you are pregnant, allow other family members to carry out tasks outside your home; stay indoors as much as possible.
- If you or any of your children/family members suffer from asthma, take particular care to avoid the haze; the particles may set off an attack.
- A healthy diet is always important, but the haze may put additional pressure on your immune system. Eat plenty of green, leafy vegetables, and super-foods such as avocados, sardines, tuna, nuts and broccoli – doing so will boost your vitamin A and E levels.
How Does the Haze Harm the Body?
The following info-graphic from Ministry of Health illustrates how the haze can harm the different parts of the human body:
Into the Skies?
But if you’re looking for a more direct measure, you could think about heading for Changi Airport. The air traffic controllers have increased the periods between flights to ensure the safe take-off and landing of planes, but there are still plenty of flights leaving every hour – you guessed it, to places where there is no haze!
Last 10 Days of the School Holidays!
If you are planning to take an impromptu flight out of Singapore, don’t forget to ensure your travel insurance is up to date (apart from anything else, the haze could disrupt your return flight). The possibility of an air born getaway may be even more attractive to your kids, as there are still 10 days left of the holidays for primary and secondary schools, and junior colleges! Has there ever been a more perfect time to take some leave? I don’t think so…