How to protect yourself against the Singapore haze

This year, the haze seems to be making an exceptionally early return to Singapore – with a vengeance. While the smoggy season reared its ugly head around June last year, the current forest fires in Indonesia and Malaysia, together with the unusually dry spell in Singapore now, has caused the haze to make its return earlier this year.

Let's hope that the Singapore haze doesn't reach the hazardous levels of last year.

Let’s hope that the Singapore haze doesn’t reach the hazardous levels of last year

While the pollution has largely stayed in the healthy range (Pollution Standards Index, PSI, below 50) for the past week, it crossed into the moderate zone (PSI 50 to 100) last night. Yesterday, the highest PSI reading of the day hovered around 71.

Here are some tips that can be used for protection against the haze that is steadily making its way back to Singapore.

Stop outdoor activities

When the PSI crosses into the unhealthy range, then people should stop any unnecessary outdoor activities and exercise.

At the same time, the population at risk, such as the elderly, pregnant women and children are advised to stay indoors and not to venture outside.

Close all doors and windows and turn on the air con

When you are indoors, it is important to ensure that all the doors and windows in your house or office are closed so that the haze does not get through into your living or working quarters. At the same time, you should turn on the air con to filter away the harmful smoggy air.

Use an air purifier

If you don’t have one already, you could consider investing in an air purifier. Doing so will help to remove the harmful smog and particles in the air and ensure that you are at least breathing in cleaner air – when you are indoors.

However be careful of air cleaners that produce ozone, because having one of these will make the air even more polluted.

Wear an N95 respirator when venturing outdoors

When the haze level hits the very unhealthy zone (PSI reading of 200 to 300), it is advised that you should wear an N95 respirator if you are venturing outdoors.

Compared to normal surgical masks, these are much more effective at reducing the amount of smog particles that you take in through your nose and mouth.

At the same time, wearing an N95 respirator will also filter out any harmful particles in the air. So if you have not invested in some N95 masks yet, it is advised that you get your hands on some, as soon as possible – in case the haze here worsens. Or maybe you still have some left over from last year.

Consume more water

Taking in more water will aid the body in getting rid of the toxic chemicals from the haze that you may have inadvertently breathed in through your lungs.

At the same time, you should also try and avoid having coffee and alcohol because they contain substances that absorb the body’s fluid and chemicals – and may thus hinder your body’s ability to recover from any side effects possibly caused from the haze.

Cut down the usage of anything that may produce smoke

During the haze period, try to cut down or minimise anything that will produce smoke, such as barbecuing – especially when you are indoors. This is because pollutants will build up and if they continue producing smoke, the build-up of these particles may become hazardous.

Minimise driving

Try to minimise driving when the air is smoggy because if you drive, the fumes emitted by your car may also add to the haze and pollution in the air. Instead, if you need to get around, try to take the public transport, such as the train or the bus instead.

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