7 Ways To Protect Yourself Against Pollutants During The Haze Seasonjessie tan
Haze is not an unfamiliar sight to Malaysians all around the country — but it doesn’t mean such a hazardous occurrence should be taken lightly
As of 5 September, it was reported by the Malaysian Department of Environment that the air pollutant index (API) for multiple locations throughout Malaysia have risen to an unhealthy level.
METMalaysia also stated that the possibility of transboundary haze, which is an occurrence where haze pollution that originates from another area of the country moves to affect other locations, could sweep Malaysia. This is due to dry weather caused by El Nino and the South-West Monsoon.
Nevertheless, the potential of haze occurring should not prevent Malaysians from carrying on with their day-to-day activities.
Here are some tips to protect yourself during the haze season:
1. Drink plenty of water
According to the Singaporean Ministry of Health, exposure to key air pollutants during the haze period can cause long-term problems to one’s body, including respiratory symptoms, and even going as far as to aggravate existing heart or lung diseases.
Known formally as particulate matter, this pollutant can even cause itchy and dry throats.
As with most conditions, drinking plenty of water can help avoid this. Aside from that, keeping your body hydrated at all times is a good way to flush out any potential toxins you inhale or might be exposed to during the haze period.
2. Stay indoors
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught Malaysians anything, it’s that we have the strength to stay indoors for years on end — so a few weeks shouldn’t be hard to do.
Even though we can’t be too sure how long the haze period will last, it’s safe to assume that it will take some time to clear up.
For this short period, it’s important to make an effort to switch one’s routine. Work out at home, meet up with your friends virtually, and plan a board game night with your family to help the mundane hours pass by. Crucially, it is important to limit your outdoor activities where and when you can.
3. Wear a face mask outside of the house
The primary concern during the haze season is inhaling toxic pollutants that can bring long-lasting negative impacts to our bodies, and unfortunately, we can only limit our outdoor activities to an extent.
From work to school and even unwanted emergencies, it’s important to use more than just a handkerchief or your hand to cover your mouth and nose when you leave the house.
Although any face mask will do the trick, make sure to check out the N95 respirator mask, which provides an added layer of protection to one’s face. Covering both your mouth and nose, the mask fits in a manner that allows one to comfortably breathe without leaving any air gap for the haze to seep in. Pop one into your pocket or purse to have it on-hand at all times.
You can grab an N95 face mask here.
4. Wash your hands and face at regular intervals
Sanitisation is your best friend when haze coats the country.
It is important to keep the harmful pollutants that originate during the haze season out of our body. However, no one can estimate its effects on parts of our body that are the most exposed — our hands and skin.
Therefore, washing your hands and face regularly can remove any of those particles while also replenishing nutrients and hydrating your skin.
5. Purchase an air purifier if you don’t already have one
Staying indoors can only do so much when your surroundings are engulfed in dust and unclean mist. Yet, it doesn’t mean such an environment needs to stay that way.
Air purifiers act to neutralise some of the risks posed by indoor air pollution. From regular airborne allergens such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites, an air purifier can go a long way to relieve those with allergies and even asthma symptoms.
According to an article published by The Straits Times, an effective air purifier can be determined by its ability to remove small microscopic particles, especially those with high-efficiency particulate air (Hepa) filters.
6. Load up on vitamins and antihistamines
When the air quality of your surroundings takes a dip, it is crucial to ensure that you’re doing more than just eating healthy.
In an article published by FMT, it was stated that consuming foods with high levels of vitamin C can protect your body from harmful molecules, as foods containing the supplement contribute to immune defence.
Aside from that, foods packed with Omega-3 aid in reducing inflammation and strengthening the immune system, while beans and nuts, which contain high levels of vitamin E, act as a great antioxidant to protect cells from harmful molecules floating in the air.
Lastly, tea lovers should also stock up on herbal drinks such as chrysanthemum and wolfberry teas, which can effectively provide nourishment to the lungs as well as lower one’s body temperature in the stifling heat. Teas also act as a good beverage to sooth throat irritation.
We also put together a list of over-the-counter medication accessible to every Malaysian, including antihistamines, that are great to have on-hand during the haze season. Click here to read the story.
7. Clean your house regularly
Though one shouldn’t wait for a potential season of pollution to clean their house, it’s about time to pick up those cleaning supplies once the haze rolls around.
Ensuring that our bodies are healthy and scrubbed to the core is only half the battle. An unclean house will render all personal practices useless. But there are certain methods of cleaning that are particularly helpful when dealing with the haze.
In an article by HealthHub, it was stated that wet-cleaning methods are useful during the haze period. This is because no dust is generally produced with this cleaning process. Unlike dry-dusting or vacuuming, mopping and wiping down surfaces will be the best action to remove settled and sometimes unseen dust.
Do you have any tips to stay healthy and safe during the haze season? Let us know!