There’s usually an indication of how fast time flies. First, new year celebration. Second, Chinese new year. And the third one, is when haze strikes again. That is when we asked ourselves “What? It’s been year already since the previous haze season? Come on…” Yup. Time flies.
Despise the haze, there’s still some very brave souls that embraces the haze to pursue their love no matter what. We have seen hundreds of iPhone supporter queuing & camping overnight (in the haze) at the launch of iPhone 11 Pro at Singapore. That is really brave guys.
Haze in a nutshell, is just some particles released into the air as the result of burning trees. Lots of trees. The total area of forest burnt this year is equivalent to 5 times the size of Singapore. And the fire is still burning even when you are reading this.
As the wind blows to the north & north west, Singapore & Malaysia citizens becomes the victim from these byproduct of Indonesia forest fire.
When we step outside of our house inhaling the polluted air, we realized “Hey! We are still alive! We aren’t getting sick nor grasping for oxygen and stuff like that anyway”. Few days later, we might even start to believe haze is not a big deal as it didn’t really caused significant harm to us. And the truth? The truth is, haze is a silent killer that slowly corrupt your entire respiratory system, skin & even your eyes!
PM2.5 (Particulate Matter with the size of 2.5 micron meter) is the culprit of it. When the haze is thick, the number of PM2.5 particles in the air proportionately increases as well. Studies show that mid-long term exposure to AQI or PSI of 100 and above increases that risk of lung cancer & cardiovascular disease by at least 10%! When PSI is over 150, citizens with allergy, lung & heart condition are strongly encouraged to avoid outdoor activities as it will worsen their condition significantly. Now you understand why I am calling them “brave souls”…
Knowing these facts, it will be great to avoid any outdoor activities, and even going out at all (Come on that’s not possible). As the PM2.5 is a particle that is 25 times smaller than a grain of hair, it might silently invade our life without us noticing. So here are 5 useful tips:
- CHOOSE THE RIGHT MASK
Yup. That is the first thing on the list when haze strike. However these’s different grade of mask for different purposes. Conventional Surgical Mask only works well against particle that is above the size of 3.1 micron meter. It is totally useless when it comes to PM2.5. N95 grade mask however, works well against particle that is above 0.1 micron meter. It cost at least 5 times more than the normal surgical mask but hey, it’s very effective.
- GET A GOOD QUALITY AIR PURIFIER
Air purifier is almost an essential item in our household, or even in our car. Why? Because we need oxygen to survive. And air quality does mean a big difference to our health. Our lung act as a “filter” to eliminate all other substance & particle from dissolving into our red blood cells. Inhaling quality & clean air does mean putting less stress on our lung, and keeping it healthy & strong for the long run.
There’s lot of air purifier that’s out there in the market. The really effective choice will be the purifier with HEPA standard filtration system. HEPA filter is effective in trapping particle that is above 0.3 micron meter and above. The other cool benefit of using an air purifier is a less dusty home (as it trap most of the dust particles in your house too).
If you do not have an air purifier at home, air conditioning unit will do the same trick but less effective thou.
Last but not least, indoor plants does help to reduce the effects of PM2.5 indoor as the leaves act as a organic filter for PM2.5 too. Besides, indoor greens does make your house look good.
- THE RIGHT WAY OF CLEANING
During haze season (we don’t have 4 seasons here in Malaysia but we do have haze season now), we do notice things get more dusty than usual. Especially your car (covered in dust), shoe (covered in dust), tree leaves (covered in dust), floor (covered in dust) and it’s really annoying. That means we need to cleanup more frequent than usual. However using the normal sweeping method will actually send the PM2.5 particle on the floor flying again. In this case using a HEPA standard vacuum machine or even mopping the floor will be a better choice of cleaning equipment. Remember guys, choosing the right equipment will make your life easier.
- EAT RIGHT, REPLENISH OFTEN
PM2.5 affect more than just our lungs. Very often, we find ourselves more vulnerable to contract flu, sore throat, runny nose, or even dry coughing. That is because the PM2.5 is affecting our respiratory system all the way from nose to throat to our lungs. Fortunately, certain food intake may reduce the stated risk. Food such as pineapple, vitamin C pills, and drink plenty of fluid to ensure your body is properly hydrated is essential as our body tend to lose our water content when the air is hazy with PM2.5.
There is nothing new about haze strike. It’s been bothering our country since almost 20 years ago. Indonesia government has been taking action against the fire and all we can do it to adapt to the situation. We can only hope for a more severe punishment against the fire-setting-maniacs by the Indonesia Authority and at the mean time, we Malaysian will continue to adapt, and strive!