When Smoke Gets In Your Eyes…

By Edeline Anne Goh

A few months ago, a thick blanket of haze descended upon Malaysia as well as neighbouring countries, Singapore and Indonesia.

You may have rushed to the stores in search of face masks to protect yourself but there many other precautions you can take that work as great preventive measures during hazy days.

Here’s a list of some of the more effective methods:

  1. Hydration Is The Key

Increase your daily intake of water during this period to ensure that you stay hydrated. Water helps flush out toxins from your body. If you come across fresh coconuts, make sure you indulge in them as coconut water is believed to help cool your body.

  1. Wear Protection

Don’t forget to protect yourself with a face mask at all times and especially if you are outdoors, as masks help to filter the air that you breathe. For maximum protection, opt for N95 face masks. Most importantly, be sure to wear a mask that fits well (for more details, please refer to How To Wear A Face)

  1. Use Air Filters

If you own an air filtration system, switch it on throughout the day. Be sure to opt for air filters with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA). HEPA filters help to remove 99.97% of particles in the air.

  1. Circulate Air In Your Car

Switch your car’s air conditioning system to the ‘re-circulating air’ option to avoid unhealthy air from the environment from getting into your car as you drive. If the air pollutant index (API) reading is high, it’s best to avoid driving if possible. If you must drive, wear a face mask even in the car and be sure to drive extra carefully especially if visibility is low.

  1. Wet Curtains

Did you know that your curtains can come in handy during hazy days? All you have to do is to fill some clean water in a spray bottle and spray it on your curtains. This will help to trap dust and other particles. Although this means you’ll probably have to wash your curtains more often, the additional protection you get definitely makes it worth the trouble.

  1. Reduce Outdoor Activities

You are advised to stay indoors at all times especially if the API reading in your area is unhealthy or worse. Take this opportunity to spend time with your kids and organise fun indoor activities such as art and craft or baking projects.

Air Pollutant Index

In Malaysia, the quality of air is measured using a simple reading system known as the Air Pollutant Index (API). The table below shows the different levels of air quality, depending on the API reading.

*Put in table form and highlight the whole box in the appropriate colours.

0-50 (Good)

51-100 (Moderate)

100-200 (Unhealthy)

200-300 (Very Unhealthy)

Above 300 (Hazardous)

* Information derived from Department Of Environment. For more information on API readings in your area, visit apims.doe.gov.my

How To Wear A Face Mask

Not too sure how to wear a face mask? Here’s how:

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