by Growing Needs | Oct 18, 2023 | Lifestyle & Wellness, Wellness
Singapore faces a hazy season from the regional forest fires due to deforestation for agricultural purposes. Its severity can be exacerbated during dry periods, shifts in wind patterns, and reduced rainfall. The key air pollutant of concern during haze is particulate matter (PM). Short-term exposure, such as continuous exposure to unhealthy daily average PSI levels over a period of a few days, to these air pollutants can cause respiratory symptoms and aggravate existing heart or lung disease. Exposure to particulate matter may also irritate healthy individuals’ eyes, nose, and throat. In general, children, the elderly, and people with chronic lung disease and heart disease are more sensitive to the health effects of haze. They should adopt the preventive measures in the MOH health advisory when air quality is poor. Individuals are advised to consult their doctor should they develop breathing difficulties.
Should you head outside during this haze season? Refer to the guide below to check on the recommended actions. For real-time PSI level updates, head to http://www.haze.gov.sg/ or download the myENV app to stay updated!
Essential Steps For Seniors in Prepping Their House To Stay Haze Free:
(i) Close doors and windows when the outdoor air quality appears to be worsening.
Seniors must prioritize their health when outdoor air quality deteriorates. If they notice that the haze is worsening, a practical step to take is simply to close doors and windows in your home. This will help to reduce the rate of haze particles entering the home. Install air purifiers in your homes to clean and filter the dust particles in your living space. This straightforward action can make a significant difference by preventing haze particles from entering your living space, ensuring that seniors breathe cleaner, safer air. Caregivers and seniors can keep updated on the PMI index here.
(ii) Stay indoors and reduce physical activities.
During haze, seniors should prioritise their health and well-being by staying indoors and minimising physical activities outside. However, this doesn’t mean you have to be sedentary. Various indoor exercises suitable for seniors can help you stay active and maintain your fitness. Consider activities like yoga, tai chi, chair exercises, or even walking around home to keep your joints limber. These exercises can help you stay in shape while safeguarding your health during hazy periods. However, do ensure that there is someone to supervise your safety when performing these indoor exercises. In top of exercising, remember to drink plenty of water to flush out the toxins we breathe in during this hazy season.
(iii) Air Purifiers Stationed at Community Centres
Community activities organised by the People’s Association and its grassroots organisations will be guided by the 24-hour PSI forecast issued by NEA and the accompanying health advisory. Air-conditioned rooms in all Community Centres/Clubs (CC) and selected Residents’ Committee (RC) Centres/Residents’ Network (RN) Centres will be on standby for members of the public who want to seek respite from the haze should the 24-hour PSI reading cross into the ‘Very Unhealthy’ level (PSI >200). Residents may contact their nearest CCs or refer to the notice boards situated on the first floor near their lift lobbies.
(iv) Wear a N95 mask instead of a surgical mask
The difference between an N95 mask and a surgical mask is the effectiveness in filtering dust particles. While a surgical mask filters water droplets and protects the wearer from infectious water droplets, an N95 mask effectively filters fine particles like PM2.5. Furthermore, N95 masks are about 95% effectively protect the wearer from airborne particles as tiny as 0.1 to 0.3 microns.
(v) Boost Your Immunity
Especially for seniors with weaker immune systems, haze could weaken their body’s defence against bacteria and allergens. To prevent this, seniors should build up their immunity with foods rich in vitamin C (oranges, guava, strawberries), vitamin E (nuts and seeds) and omega-3 fatty acids (oily fish).
In haze-prone Singapore, safeguarding senior citizens’ health during the annual haze season is vital. These simple measures can make a significant difference in ensuring the well-being of seniors during Singapore’s haze season. Remember, your health is paramount, and preparedness is key in facing this recurring challenge.
Growing Needs grew out of our own encounters with caring for our aging parents and reflecting on the Growing Needs that we ourselves would face as we advance in years. We hope to build a community that will learn, share and contribute towards caring for the growing needs of our loved ones.