You can’t control the haze, but you can take measures to protect yourself and minimise the harmful effects of it. By Dawn Chen
Protect yourself against the haze. Photo: 123RF.com/ PaylessImages
You’re probably already familiar with the different ways that the haze can affect you. Perhaps you’ve also experienced them. Now learn how you can protect yourself from the haze in order to minimise its harmful effects with these expert tips from Singapore Medical Group (SMG).
Dr Valerie Tay, medical director and consultant, ear nose and throat (ENT) specialist of SMG ENT Centre, shares tips on how to protect your ENT in light of the haze.
Drink plenty of water.
It’s best to carry a bottle of water with you everywhere, especially if you are always on the go. Drinking lots of water will help reduce throat irritation from the haze, and also protects your voice.
It’s especially important to reduce outdoor physical activity when the PSI is in the unhealthy range (above PSI 100). Instead, exercise in the gym, perform resistance exercises at home with weights, or do high intensity circuit workouts indoors.
When the PSI is in the very unhealthy range (above PSI 200), stay indoors as far as possible. You can also consider using an air filtration device to improve the air quality at home. If you have to spend prolonged periods of time outdoors, wear an N95 mask that has been properly fitted.
Watch your health
Those with pre-existing, chronic medical conditions such as allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma or lung disease should take their medications regularly, and see their doctor if they are feeling unwell.
Dr Daphne Han, medical director and consultant, ophthalmologist of SMG Vision Centre, shares tips on protecting your eyes in light of the haze.
Reduce exposure to the haze
Wearing goggles or broad-rimmed sunglasses help to physically reduce eye exposure to the haze. This minimises the chances of eye irritations.
Cut back on contacts
Reducing contact lens wear is also helpful, as haze can worsen dry eyes. Contact lens users should also consider switching to glasses if eye irritation becomes significant.
Hydrate your eyes
Using preservative-free lubricating eye drops to moisturise and applying cold compress to the eyes can alleviate symptoms of dry and allergic eyes. If you’ve got eye irritations, try an over-the-counter eye drop that’s specifically formulated for eye allergies. These usually contain sodium cromoglycate, a medicinal ingredient that reduces the release of histamine that can cause inflammation of the eyes. Sodium cromoglycate eye drops can be prescribed by doctors, but are also available without prescription.
See a doctor if need be
In severe cases of eye irritation, prescription eye drops may be needed. It’s important to visit an ophthalmologist before starting on a treatment plan as some patients may require steroid eye drops, which could have side effects.
Keeping the body healthy and well-hydrated by drinking plenty of fluid can also improve dry eyes and overall well-being. For an added boost, you can consider taking omega-3 fish oil in a capsule form as well.
Dr Gavin Ong, medical director and consultant, dermatologist of The Skin Specialist shares tips on preventing premature skin-ageing in light of the haze.
Antioxidants are your BFF
Pick skincare products with antioxidants to protect your skin against free radical damage and reduce the harmful effects of the haze. Skin is also usually drier than usual, so choose a good moisturiser as well.
Protect yourself from harmful UV rays
To prevent premature skin ageing, continue using a broad-spectrum sunscreen even though it’s hazy outside as UV rays can still shine through. Consider using sun-protective gear like hats and umbrellas too.