Singapore may not have seasons such as spring, summer,
autumn, or winter, but people here joke that we now have our
own four seasons of wet, hot, haze, and flood. While the
flood happens only in certain island’s regions, the haze is
everywhere and is no escape from it when it hits. The haze
occurs usually during the period between May and October and
it is caused by winds bringing in smoke from Sumatra’s
forest fires. Recently Singapore experienced its heaviest
haze conditions since the year 2006.
South-East Asia region is concerned about this situation and
the authorities are working with their Indonesian
counterparts to find ways of combating this haze problem.
However, for the time being haze remains an annual event in
During the haze, the air we breathe may contain dirt, carbon
monoxide, particulate matter, and other pollutants that can
negatively affect our health. Haze’s main potential danger
is respiratory illness but it can also affect skin and eyes.
Many babies, young children and elderly are affected by haze
and develop breathing problems and asthmatics are the
category at the highest risk.
Adult people breathe daily an average of between 15,000 and
20,000 litres of air. Most air contains a limited quantity
of pollutants, indoor as well as outdoor. Pollution is
linked usually to man-made sources, such as vehicle
emissions and industrial pollution. Smoke haze coming from
forest fires can also bring air pollution, like we
experience in Singapore. Biomass combustions create
particulate matter, methane, carbon dioxide and carbon
monoxide. Smoke can also contain sulfur, nitrogen, and other
harmful chemicals, depending on the type of plants being
กค When Is The Haze Dangerous For Health?
The National Environment Agency in Singapore use a system
called the Pollutant Standard Index to measure air pollution
levels. A value of PSI in the range between 0 and 50 is
considered good. A PSI value between 101 and 200 is
considered unhealthy, while values above 300 are considered
hazardous. When the air quality in Singapore is at unhealthy
levels, it can trigger coughing or sneezing, eye irritation,
and aggravation of respiratory illness symptoms, especially
for people suffering from chronic heart or lung ailments.
Hazardous levels of air quality can trigger early onset of
certain disease and can be even life threatening to elderly
and ill persons.
กค Is It Safe To Jog If There Is Haze?
The health advisory by the National Environment Agency
advises the public to reduce exercising and outdoor
activities if there is haze. However, the answer to the
question if is it safe to jog when there is haze, depends on
the PSI value. The higher the value is, the more severe is
the pollution in the air and the more risks for our health
it poses. Generally, for PSI values below 100, for healthy
people it is safe to jog and carry on other normal
activities outside as usual. If you are suffering from heart
or respiratory diseases, it is recommended to refrain from
outdoor activities, including running and jogging, in order
to minimise your exposure to pollutants in the air. We tend
to breathe harder, deeper and at a faster rate than normal
when we exercise and that increases our air intake. We will
inevitable breathe in more harmful particles from the air
into our lungs during a haze. For those who suffer from a
heart or respiratory condition these pollutants can trigger
a heart or asthma attack.
If the PSI value is above 100 there are increased risks of
coughing, sneezing, and getting eye irritation. Beyond this
level it is recommended that even those who are not
suffering from any pre-existing illnesses should minimise
their outdoor activities as much as possible, in order to
limit their contact with air pollutants.
Even if running is usually a healthy activity, going for a
jog during the haze may cause long-term damage to your body.
It is also recommended to close all windows and doors at
home and in the office, and turn on the air conditioner or
the air purifier.
Other measures you can take in order to protect yourself
from the negative health effects of haze are:
- Breathe only through your nose to reduce the amount of
inhaled air pollutants.
- Avoid jogging or other outdoor exercises even in mild haze
conditions if you are asthmatic.
Do not exercise in rush hours to avoid additional pollutants
from vehicle exhaust gases. Quit cigarette smoking and avoid
second hand smoke. The most dangerous combination to avoid
combinations is a mix of humidity, high temperature, and air
pollution. Minimise the amount of time spent in haze
conditions and high pollution areas as the risks and the
side effects are dependent on the dose.
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