The haze is back with a vengeance and each year, we have to battle with it with much grunts and puffs. Each day, the API index has been increasing since the first day the haze started caused by the open burning done in Riau, Indonesia. Every year, we have heard many news of deteriorating health of many due to the haze, even cases of deaths. Schools were closing due to the hazardous air index. Daily commute and activities outdoor were restricted and a hassle for many.
The government and authorities are working on decreasing the air pollution by implementing cloud seeding to evoke artificial rain, in hope to subsequently reduce the pollution in the air, which it did help.
However, it is also our responsibilities as public citizens as well to reduce pollution and care for our own health as well. The recent #ClimateStrike happening in Kuala Lumpur resonated well with Malaysians’ stance and frustration over the lack of governments intervention to prevent the irresponsible open fire burning happening in our neighbouring country.
Year in and year out, we have to take our own steps to unchoke ourselves. Some cities in Malaysia might have improved API index currently, and some are still on an unhealthy level.
Regardless of where you are, learn 5 ways you can beat the haze!
1. Stay indoors
The authorities will usually make a public announcement advising the public to stay indoors when the outdoor air has become too unhealthy. Avoid exposure to haze as well by keeping the doors and windows closed at all times to prevent the polluted air from going into your home.
For the time being, avoid getting engaged in outdoor activities such as going to the park or open-air gyms to exercise, picnic or swimming. Instead, you can go to an indoor gym or swimming pool to keep your healthy lifestyle going on. On the bright side, build some quality time with your family indoors by watching movies together or have a family game night!
2. Wear a mask when outside
To some people, going outdoor is inevitable either due to their job or the need to run errands. During that time, make sure to wear a suitable mask to protect yourself from the harmful dust particles lingering in the air currently.
However, make sure to choose and use the right mask during haze! You can check out the common and different type of masks being used in haze season:
i. Surgical mask
This mask is commonly used by the public as it is the easiest and cheapest mask being sold at stores. However, surgical masks are designed to catch bodily liquid and not to protect us from the microscopic airborne particles in haze.
ii. Cloth mask
Mainly designed for fashion purposes. At most, a cloth mask is meant to contain the user’s flu or cough viruses from spreading, however does not protect the user from microscopic airborne particles.
iii. N95 mask
This is the mask designed to capture fine dusts and protect against at least 95% of microscopic airborne dust particles found in haze.
3. Stay hydrated
The weather gets unbearable hot and humid during the haze season. There could be no rain for days or even weeks on end. Inhalation of haze can cause irritation and sickness such as sore throat, coughs, and flu. During this time, it is important for us to stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water. So, use that 1.5L water bottle you have been keeping in your cupboard and fill it up today!
4. Avoid open burning and smoking
Unfortunately, even during this unhealthy season, there are some irresponsible parties who still do open burning nonchalantly! It’s like adding salt to the wound by worsening the current air pollution situation we are in. The condition of our air is already unhealthy.
Furthermore, not only are we inhaling the unhealthy air particles into our lungs, smokers might aggravate their respiratory health by continuing to smoke. If you have always wanted to stop smoking, perhaps now is the best time by taking care of your pair of lungs better!
5. Purify indoor air
Being indoors can be potentially harmful as well during this haze season as the air circulated in your house is not perfectly clean. As it is humid and dry, this is the most important time for you to use an air purifier or humidifier to filter unhealthy air particles in your home.
You can also complement by diffusing essential oils to purify the indoor air better! Some of the essential oils that you can use are:
i. Lemon essential oil
Lemon essential oil is not only uplifting, this essential oil also contain antibacterial, antioxidant, and Vitamin C properties that helps to purify the air in your space. Besides that, Lemon essential oil can be used to relieve coughs and cold, soothe sore throat and subsequently make breathing easier to those who have respiratory problems.
ii. Eucalyptus essential oil
Renowned for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, Eucalyptus essential oil is the perfect choice to diffuse during the haze season. Not only will it kill airborne bacteria lingering in polluted and contaminated air, when diffused, this essential oil can also improve respiratory condition, improve seasonal allergies, asthma, flu, sensitive nose, cold, and fight infections.
iii. Tea Tree essential oil
Tea Tree essential oil contains strong antiseptic and antibacterial properties that are important to kill airborne bacteria and fight viral infections. Besides that, Tea Tree essential oil can also relief nasal congestion and respiratory tract infections.
iv. Juniper Berry essential oil
Juniper Berry essential oil contains natural antiseptic, antimicrobial, and powerful antioxidant. These properties are beneficial in many ways that not only it can protect your skin from free radical but also improve respiratory and physical health. Diffusing Juniper Berry essential oil helps expel odours from your home while purifying the air your family breathes and prevent infectious diseases such as flu and coughs.
So there you have it, folks!
Haze season can be very dreadful making people prone to illnesses. Sadly, human greed is the main contributor to the recurring haze every year. By condoning the environmental hazard that resulted from the blatant open fire burning for the easiest and cheapest way to profit, the world is on fire! It is important for us to step forward to do our part to care for our Mother Earth, to make it a better place not only for the future generations but for ourselves in the present too. We only have one Earth, there is no backup planet B.
Regardless of where you are, let’s play our part to make the world a better place.
Stay safe and healthy!