What is the haze?
Forests in Sumatra and Kalimantan in Indonesia are more prone to fires in the hot, dry season (or they are set alight by farmers to clear their land). These are known as “hot spots” which are seen on the satellite images that governments in the region use to monitor the forest fire situation. Depending on the prevailing wind conditions, this can mean the smoke (or ‘haze’) drifts across to Singapore.
Information on haze
You can keep up to date on the Pollution Standard Index (PSI) with the National Environment Agency (NEA) website: https://www.haze.gov.sg. When the haze is prevalent, hourly updates of the PSI are usually provided. You can also download the app “myENV” by NEA for real time alerts on the current PSI levels.
Who should be concerned?
We advise all our patients, and especially those with chronic heart or lung problems (like asthma), the pregnant, the elderly and the very young to pay special attention to haze readings. In general, we should all keep well hydrated and be aware of the current PSI and tailor the intensity and duration of our outdoor activities accordingly.
Use this chart as a guide to check if you should be exercising outdoors:
|24 Hours PSI||Healthy People||Elderly, Pregnant women and children||People with chronic heart and lung disease|
|0-50 GOOD||Normal activities||Normal activities||Normal activities|
|50-100 MODERATE||Normal activities||Normal activities||Normal activities|
|101 - 200 UNHEALTHY||Reduce prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion||Minimise prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion||Avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion|
|201-300 VERY UNHEALTHY||Avoid prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical||Minimise outdoor activity||Avoid outdoor activity|
|300 + HAZARDOUS||Minimise outdoor activity||Avoid outdoor activity||Avoid outdoor activity|
All patients with asthma should come in ahead of this season for a consultation so that we can ensure that you are stocked up with your medications and we can formulate a personalised asthma action plan for you. This will guide you in your activities and how much medication to take in various situations. In general you may need to either start, maintain or step up your preventive medication.
N95 masks are recommended for healthy individuals who need to undertake prolonged and strenuous work outdoors when the air quality is in the very unhealthy range. IMC does stock N95 masks however remember that N95 masks are not needed for:
- short exposure, like commuting from home to school or work
- an indoor environment
They should not be worn by people with heart or lung problems as they require a lot of effort to breathe through (if properly fitted) and will put too much strain on the heart and lungs. It is better to adhere to the activity chart for the various PSI levels instead.
If you have any concerns please make an appointment with a doctor.
Dr Lim Hui Ling
Dr Lim is based at IMC Jelita.
For appointments please call T: 6465 4440