As if the heat isn’t defeating us already, here comes a wave of haze that wafts in from Sumatra, Indonesia. The bad news is this hazy weather is projected to stay for the next few days. The 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) is showing a steady upward climb toward unhealthy levels. Some areas are almost reaching the 101 reading - a sign of unhealthy air quality.
As soon as we step out of our doorsteps, the burning smell irritates our senses. Several adverse effects might occur later when we stay outdoor for too long - eye irritation, dry throat, coughing, headaches, stuffy nose, etc. Other than creating a "haze season" Spotify playlist for yourself, here we recommend some essentials to help you brave this haze season.
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During the haze season, we're advised to stay indoors more often. Make sure to keep all entryways and windows closed while at home. You may think air conditioners are good enough for air circulation, but all they do is recycling contaminated air. They aren’t able to filter fine particles and toxic gases. Contaminants that are floating in the air indoor are invisible to our naked eyes. What air purifiers do to our homes is filtering out contaminants in the air and removing unwanted odours. They are beneficial for keeping your air clean and fresh, especially if you or your family members are sensitive to harmful airborne particles or have breathing problems. Do invest in one of the best air purifiers out there for cleaner air and living environment.
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We can’t leave our homes without masks to help protect our respiratory system. The best masks to protect yourself from inhaling the haze are N-95 masks. The name comes from the function of filtering at least 95% of airborne particles. It’s important to keep in mind that N-95 masks are only effective if you put them on correctly and fit your face nicely without leaving any gaps. Cheaper masks like single-ply (mostly white) and three-ply masks (mostly green or blue, and thicker), or cloth masks are ineffective for ultrafine particles (PM 2.5 microns or less). Note that the airborne particles that cause haze may be as small as 2.5 microns.
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The dust particles in the air are bound to clog our pores, considering that they mix with our sebum and sweat. A deep cleansing routine should be prioritised daily as you get home. Double cleanse, exfoliate, moisturise and sunscreen your skin daily to keep pollutants away from your skin. Applying serums with antioxidants and probiotics on the skin can also boost skin health, improve skin texture, and help prevent skin cancer. If you’re out and about, carry along some gentle wet wipes that can be used on your skin. Wipe your hands and neck from time to time when you feel icky.
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Having a healthy and nutrient-packed diet can help protect you from illnesses in this hazy weather. Stock up on vitamin supplements and take them daily. During the haze season, many of us may not get enough Vitamin D from the sunlight, which can be substituted with supplements. Aside from that, consuming foods (especially fruits and vegetables) with Vitamin C, E, beta-carotene and Omega-3 could help combat free radicals and aid in tissue growth and repair. If you find your daily meal consumptions aren’t supporting you with sufficient nutrients, then vitamin supplements are good complements to your diet.
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Last but not least, drink up! Keep yourself hydrated with at least 2 litres of water daily. Water can help our body flush out haze toxins absorbed by our lungs and skin. The toxins force our kidney to function with extra energy, that’s why we need water to help our kidneys to excrete toxins easily. Keep a reusable water bottle with you, so you don’t have to make the rounds through convenience stores to load up on mineral water bottles.