Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Haze Triggered my Allergic Rhinitis!

The past week in Singapore has been aweful. We have been invaded by horrible haze originating from Indonesia due to forest fire as a result of farmers using slash and burn method to clear their fields. Read more about it here.

This is the worst haze in Singapore history. I experienced the bad one in 1997 and it is nowhere close to what we have here in the last few days. You can tell from this chart on the right how bad our current haze is. Our PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) reading hit hazardous level (>300) for a few days last week and such levels could aggravate those with underlying heart and respiratory ailments. Our National Environment Agency (NEA) advised the elderly, young, pregnant and those with such underlying ailments to reducing outdoor activities and physical exertion.

source: NEA
Due to my allergic rhinitis condition, I took quite a few precautionary steps. I hardly went out. And when I did, I wore a mask. And don't get me started on the mask issue. We've been advise to wear N95 mask when the haze gets bad, but the N95 stock was running out everywhere. Its unbelievable! At home, I close all the windows and rely on fans and aircon to keep ventilated. Even with these measures, I could still smell the haze smoke lingering in the air at home. My throat was dry. My eyes were itchy. Needless to say, my nose started acting up at times - sneezing, runny and stuffy. I did not recall getting this reaction back then in 1997 where it hit PSI reading of 226. To be honest, I didn't even wear a mask back then and there was no mask buying frenzy. Life went on as usual and my hubby even continued with his outdoor sports then (which on hindsight was not a wise idea)

The past 2 days has been pretty kind to Singapore as the wind directions have changed. But our neighbour, Malaysia is getting hit hard by the haze due to this change in wind directions, to the extend that some states were declared to be in state of emergency and schools were ordered to be closed.

This haze is expected to last for weeks on even longer. Hopefully the wind gods will continue to be kind to us and the relatively good air condition for the last 2 days will continue so I can have fresh breathable air and not be stuck indoors breathing in stale air.

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