Haze – What can happen to my child ?

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(pic source : Malaysiakini.com) 

 

Why is haze bad for you ? 

In the event of haze, our air contains an unhealthy level of particulate matter (PM) which would cause health issues especially in the heart and lungs. Besides causing cough and breathing difficulty, exposure to haze will also cause irritation to the skin, eyes, throat and nose – causing rashes, congested nose, itchy eyes and sore throat. It may also increase the tendency to fall sick.

Are children more sensitive to haze ?

It is more common for children to develop health problems from haze. This is the same for the elderly and those who have chronic heart and lung illnesses. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention if your child develop breathing difficulties or other respiratory symptoms during this time.

How do I protect my child ? 

  • Avoid outdoor activity
  • Drink more water. It is good to be well hydrated always.
  • If going outdoor is unavoidable – wear a mask. A N95 mask is the most suitable to prevent breathing in particulate matters that may escape through a normal surgical mask. (However, a N95 mask without tight fitting defeats the purpose)  You don’t need to wear the mask indoors.
  • Pay attention to the daily Air Pollution Index (API). API of >100 is considered very unhealthy and you should avoid going out with your child.
  • Close doors and windows
  • Seek medical attention/see a doctor if your child develop cough and breathing difficulty
  • No Smoking ! ( It is never a good idea to smoke especially when your child is around)
  • If you are using an air-conditioner – please make sure the filters are clean

 

My child has asthma – What to do ?

Parents and caretakers should take extra precaution with children with asthma and other chronic lung conditions. This is because while other children may just develop mild symptoms due to the haze without requiring medication and a visit to the doctor, a child with asthma may develop severe attack which could be life-threatening. Caretakers should adhere to the medication (inhaler) regime as prescribed by the doctor, and minimise exposure to the unhealthy environment.

Be familiar with the asthma action plan that should have been discussed with you during routine follow-up.

Same precaution also to be taken for children with chronic heart conditions and those with allergic skin and nose.

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(information gathered by Dr Foo Chee Hoe )

References:-
http://www.hpb.gov.sg/HOPPortal/health-article/HPB051226
http://www.healthxchange.com.sg/healthyliving/childrenhealth/Pages/children-and-the-haze-in-singapore.aspx
http://www.babycenter.com.my/a1029128/haze-protecting-your-baby

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