Whenever the haze rolls around, you might find yourself sniffing or tearing more than usual. Sometimes, you might even start coughing, get a sore throat, and develop skin rashes. Doctors from respective fields shed light on how exactly the haze affects your throat, eyes and skin.
Haze and your throat
Dr Valerie Tay, ear nose and throat consultant at Tan Tock Seng Hospital explains how the haze affects your throat and respiratory tract.
Why does the haze give me a sore throat?
Haze contains irritants and particulate matter that can traumatise the lining of our air passages and throat, leading to inflammation. This usually causes your throat to feel sore. The irritation can also lead to frequent coughing, which can further aggravate the inflammation of your voice box, which gives rise to throat pain and a hoarse voice.
How does the haze affect my respiratory tract?
The PSI (Pollutant Standards Index) measures the concentration of particulate matter (PM) less than 10 microns in size, and PM 2.5 measures that of particles smaller than 2.5 microns in size. In general, the smaller the particulate matter, the easier it can penetrate your lungs. PM 2.5 is more dangerous as it can enter deep into the small sacs of your lungs and may even be able to cross into your bloodstream. It is also thought that PM 2.5 can trigger inflammation and oxidative damage, hence increasing the risk of plaque formation in the blood vessels.
Is breathing in the haze similar to breathing in second hand smoke?
The haze is an accumulation of dust, smoke, exhaust and other particulate matter in the atmosphere. While it’s also made up of fine particulate matter and harmful toxic chemicals, its components are not the same as that of second hand smoke from cigarettes.
Can long-term exposure to the haze cause further health complications?
Studies have shown that long-term exposure to the haze can cause both lung and heart disease. On the other hand, short-term exposure to the haze tends to cause more effects on our upper respiratory tract such as cough, throat irritation and runny nose.