The haze’s threatening presence has come and worsened over the past weeks, with the dry spell making matters worse, despite the cloud-seeding efforts. The situation which is due to forest fires burning in Indonesia, has been going on seasonally for almost 20 years.
Children, especially tend to be more vulnerable as their immune systems are not fully developed. Exposure to the haze can harm the nose, lungs and eyes in otherwise healthy children. They may experience:
- Itchy, watery or red eyes
- Runny nose or blocked nose
- Dry or sore throat
- Dry irritant cough
- Some breathing difficulties
The Malaysian Health Ministry has warned everyone to avoid outdoor activities if the air pollution index (API) exceeds 100. This is especially important for children and those suffering from respiratory illnesses and heart problems as they would be more affected by exposure to haze.
Use these simple tips to protect your child’s health:
1. To improve the air quality of your house even further, clean your house on a regular basis. Vacuuming is also important in removing particles around the house.
2. Try to keep your children indoors and cut down on physical activity. Get them to drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated.
3. Close all windows and doors so that the haze particles can’t get in. Turn the fans on to cool and circulate the air inside the house.
4. If using an air conditioner, clean the filters regularly and ensure that they are in good working order. Turning on the air-conditioner helps filter out the pollutants, and still provide sufficient air for your home.
5. Use air purifiers, especially in the kids’ bedrooms.
6. If you plan to go outdoors with your child, you might want to put a mask on the child. The N95 mask is not suitable for children and using surgical masks on children still leaves gaps that allow the harmful particles to enter. Get the AIR+ Smart mask ― for use by children aged 7 and above. It also comes with a rechargeable micro-ventilator (sold separately).
7. If your kid suffers from allergies or asthma, make sure you change her bedding more frequently and keep her soft toys away, to reduce exposure to allergens.
8. Build up your child’s immunity by consuming more fruits and vegetables. Ensure that you wash the vegetables and fruits properly to get rid of any dust or dirt before cooking and consumption.