[Info] 5 tips to beat the haze condition in Singapore!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

*We decided to resurface the following article in view of the current haze condition in Singapore.

(Photo credits: Yahoo! News Singapore)

It seemed like a yearly mantra that Singaporeans and even Malaysians this time round have to suffer due to the irresponsible behaviour of others. In order to clear land for usage, the classic 'slash-and-burn' technique is conveniently used by palm oil companies for it seemed like the most economical way. It is times like this where you pause and question the fundamentals of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of MNCs, where commercial interests in Indonesia have been allowed to supersede environmental concerns.

Right, so what can we do as innocent victims beside complaining on social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter where realistically it is not going to help us in any forms more than an avenue of frustration release. While the haze conditions persist, we thought it would be good to share some useful tips to protect ourselves!

1) Changing your diet

  • Vitamin A - which helps protect eyes, lungs and oxygen-carrying capabilities of bloodstream. The haze destroys the Vitamin A stores in lung tissues hence reducing body's defense. We recommend including carrots, sweet potatoes and spinach in your diet.
  • Vitamin C &E - these two vitamins work cohesively to keep lung tissue healthy by building a protective protein that prevents enzymes released during inflammation from damaging the lung. Papaya, oranges, kiwi and broccoli will give you a Vit-C boost while some almond and pine nuts would settle the Vit-E.
  • Selenium - This is a vital nutrient to the immune system as it works with Vit C, E and B3 as an antioxidant to prevent free radical damage to the body. The primary benefit is to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Good food sources of selenium include grains (wheat germ, barley, oats, brown rice), nuts and fish (tuna, halibut, sardines, salmon).
  • Reduce alcohol and caffeine intake - These help promote water loss and leach of important nutrients from the body. In place, drink plenty of water and keep body hydrated.
  • Reduce intake of dairy products, sugars and refined white flours - As our body produces mucus in reaction to infections such as flu and cough, excess mucus is produced when allergic reaction causes inflammation to the linings of the airway. In place, consume more greens, especially leaf vegetables such as spinach and kale - they contribute to your 5-a-day anyway!

2) DIY remedies

  • Boil a pot of water and drip some peppermint aromatherapy oil and inhale deeply.
  • Mince some garlic cloves and add honey to submerge then cover with cling wrap and leave it overnight (no need to refrigerate). Consume the mixture early in the morning on an empty stomach and throughout the day as needed. I am sure your colleagues will appreciate if you pop some mint after!
  • Add 2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into a glass of luke-warm water and consume in the morning or when needed if you feel mucus building up in your throat. The acidity from the vinegar will help dissolve the mucus and clear your throat.
  • We find that applying some Chinese medicated oil (驱风油) gives a temporal relief too, worth a try to apply a subtle amount to the area just under your nose and take easy breaths.

3) Wear a mask - the right mask

  • Please avoid being a fashionista for the time being and protect yourself with a N95 respiratory mask, available in most pharmacies and polyclinics. Seems like most are out of stock at the moment, so would be worth trying to buy them online. The purpose of this mask is to keep out fine particulate matter and protects users from inhaling the smoke particles in the air. Do have it changed periodically whenever it gets soiled or distorted in shape.

  •  Many people conveniently assume that these common surgical masks are sufficient but please read on. The primary purpose of these masks is to prevent the spread of body fluids such as saliva when one has flu symptoms. It does not filter out haze particles like the N95 mask.

4) Alleviating eye irritation

  • For those with sensitive eyes or constant users of contact lens, please apply drops of saline solution at least twice daily (or when needed) which act as natural tear supplements to wash away haze compounds or dust particles trapped around the eyes. An alternative would be to cry daily - so...probably not I guess?
  • For the infants, Baby Centre Singapore suggested that mothers could use a few drops of breast milk to wash out their babies' eyes in order to reduce irritation. (Try at own risk please as we had not actually done this ourselves but merely sharing this piece of information)

5) Avoid exposure and try to remain indoors

  • This is quite 'duh' but probably the most obvious solution. For the time being, it would be good to refrain from engaging aerobic and cardiovascular activities such as running and cycling outdoors as they tend to make you breathe deeply, taking in more unwanted pollutants into the body. For the health and fitness enthusiasts, it might be worth-while to give your body a break or head to your nearby community fitness centres or gyms.
  • Having air filters or simply ensuring that the air filter attached to your air-conditioner is clean would also be useful when you are staying indoors.
  • A special note to smokers - In addition to exposing your lungs to the same toxins found in hazy conditions, smoking makes your lungs more sensitive to the effects of air pollution, so please think twice before you light that cigarette!

While we are not able to do much to influence the behaviour of others, what we can realistically do at this point in time is to protect ourselves through small measures and tips like we had suggested above. Hopefully these would come in useful for all readers out there. Take care!

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  1. Thks for your lovely note at FB! Great tips here & a wonderful food blog. Looking fwd to sharing :)

    1. thanks for dropping by and the kind comments!!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Vicky, do help us spread the word by sharing the article with family and friends if you find it useful!