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Published: Wednesday June 19, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday June 19, 2013 MYT 1:23:05 PM

Ready for hazy days ahead

ALTHOUGH Ipoh has not been affected by the haze, residents are taking precautionary measures to keep healthy and are on the lookout for it.

In the meantime, they are continuing with their regular outdoor activities such as taking a walk and a jog in the public park.

Ex-army officer Abdul Hamid Othman, 54, who was met at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Recreational Park said he had not seen much difference in the air quality and would continue with his daily jogs.

“From what I read in the newspapers, the haze situation in Ipoh is not as bad compared to Malacca and a few other cities.

“As for my own experience, I have not had any breathing difficulties during my recent exercises, whether indoors or outdoors.

“As long as the Health Ministry does not officially release a warning against outdoor physical activities here, I feel safe enough to continue my daily routine,” he said.

Seventy-year-old Lim Wah Sing said he would consider buying face masks for him and his five-year-old granddaughter for their daily outings to the park if there was haze.

“I feel as fit as ever, but I worry for my granddaughter’s health.

“She has not complained of the poor air quality, but I must take steps to ensure her health as she is still young and her health might be affected in the long run,” he said.

As for sales promoter K. Kavita Devi, 27, she is closely monitoring the news for updates on the haze situation.

“I still remember back in 2005 when the haze was really bad.

“I was studying in Kuala Lumpur then and classes had to be cancelled to ensure students’ and lecturers’ safety.

“Hopefully, the situation won’t reach that stage this time around, but it is best to be alert,” she told The Star while resting from a run around the park.

Schools in Ipoh are also monitoring the air quality index and are prepared to limit outdoor activities if necessary.

SMJK Sam Tet principal Lau Swee Mun said if there was a mild haze, outdoor activities such as physical education classes and co-curricular activities would be held in the indoor basketball court or school hall instead.

“However, if the haze becomes very serious, theoretical classes will be held inside classrooms instead, which we have done last year.

“During the Monday morning assembly, we remind the students to bring masks if they are allergic to dust and teachers will also keep an eye on asthmatic students,” he said.

SJK(C) Ave Maria Convent Ipoh headmistress Tan Lee Ei said the school had been in close contact with the state Education Department and its Parent-Teacher Association.

“The department will send out instructions to the schools, such as stopping outdoor activities and various other precautions when necessary.

“Now the air quality is good, but we will continue to monitor the situation,” she said.

Tan said extra curricular activities are currently held in a covered area, which did not pose any problem if the haze worsened.

Large outdoor events such as Ipoh International Waiter’s Race on June 29 and Ipoh International Run (IRR) 2013 on July 7, organised by the Ipoh City Council are not affected for now.

Council secretary Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Ariff said he would raise the issue at the next organising committee meeting of both events.

“The Health Department is also involved in the committee and there have been no instructions to postpone the event from them, so we will proceed as planned. We will take preventive measures when instructed by them,” he said.

Malaysia Medical Association Perak branch chairman and general practitioner Dr Yek Sing Chee advised the public to take precautionary steps during the haze.

“My clinic usually sees an increase of 20% to 30% in patients seeking treatment for illnesses brought on or worsened by the haze.

“Among the common illness is upper respiratory tract infections such as tonsillitis and pharyngitis, which leads to severe cough and are difficult to treat.

“Besides that, there would be a spike in acute gastroenteritis (AGE) cases as the erratic weather causes food hygiene problems,” he said.

Dr Yek said the demographics most affected by the haze were senior citizens, younger children and those working outdoors who are exposed to dusty conditions.

“I advise them to cut down on outdoor exercises, stay indoors as much as possible and drink plenty of water.

“They should also take a lukewarm bath before bedtime, but avoid using too cold water as it would cause their bodies to regenerate the lost heat,” he said.

Contrary to popular belief, Dr Yek said taking spicy food would actually help people keep healthy during the hot and hazy weather.

“Taking spicy food makes you sweat, which helps your body evaporate heat and increase circulation.

“However, coffee and alcohol should be avoided as these drinks cause people to pass urine more which could lead to dehydration,” he said.

Tags / Keywords: Environment, Community, News, haze

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