Taking care of your health through the haze

PETALING JAYA: Keeping a healthy diet, installing air purifiers and air-conditioners in your house as well as quitting smoking are among measures you can take as the country sees a return of the haze, say medical experts.

You should also drink adequate amounts of water daily, said public health expert Datuk Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar.

“By drinking enough water, we can excrete the toxins that we inhale. Drink at least two litres of water daily or take juices that are freshly squeezed.

“Even those who are healthy are also vulnerable to respiratory diseases caused by the haze if they do not practise prevention such as drinking water, maintaining a good diet, taking their medicines on time and wearing face masks,” he said yesterday.

Anyone facing any breathing difficulties during the hazy weather should go for a check-up, he added.

Dr Zainal Ariffin said it is crucial for Malaysians to limit their movements outside the house as the haze can affect those who are at high risk such as children, the elderly and those with respiratory illnesses like asthma or chronic lung disease.

He also advised smokers to kick their habit, especially when the air quality is poor.

Maintaining a good diet is important as well, said former president of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) Datuk Dr NKS Tharmaseelan, as this could boost your immune system during hazy weather.

“Make sure you consume daily recommended quantities of protein, calcium, vitamins, refined carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients to obtain the sufficient amount of vitamins C, E and Omega-3.

“Stay away from caffeinated drinks and alcohol during the haze. Such beverages, when taken too much, can cause stress to your kidneys,” he added.

Dr Tharmaseelan also advised the public to practice good hygiene by washing their hands, face and feet regularly, which will help wash off toxin residues brought by the haze.

Universiti Malaya public health medicine specialist Dr Sanjay Rampal said constant monitoring of the Air Pollutant Index (API) would help the public to better prepare for when the situation gets worse.

“When the haze gets worse, look at limiting outdoor movements and wearing masks that are appropriate for the weather.

“The only mask that will work is the N95 type, but the issue is that these masks are expensive and not as comfortable, especially for the elderly,” he said.

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