Want to know how to avoid the ill effects of the haze in Singapore? Read on for our experts’ top tips!
With the dreaded haze creeping back into our lives, it’s time to share our ultimate Sassy Mama Haze Survival Guide! We’ve grilled the best experts out there to get their top tips on surviving the haze (with a handy look at what you can do if you’re stuck indoors for days) so that you and your kids can stay safe inside and still feel good.
Little Green Dot
Advice from our green living mama, Militza!
How can I naturally boost my family’s immunity so that they stay well during the hazy months?
When it’s hazy, our bodies are going to be combating a lot of free radicals in the air and on our skin. Look for foods that are high in anti-oxidants — they help give your body that extra boost and are great at neutralising the nasties! Some of the highest sources of anti-oxidants in the diet come from berries, broccoli, garlic, green tea and tomatoes. But, most importantly, a well-balanced diet will give your body the varied nutrients it needs to stay strong. The air will also be dry, so drink plenty of fluids to keep your body hydrated and give your kiddos lots of water-rich foods like apples and watermelons.
What can I do at home to keep my apartment free from indoor pollution?
You’ll be staying indoors a lot more, so it’s a good idea to get your air-con filters cleaned and it’s also worth investing in a good air purifier with a HEPA filter.
If you use conventional household cleaners, you’ll be exposing your family to even more indoor pollution. Instead, make a simple vinegar cleanser by mixing one-part white vinegar with two-parts water. Use this as you would any multi purpose cleanser: in the kitchen, bathroom, and to clean your little one’s highchair. Don’t worry, your house won’t smell of vinegar! But you can always add a few drops of lavender or lemon essential oil to give it a nice scent.
Top 3 green living tips for post-haze healing?
Seeing families and children walking around in masks, looks like a bad sci-fi movie but that’s the reality of our future if we don’t change the way we impact our earth. Small changes can make a huge difference and we all have a part to play:
1. Buy less. Impulse buys, bargain bins, shopping sprees — these things add clutter to our life and overconsumption causes a strain on our planet’s resources.
2. Make more. Learning to make the things that we use – skincare and home cleaning products. It’s not only better for our planet and health, but it’s also incredibly empowering having the basic skills necessary to make things in a better way.
3. Teach your children. As parents we have an incredible opportunity to create a generation of people who love and respect nature and have the life skills to live sustainably. Teach them about global issues and get them involved in the solutions.
How can I boycott haze-creating industries/companies?
Learn more about the palm oil industry at www.saynotopalmoil.com. Your family can join the 28 day Palm Oil Challenge and get your kiddos involved too! This website was started by a 13 year old and today it’s creating amazing awareness! Alongside the palm oil industry, paper and pulp companies are also being blamed for the haze. Choose recycled paper over virgin pulp.
International Medical Clinic
Advice from their resident paediatricians!
What health effects can be expected during hazy weather and who is at risk from the health effects of the haze?
Transient symptoms such as eye irritation, sneezing and coughing may be experienced when the PSI approaches “unhealthy” levels (PSI 100-200). The very young and very old, those with significant allergies and those with chronic heart or respiratory conditions may be more susceptible to the ill effects of unhealthy air quality.
What should I do if the PSI levels are at unhealthy levels?
Everyone should stay indoors and avoid outdoor activities. This is especially true for children, people with respiratory problems and chronic illnesses, as well as pregnant women. Even if you are healthy and have an N95 mask, you should minimise the time you spend outdoors and avoid any strenuous activities.
What type of masks should be used?
Surgical masks and paper masks do not provide adequate protection. Respiratory masks like the ‘N95’ (available at most pharmacies or medical clinics) filter the air before the person wearing the respirator inhales it. N95 masks need to be properly fitted and correctly worn to be of any use – here’s a great website that shows you how.
Do note however, that a lot of respiratory effort is needed to breathe through these masks and prolonged use can cause headaches (from lack of oxygen) as well as pressure effects on the skin and ear lobes. Young children, some elderly people, people with severe lung disease, heart disease or stroke, and pregnant women in their 2nd and 3rd trimesters should not wear N95 masks unless advised by their doctor. People who are already breathless at rest should not wear the N95 mask.
During a haze:
N95 masks are recommended for individuals who need to undertake prolonged and strenuous work outdoors when air quality is in the very unhealthy range.
N95 masks are not needed for:
- short exposure, like commuting from home to school or work
- in an indoor environment
Can my child wear an N95 mask?
The N95 masks that are currently available have not been designed by the manufacturer for use in children. Further, to be effective, N95 masks need to maintain a well-fitted seal at all times, which may be difficult to achieve in young children. In addition, young children may find it uncomfortable to wear a tight-fitting mask and will very likely adjust the mask that is worn, reducing the effectiveness of the mask. Children should adhere to the recommendation to minimise outdoor activity at PSI levels above 100, and avoid outdoor activity if PSI levels reach higher than 200.
It also goes without saying mamas that if you or your child is having severe breathing difficulties it’s always a good idea to seek medical advice as soon as possible — give the doctors at International Medical Clinic a call, or if it’s an absolute emergency head to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
Advice from their health guru!
Top 3 tips for naturally beating the haze?
First, stay out of the haze as much as possible! Reduce time spent outside, seek out areas where the air is cleaner or consider going somewhere where there is little haze (remember the mass bail out last year mamas?).
Second, drink lots of pure, filtered water to help flush your body of the residuals from the haze. Keeping your body hydrated also supports your immune system, and a strong immune system is paramount to optimal health.
Third, practice deep breathing exercises to keep your respiratory system functioning optimally (plus it also helps reduce stress!).
Are there any “detoxifying” foods that kids and families could include in their diet to help keep well?
You can consider consuming foods that contain probiotics, like kombucha or kefir, or taking probiotic supplements. Priobiotics are great for keeping the digestive and immune systems healthy and strong.
Some great options include:
Clover Organic Traditional Plain Kefir
Packed with 10 beneficial live and active probiotic kefir cultures, along with the freshest fruit available, this tasty and healthy beverage is a great option for families. Drinking kefir is an excellent way to promote improved wellbeing and a balanced immune system and is great for those with milk sensitivities. $21.90 per bottle.
One of Kombucha’s greatest health benefits is its ability to detox the body. It’s rich in many of the enzymes and bacterial acids your body produces and/or uses to detox your system, thus reducing the pancreatic load and easing the burden on the liver. Kombucha is anti-oxidant rich, boosting your immune system and energy levels. $9.10 per bottle.
Do you have any recommendations for essential oils or other alternative therapies that are useful for health during polluted weather?
Therapeutic Essential Oils are very helpful for strengthening the respiratory and immune systems against pollution, as well as assisting with the treatment of related symptoms, especially in little ones.
Dr. Bo Hendgen, Founder of Absolute Essential Therapeutic Plant Oils, recommends the following:
*Sinus Clear ($38.00 for 10ml) for sinus related symptoms
*Immune Plus ($37.50 for 10ml) to strengthen and protect the immune system
For the above, it is recommended to place 1-3 drops on a tissue and inhale (you could even put it on the inside of a face mask). Repeat 1 to 2 times per hour or while outside and exposed.
For children, the Child Immune Plus ($37.50 for 10ml) can be applied in the same way as above.
For babies, the Baby Care Nose and Chest ($37.50 for 10ml) can be used, but apply a drop to the collar of your child’s dress or jumpsuit. The vapour will protect your baby’s breathing.
If your baby or child develops a cough, you can use the Chest Care Cream ($57.50 for 10ml) and apply to the chest and rib cage.
All products are available at SuperNature’s Flagship Store at Forum the Shopping Mall, #B1-05/09, 583 Orchard Road, Singapore 238884.
And if all else fails mama and you find yourself stuck indoors for days at a time with tinies underfoot, you can always look to our super comprehensive Rainy Day Survival Guides to get you through. Part 1 has you covered for the best indoor playrooms and soft plays in Singapore, while Part 2 is packed with ideas for what to do with kids when you’re stuck at home all day!
Top image sourced via Pinterest