The Haze: Do’s and Don’t’s
A simple list of do’s and don’t’s as suggested by the APOSL Science Club.
It does look as though the haze is here to stay for weeks to come. While the various politicians battle it out with a war of words, let’s leave them to it and do what we can to protect ourselves.
Guideline on selecting the proper mask. | Source: APOSL Science Club (Facebook)
- Shut the windows (including the windows in your bathroom) and doors of your house and stay indoors.
- Check the DOE’s Air Pollutant Index daily. Any number higher than 200 is very unhealthy.
- Consider buying a N95 respirator to use for when you go out. Read the instructions and learn to wear it correctly. The method of using one can vary depending on the model and manufacturer – always consult your doctor first. Remember that respirators are usually unsuitable for children and pregnant women, and if you are a man, it will require you to shave your facial hair to ensure the mask can form a proper seal. (1)(2)
- Use the air-conditioner as it can also help filter the air. If at all possible, consider replacing your air-conditioner filters with HEPA filters, high efficiency filters that remove fine particles from the air.To save money, have the entire family sit together in the room and take this opportunity to bond. Watch some television (a series marathon, anyone?), play tabletop games or simply break out the iPads and laptops. We recommend watching videos from TED, as there are quite literally hundreds of hours of useful and interesting knowledge to broaden one’s horizons. (5)
- Go to an indoor gym more often. Restricting oneself indoors is no excuse to sit around all day and be lazy. Exercising outdoors has clearly become a liability, so why not take a quick drive and enroll in your nearest gym? The cheaper alternative is to work out at home. Stretching exercises are recommended as they don’t take up much space and you still get the some of the benefits of exercise. Consider investing in a yoga mat.
- When driving to work, look for the recirculate button in your car. Most cars have this function. This keeps the particulate counts in your car lower. (1)
- Turn on the air-purifier if you have one. Remember to check and clean the filters in the air-conditioners and purifier regularly to keep them operating at maximum efficiency.
- Have a bottle of eyedrops handy for those who suffer from eye irritation.
- Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Wash your hands and face when entering from outdoors. Dust particles are essentially breeding grounds for bacteria.
- Shower and change into a fresh set of clothes as soon as you come home.
- Do not use surgical masks and wet bandannas. They are poor substitutes and are not recommended for use as they do not form a proper seal on the face to prevent you from inhaling unfiltered air. (2)(4)
- Do not smoke or burn anything inside the house, such as candles or incense, as this will increase the amount of dust indoors. (5)
- Do not use ozone generators to purify the air. This may be more dangerous than it’s worth. (1)(3)(5)
[These ideas and advice are adapted from the APOSL Science Club’s Facebook discussion. For further information on the haze and what it contains, please refer here.]
1) Health and Fire Safety — FAQ
Featured image from The Guardian.