Haze is an atmospheric condition where particles, smoke, dust and moisture suspend in the air obscuring visibility. Sources of haze include emissions from power plants, industrial activities, traffic as well as farming practices.
Forest fires in countries like the US, Australia and Europe during the hot and dry summer season are also a source of haze.
In Southeast Asia, haze poses a serious and recurring problem every year, particularly between May to October, due to the burning of forests in some countries to clear land. The Air Quality and Pollution Index over the past week (Aug 5 – Aug 14 2015) has been increasing and according to the index below is reaching dangerously high levels. So what can we do to help ourselves?
Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.
Everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects
I have been in countries where the haze has been due to pollution from traffic, industrial activities and now from forest fires. I normally have an allergic reaction to these conditions where my eyes will not stop watering, I sneeze incontrollably , feel very low in energy and cannot wait to get fly out to another country where the air is cleaner!
However, I know many of us do not have that option so I would like to share with you some of the little tips and tricks that have helped me and hope that you may find some relief from trying out one or more of these tips.
- Drink Plenty of fresh, filtered water with slices of lemon . If you have access to parsley and coriander (wash them well please), tear the leaves off the stem and put them into your GLASS bottle of water with the lemon slices . No plastic bottles please!
- Increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, increase Vit C intake and any supplements that strengthen your immune system. They help the body to flush out toxins absorbed through the skin and lungs, and a strong immune system will help prevent inflammation that could lead to other health issues. Cut down on alcohol and coffee as they promote fluid loss and leach nutrients from the body. Use Apple Cider Vinegar or lemon juice to soak fruits and vegetbles in for about 2-3 min to make sure any pollutants are removed as far as possible. Choose organic only where possible.
- Stay away from processed foods, sugar, dairy as these put more pressure onto your body that is already being attacked by external pollutants. Eat meat/fish/eggs sparingly if at all.
- Avoid outdoor activities, especially outdoor sports.Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those suffering from chronic illnesses, especially heart and respiratory disease, should remain indoors when haze hits unhealthy levels. Healthy adults should avoid unnecessary outdoor activities. If you must exercise outdoor, avoid exercising in highly congested areas near busy roads and freeways, particularly during rush hours.
- Close all windows, doors and any openings that may allow haze to enter your home and office.Turn on the air conditioner if you have one. Note: If the weather is unusually warm, it can become dangerous if you stay indoor with no fresh air intake and do not have an air conditioner. In this case, seek alternative shelter.
- Use an air purifier to keep the particulate levels low.Choose an air purifier that is suitable for the size and type of your home. Avoid air cleaners that generate ozone as they may generate more air pollutants. If you have multiple rooms, each room may need to be equipped with one air purifier to ensure the air is cleaned efficiently. Regularly replace the filters in the air purifier according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Keep air conditioner in tip-top working condition with regular cleaning and servicing.Fine particles can enter an air-conditioned building through the fresh air intake as well as any openings and gaps.
- If you are staying in a building with a central air conditioning system, install an air cleaning device.This helps to reduce the amount of air contaminants that may be circulating in the building.
- Take your medication regularly if you are suffering from an existing disease, especially heart disease and respiratory disease.If you feel breathless at any point in time, seek medical attention immediately.
- Limit or avoid smoking indoor and the use of gas stove, wood fireplace, candles, incense and anything that burns and emits smoke.In an enclosed area, smoke, gases and pollutants emitted from burning sources are trapped indoor and can build up to hazardous level if they continue to burn for an extended period of time.
- Dry skin brushing or exfoliating your skin in the bath or shower. See http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/24/dry-skin-brushing.aspx You can also use a loofah to exfoliate your skin in a shower or bath – the skin is your largest organ, exposed daily to pollutants around you. So cleaning your skin and then nourishing it will allow you to keep the internal body clean as well.
- Put a couple of drops of Eucalyptus oil in a small dish of steaming hot water. Hang your head over the bowl, place a towel over the back of your head to create a tent, close your eyes and gently breathe in the healing qualities of this oil until you feel your sinuses begin to drip. Do a few times throughout the day. It’s effective and easy.
- Alternate nostril breathing.Cover your right nostril and inhale though your left nostril for a count of five. Hold for a count of five. Then cover your left nostril and exhale through your right nostril for a count of five. Inhale through your right nostril and hold for five.. Cover your right nostril and exhale through your left. Do four more rounds. This helps ease symptoms.
- Downward-facing dog is a position that will help relieve stuffiness and drain trapped mucus from your nasal passage. Here’s an abbreviated way to perform this classic posture: Get on “all fours”, with hands positioned directly beneath your shoulders. Raise your bottom straight up into the air as you straighten both your arms and legs. You will resemble an inverted “V”. Press your hands and feet firmly into the floor as you push your buttocks up into the air. Inhale and exhale for a count of five; repeat four more times. Walk your hands in close to your feet (It’s okay to slightly bend your knees, if necessary.) and slowly return to standing.
- Reflexologyis a very effective way to clear sinus congestion. If you feel your sinuses congested or swollen, either visit a qualified reflexologist for relief or work your own sinus points. The sinus points are located on the pads of all of the toes and fingers. Breathe into points that feel sensitive until you feel a change in the level of sensation.
- Add enough horseradish, chili peppers, cayenne, wasabi or hot mustard to your food to cause your nasal passages to temporarily decongest.
- DIY ‘Vaseline’ – you will need:
1/4 cup Organic Cold Pressed Olive oil
1/4 cup Virgin Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
2 TBSP Beeswax
You can use 1/2 cup of either olive oil or coconut oil if you don’t have both. Coconut oil will be antibacterial and healing. Olive oil will be antioxidant rich and nourishing.
- Fill a medium sized pot with water and add a glass bowl with a spout.
- Turn stove top to medium heat.
- Add oils and wax.
- Allow the ingredients to melt completely.
- Pour into container.
- Once cool (after about 30 minutes) stir to make a Vaseline consistency.
Feel free to add essential oils to increase effectiveness of this concoction to protect against the haze! Use this as replacement to whatever you need to use Vaseline (a petroleum by product is not good for your body!)
In this situation , add Eucalyptus as it decongests and soothes a raw nose. Use this by rubbing a little into the insides of your nostril before bed and first thing in the morning to stop any unwanted particles from entering your nasal passages!
By: Maizan Ahern