Haze can be defined as the obscurity of the air or surroundings due to the presence of airborne particles. These particles can either be dust, soot or even smoke and these particles contribute to the opacity of the air. Arguably, haze can, and is a natural phenomenon due to the fact that volcanoes, forest fires and sandstorms are forces of nature that lend their by-products to induce haze. However, human intervention and the modernization of the industrial sector has skyrocketed the occurences of haze, as well as the intensity of the haze we humans currently face.
But, before I dive into the tips and tricks that you can use to protect yourself from the haze, one must know exactly the dangers that the haze poses to us human beings and other living organisms.
Haze, on a superficial level can cause minor irritation to your skin, eyes, throat and nose. The irritants present in the haze such as chemical pollutants from factories and soot irritate the inner lining of your nose and throat, leading to more coughing and potential for inflammation. However, on a deeper level, prolonged exposure to haze can eventually lead to respiratory problems and affect your heart health as well due to the presence of pollutants in your bloodstream.
Thus, there are several steps we can take in ensuring your general safety and health in overcoming the coming Haze.
Water, Hydration, Moisture
Water is the main constitituent of our body; it is responsible for the proper functioning of cells in your body, the movement of blood plasma in your blood vessels and many more. Hence, drinking appropriate amounts of water is vital to ensure that dehydration does not occur and to moisturize the inner lining of the soft tissues of your throat and nose to prevent it from drying out. Moreover, the increase in hydration can help in thinning out the mucus in your throat and nose and make it easier for your body to remove them or sweep them away.
Yeah, this is pretty self explanatory. Going outside during the haze season is just not a good idea in general. This is especially when physical exertion is involved. When doing sports or any kind of physical activity, your breathing becomes quicker and shallow, hastening the rate of haze particles entering your lungs. This can lead to shortness of breath and greater exposure to pollutants. So all in all, do try and limit yourself when it comes to going outside and doing activities outdoor.
Masks and Not All of Them are Bad
Using masks is one of the easiest ways to protect oneself from the oncoming haze. A mask can act as a physical barrier to block soot or other solid particles in the air. However, in recent studies, the regular surgical masks that are often distributed or used by people do not offer adequate amounts of protection. This is because the cotton material does not possess the necessary structure to filter out the particles due to their relatively high permeability. Hence, masks such as the N95 mask and the fabric masks are much denser and more tightly wound around the face, thus more effective.