Top Tips to beat the Haze – For families with little children

sghaze

“How can I protect my children from this haze craze?” I hear many mommy friends asking.

Last night, outside Serangoon MRT.

With the haze looming over our little island, it’s no wonder parents are worried for their little ones.  But before you head to the pharmacy and start stocking up on healthcare supplies, here’s a list of tips and advices curated from all over the World Wide Web (with some ideas of my own) to help you make better choices for you, and you little ones.

1. Mask up!
Ideally, keep the kids indoor as much as possible, but if you have to bring the child out, be sure they are wearing a mask. If you are wondering what type of mask to purchase, go for respiratory masks like N95*. Surgical masks and paper masks do not provide adequate protection from fine pollutants in the air.

Added below on 21 June
* Please be careful when using respiratory masks (ie N95) on children. If child experience difficulty in breathing. Please remove immediately. I was told by my child’s daycare teacher to check with the doctor before using N95 on children. 

According to MOH.gov.sg, “N95 masks are not designed for use on children or people with facial hair (e.g. beards), because it is difficult to achieve a proper fit, since these masks are designed to seal to the wearer’s face. Children should therefore minimize outdoor activity at PSI levels above 100, and avoid all outdoor activity if PSI levels reach higher than 300.”
 
I’ve ordered children N95 grade masks and Nexcare kids masks from qoo100(pending delivery), meanwhile they are kept indoors (as much as possible) and given surgical mask when we need to bring them out for short periods (ie from home to childcare or from home to our car in the carpark).

2. Drink (lots of) water
Children need about five and eight cups of water each day. Be sure to keep the children well-hydrated. Toxins in the air are absorbed into our body through our lungs and skin, this put extra load on our kidneys. Staying hydrated will help our kidneys to excrete these toxins

3. Keep the kids indoors
Put your outing plans aside, instead, work on some fun activities for your little ones at home.

If your child goes to a daycare, check with the school on their preventive measures and inform the school should your child has asthma, sensitive airways, skin allergy or history of bronchitis.

Added below on 21 June 
According to MOH.gov.sg with reference to children – outdoor activities should be minimised at PSI levels above 100, and totally avoided if PSI levels reach higher than 300.

4. Keep indoor air clean
Ideally, keep doors and windows closed and turn on air-conditioner and air-purifier. Clean the air-con filters regularly to keep proper filtration in place*. If you do not have an air-purifier, try clearing the air with steam by boiling water. Good house-keeping such as keeping the floors and cabinets clean also helps to improve indoor air quality.

Added below on 21 June
* I added a 3M Filtrete Air Cleaning Filters to my air conditioners.
They are available in DIY stores (if not already wiped up). Here’s more information on the product if you are interested: 
http://solutions.3m.com.sg/wps/portal/3M/en_SG/Air_Water_Filtration/Filtrete/Products/Air/AirconFilter/

5. Wash hands and face regularly

Clean little hands, feet and faces regularly and shower immediately after going outdoors to wash away the toxin residues.

6. Pump up on the right nutrients

A well balanced diet is key to good immunity. Ensure that your child is having enough vitamin C, E, and Omega-3.

Singapore General Hospital advises the following:

Eat more

  • Green leafy vegetables and fruit
  • Oily fish like sardines
  • Nuts

Consume less

  • Dairy products 
  • Sugar
  • Red meat
  • Coffee and Alcohol


7. When should I head to the doctor’s?

Be prepared with medical solutions should your child have pre-existing respiratory and skin problems (eg. asthma, bronchitis , eczema, etc). See a doctor immediately if you observe tell-tales signs of breathing difficulty and asthma in children. Hold your horse if your child is having a runny nose – our bodies produce more mucus to get rid of toxins.

References taken from (Useful reads!):
 http://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home/pressRoom/Current_Issues/2013/haze/frequently-asked-questions–faqs–on-haze-and-your-health.html
http://yourhealth.asiaone.com/content/6-ways-beat-haze
https://www.facebook.com/notes/singapore-general-hospital/health-tips-dealing-with-the-haze/452151394300
http://www.babycenter.com.sg/a1029128/haze-protecting-your-baby
http://www.webmd.com/lung/features/12-ways-to-improve-indoor-air-quality
http://www.myhealth.gov.my/v2/index.php/en/prime-years/environmental-health/haze-a-our-health
http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest%2BNews/Health/Story/A1Story20130618-430417.html
http://www.venusbuzz.com/archives/24524/survival-kit-hazardous-haze-kuala-lumpur/
http://www.livestrong.com/article/274633-how-much-water-should-a-child-drink-a-day/
http://english.sina.com/china/2013/0114/548563.html

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