Singapore

Masks come out as haze hits again

S'poreans take precautions as PSI readings rose into the 'very unhealthy' range yesterday after 3 hotspots were detected in central Sumatra

When Miss Emily Chew, 19, woke up yesterday morning, she smelt something bad in the air.

She immediately took out her phone to check the Pollutant Standards Index (PSI).

"I was already feeling ill and the haze made my cough worse," the undergraduate said, adding that her eyes were stinging.

Across Singapore yesterday, the 24-hour PSI and three-hour PSA readings rose steadily from 6am and hit a three-hour PSI reading of 215 at 2pm, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA)'s website.

Readings between 201 to 300 are in the "very unhealthy" range.

The PSI reading started dropping after 2pm. At 9pm the three-hour reading was 111, which is in the "unhealthy" range of 101 to 200.

The haze is likely to have been blown in by westerly winds over Singapore, said NEA yesterday in a 
media release.

Three hotspots were detected in central Sumatra on Thursday, with visible smoke plumes.

Dr Jason Chan, deputy clinic director for SingHealth Polyclinic - Geylang, told The New Paper that as of yesterday, there had been no significant increase in the number of patients seen at SingHealth Polyclinics due to the haze situation yet.

However, he advised the public to stay aware of the hourly PM2.5 readings and PSI level announcement from NEA website.

WORSENING

Dr Chan said: "People with chronic respiratory problems may find their conditions worsening.

"Patients with asthma conditions may need to increase their daily controller medication and should bring their rescue inhalers with them."

Some schools reacted quickly: CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh)cancelled all outdoor activities.

Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Primary School switched on additional air purifiers in classrooms. Supervised outdoor activities were kept to a minimum level, said the school's principal, Madam Teo Ching Ling.

She said that teachers would look out for pupils who are unwell or who have pre-existing medical conditions.

Madam Lee Ling Ling, 33, a senior manager who has a six-month-old child, initially had plans to head out for dinner yesterday night. But due to the haze, she and her husband had dinner at home instead.

Said Madam Lee: "We wanted to minimise the amount of time spent outdoors.

"I was worried the haze would get worse and that my daughter would develop irritation or some reaction to the haze because babies have a very sensitive respiratory system."

Meanwhile, full-time national serviceman Lee Joon Lei, 23, is taking steps to be prepared for the haze to last.

"Before everyone bulk-buys masks, I will buy some first.

"I'll probably turn on air-conditioners more often, too. Health takes precedence over electricity bills."


"People with chronic respiratory problems may find their conditions worsening."

- Dr Jason Chan, deputy clinic director for SingHealth Polyclinic - Geylang

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