Sunday, December 15

Dr Jamilah: More health problems expected as haze continues to affect Sarawak


Haze envelopes Miri as peat and forest fires rage across Kuala Baram.

KUCHING: The number of conjunctivitis, asthma and respiratory tract diseases such as sore throat and flu is expected to increase in Sarawak due to the haze in the state.

Sarawak Health Department director Dr Jamilah Hashim said the department is now monitoring its 15 sentinel clinics statewide for patients with these diseases.

She also advised Sarawakians to be aware of Air Pollutant Index (API) readings in their respective areas, and take precautionary measures when the API reading breaches ‘unhealthy’ levels to prevent any effects to their health.

According to her, among the steps to be taken is to reduce physical activities which increase breathing rate and body metabolism as this would make them susceptible to ailments related to haze and hot weather.

“Always stay indoors as much as possible. If you need to be outdoors, wear face masks and other protection such as umbrella or wear cap.

“Close the window to minimise haze seeping into the house or the building. Avoid any activity that can contribute to air pollution in the house or building such as smoking.

“Drink more water, at least eight glasses a day even if you are not thirsty, to keep yourselves hydrated to regulate your body temperature,” she said in a statement today.

She also advised the public to bathe regularly to cool their bodies during the haze and dry weather, and to utilise the air recirculation mode in their cars when driving.

For those who can afford it, she said they can install highly efficient air filter/purifier at their homes to filter out haze particles.

“If you are not feeling well, immediately seek treatment at the nearest medical facility. For more information on precautionary steps during haze, please visit the Ministry of Health’s website,” she added.