Friday, September 18

Health Ministry records spike in eye infections due to haze


The number of patients seeking eye treatment at Hospital Shah Alam has risen from 40 to 80 cases a day, according to Dr Nor Fariza. File Photo 

KUCHING: The number of people seeking outpatient treatment for eye infections have risen by up to 30 per cent in the last 30 days due to the haze, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said today.

He said in a Malay Mail report that this haze season, the ministry was monitoring conjunctivitis, upper respiratory tract infection and asthma attacks and so far the spike was recorded in eye infections.

“We have found that there’s been a spike of 20 to 30 per cent at outpatient treatments and clinics for eye infections which is due to the haze situation,” he said in Putrajaya..

In a separate report, Bernama cited the ministry’s national head of ophthalmology services Dr Nor Fariza Ngah as saying that on average, the number of patients seeking eye treatment at Hospital Shah Alam where she is based, has risen from 40 to 80 cases a day.

She added that the eye infection cases were not age-specific, noting the patients ranged from children to adults.

“Artificial tears could help, but if you buy the wrong one, it could cause allergies,” she cautioned.

Dr Nor Fariza also advised the public, especially those who know they are asthmatic, to seek treatment at hospitals early when they have discomfort instead of self-medicating with over-the-counter eyedrops.

Air quality in Sarawak has continued to deteriorate today after a brief respite last week when rain fell over various parts of the state.

Sri Aman’s hazardous air pollutant index (API) reading continues to rise, hitting 377 as of 2pm from 311 at 3am.

An API reading of zero to 50 is good, 51 to 100 is moderate, 101 to 200 unhealthy, 201 to 300 very unhealthy and 300 and above is hazardous.

According to the Department of Environment air quality monitoring website, the reading in Kuching as of 2pm was a very unhealthy 217, followed by Sibu (173), Sarikei (151), Samarahan (150), Bintulu and Mukah at 127, Miri (123) and Samalaju (106).