Published by SchoolAdvisor on Sep 17, 2019, 12:19 PM
With haze becoming an annual season in Malaysia, it becomes imperative to understand the health hazards caused by it and to follow certain guidelines that can keep you as well as your children safe during this time.
Haze mainly consists of smoke, dust particles and pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone and carbon monoxide. However, the biggest health hazard is posed by the fine particulate matter (PM), especially PM2.5 that can go deep into the lungs, and in certain cases, also enter the bloodstream.
The short-term effects include:
Long term exposure to haze, on the other hand, are far-reaching and can even cause lung cancer as well as cardiovascular diseases.
People, especially the elderly and children, with lung and heart diseases suffer the most during haze and hence need to be extra vigilant during this time. Some general handy tips to stay safe during this time are as follows:
The haze season in Malaysia comes at a time that unfortunately, does not coincide with school holidays. And hence the dilemma faced by most parents is whether to send kids to school or not.
While the Ministry of Education will usually declare school closure if the haze reaches unhealthy levels, the fact to consider is that public schools can have open-air classrooms whereas many international and private schools have air-conditioned interiors and hence can be considered safe, as long as the schools restrict outdoor activities.
So, what should you do? We suggest the following:
Does your child’s school have an API reader? And does the school have a 'haze policy'? Meaning, is there a set of rules and regulations that guides parents on what the school will and will not do in such a situation?
If yes, then follow the guidelines. If there are no such policies in place, then keep in close contact with the school regarding updates on how they are considering tackling the haze situation.
Having said that, YOU as a parent will have to decide what is best for your child during this hazy season and act accordingly.
In the meanwhile, here are some tips for taking care of your child’s health during haze:
Malaysia has a website that updates the air pollutant index or API hourly. Follow the website to know the latest updates on haze within the country.
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