City people everywhere have been warned of health hazards on days when pollution is especially bad. In summer it comes in the form of azone, acid aerosols and particulates – known as “the summer haze effect.”
In winter, exhaust and smoke are the bigger problems, fouling the air with nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide. Based on the limited research available so far, the impact appears to be quite modest in both seasons, though slightly longer-lasting in winter.
Conditions can get nastier in Indonesia and Australia, where air quality deteriorates at certain times of the year because of smoke and ash from forest fires, which then drift to Singapore and Malaysia. The island republic and parts of Malaysia, including Kuala Lumpur, were under a pall of bad air again.
What to do ? Medical experts offer some advice. People who suffer from asthma need to be warned in advance of episodes of aor pollution. Those who inhale preventive medication should double the daily dose. It may be best to add a dose at midday, when ozone is most concentrated. Patients who don’t normally take asthma drugs should use anti-inflammatory remedies prescribed for colds.
Naturally they should also avoid exerting themselves on the smoggy streets.