During the haze period, quite a number of people experienced respiratory related problems; asthma attacks, bronchitis. Many too suffered from coughing/wheezing, runny noses and sore throats. People complained of eye irritation and reddening of eyes. Those with respiratory problems (e.g. Asthma and chronic bronchitis), heart conditions (e.g.Chronic heart disease), skin conditions (Eczema) and the young and old would be severely affected by the haze.
Professor Euston Quah, head of economics department of Nanyang Technological University, mentioned that there was even a possibility of stunted growth for childrenĄ¯s lungs if the children were repeatedly exposed to haze for a long time.
From our interview with Doctor Chris Huang, he felt that this statement is not true. Haze is not likely to stunt the growth for childrenĄ¯s lungs, except for babies because their lungs are not fully developed yet. Hence, when they are exposed to particulate matter from the haze and their lungs are irritated, the result might be the scarring of their lungs. Furthermore, it might lead to other serious health conditions such as pneumonia, which could cause permanent damage to lungs. Nonetheless, this does not stunt the lung growth of the babies.
The haze pollutants contain particles such as ozone and sulphur dioxide (also greenhouse gases) may cause damage to the heart and lungs. Particulate matter 10 (PM10), the more commonly-found particle in the smoke haze, happens to be the most dangerous threat to lungs. When breathed in, PM10 might cause lungs to function at a decreased rate, causing shortness of breath!
During a serious haze situation, civilians would be advised by the government to stay indoors and limit outdoor activities so that the people are less exposed to unhealthy, polluted air. Nonetheless, PM10 is still able to enter buildings through fresh air vents.
In the First week of October 2006, when the haze was at its worst in Singapore, approximately 15 000 citizens complained of illnesses associated with the heart and lungs.
Haze has been linked to premature death recently according to HazeOnline website. If a person is exposed to too much pollutants from the haze, that could lead to premature death. The two main causes of this premature death are the two gases sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide which are part of the haze