3 Things Singaporeans Should Do to Prepare Themselves to Live With the Haze Each Year

Joanne Poh



So it looks like the haze isn’t going to go away anytime soon. The government banned shisha, but we’re all going to die anyway thanks to the smog we’ve been breathing in every day for months each year.

Like a chronic disease or the fact that your 15-year-old kid just got a tattoo of a dragon on his back, you’re just going to have to learn to live with it. While news reports have rather cautiously been claiming that no longterm effects have been conclusively found, if this terrible air pollution continues we could be looking at a glut of health problems later on in life.

I have already landed myself in the hospital once for a corneal ulcer that I suspect was borne of haze-related eye irritation. And one of the doctors at the hospital mentioned that the A&E has been seeing a spike in the number of people being admitted during the haze season.

Unless you’re planning to take out the most expensive medical insurance options on the market, here are three things you should do to protect yourself from the annual haze.


Stock up on haze supplies well in advance

When the 2013 haze hit at record PSI levels of 401, many people held back on the air purifier purchases, thinking it was a one-off thing, a freak environmental catastrophe that wouldn’t repeat itself the next year. Two years later, we’re back in the smog, and this time it’s sticking around for even longer.

With the knowledge that this isn’t a problem that is going to go away any time soon, it’s a good idea to stock up on anti-haze supplies—air purifiers, N95 masks and HEPA filters for your air conditioning units. Don’t wait until next year’s haze to buy your supplies, either.

How to keep it affordable: With the knowledge that this is a problem that will persist for years to come, you can afford to take your time and comparison shop (some Singaporeans have taken to buying air purifiers on Amazon, which carries certain brands at a significantly lower price).


Find an indoor workout routine

If you’re the kind of person who hasn’t used a single muscle since your last NAPFTA test in Sec 4 or JC, you’re weakening your immune system by remaining that way, making you more susceptible to haze-related ailments.

Now, noone’s asking you to take up Crossfit—but finding a simple workout routine that you can do even when the skies turn grey will give you an additional line of defense against the annual onslaught of haze. Those crazy people who are seen jogging “so long as the PSI is under 200” should probably move indoors too.

How to keep it affordable: The most obvious example of an indoor workout routine would be one you can do at a gym. You don’t need to sign up for an expensive gym membership either—the ClubFIT gyms cost only $2.50 per entry, while many condos have free gym facilities. Other indoor sports and fitness options include martial arts, yoga, zumba, dance and, yes, Crossfit.


Eat well to boost your immunity

You already know how you feel the morning after drinking 10 bottles of beer and gorging on an upsized McDonald’s meal just before going to bed. Do that while breathing in the haze’s particulate matter every day and you’re weakening your immunity even more.

If you feel like you’re constantly down with a cold or are getting the flu more frequently during haze season, other than exercising indoors it’s a good idea to strengthen your immune system by consuming haze-busting foods like salmon, kiwi fruit and capsicum.

How to keep it affordable: If eating healthily means you’ll be cooking at home more (dining at alfresco restaurants just isn’t the same when you can barely see what’s on your plate) and replacing meat with fruit and vegetables, you’ll find your monthly expenditure on food will fall. Er, yay for the haze, then?

How are you protecting yourself against the haze? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.