Thursday, 27 Feb 2020

Ways to protect newborns and pregnant mums from haze


Ways to protect newborns and pregnant mums from haze Ways to protect newborns and pregnant mums from haze -  With the air quality that could soon enter the 'unhealthy' range, it is important to keep safe from the haze, and know what are the precautions to take-especially with newborns and pregnant women.

Here are some important points you should know about coping better during the haze, especially for these two vulnerable groups.

Newborns are vulnerable and has a weak immunity system, thus, it is important to note that their respiratory system is also more susceptible to the poor quality of air that they could breathe in during hazardous PSI levels.

This puts them at a higher health risk when the haze strikes, and parents should keep them indoors especially when the PSI reading reaches 100 and beyond.

If their respiratory systems are affected, the little ones could develop asthma or bronchitis and may require serious medical care.

Here are some easy steps to note for the indoor environment:

1. Keep doors and windows closed to keep the haze out.
2. Turn on the fan or air-conditioning to keep the room cool and comfortable. Ensure that the filters are in optimal working condition and not chockfull of trapped dust.
3. Switch on the air purifier to help improve the indoor air quality, especially in areas of the house that do not have air-conditioning. 

Here are some tips on choosing the right air purifier.

1. Caring for baby's skin and diet:
If your baby is breastfed, continue to feed normally. If you are unwell (e.g. have a throat inflammation or are experiencing any upper respiratory tract infection (URTI)), putting on a mask during nursing may help you allay fears of passing on bacteria to your young baby.

You can see a doctor to get breastfeeding-compatible medication or lozenges to alleviate your discomfort. Breastfeeding helps build a baby's bank of antibodies and natural immunities too, so do continue to breastfeed.

2. If baby is on formula, continue to feed normally too. Ensure that the water used is fresh and has not been left exposed without a cover. Haze sediments such as dust particles may settle on the exposed pot or kettle of water.

3. To prevent your newborn's skin from drying out, both due to the haze and/or the extended hours of air-conditioning, apply a suitable baby moisturiser to keep baby's skin hydrated.

It is important to note that masks should not be put on for newborns or babies as this will interfere with their breathing, or worse, leading to suffocation.

According to the study, women who lived in highly polluted areas were twice as likely to have a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder compared to those who lived in less polluted areas

However, before you panic, do take note that the researchers found that the air pollutants with the strongest links to autism and other developmental problems are toxins like diesel fuel, lead, manganese and mercury - all heavy metals and chemicals associated with heavy industry emissions.

When absorbed into the body, these toxins can enter the umbilical cord and cross the blood-brain barrier.

In contrast, the main culprit causing the haze and the spike in PSI right now is actually PM2.5, or particulate matter. This is basically the fine ash and other particles carried in the air from Indonesia. Given that the smoke comes from forest fires, and not a chemical source, it is probably unlikely that this kind of air pollutant would cause any problems developmentally in an unborn baby.

If the pregnant mum has existing health issues such as asthma, it is always wise to take extra precautions and be better protected against the haze. Ensure pregnancy-compatible medications are on-hand too.






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