The worsening haze situation has led to a sharp increase in asthma and conjunctivitis cases nationwide based on checks at 31 sentinel clinics, director-general of Health Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said.
He said asthma cases experienced a 15.8 percent increase from 1,187 to 1,375 cases between Sept 8 and 14, compared to the period between June 30 and Sept 7 this year.
Conjunctivitis cases rose by 24.9 percent from 253 to 317 cases over the same period, Noor Hisham (photo, above) said in a statement released in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“The public who are highly at risk of contracting the disease, such as children, the elderly, smokers and those with constant exposure to the outdoor environment, are advised to take preventive steps to reduce the health effects of the haze.
Noor Hisham also urged the public to reduce physical activities outdoors, wear face masks and postpone any outdoor activities if the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings exceed 100 in line with the advice of the National Haze Action Plan.
An API between zero and 50 indicates good air quality; 51 and 100, moderate; 101 and 200, unhealthy; 201 and 300, very unhealthy and 300 and above is hazardous.
“Keep the windows constantly closed so as to prevent the haze from entering homes or buildings, and turn on air-conditioners and air filters, which can trap fine particles and prevent air pollution from getting in,” he added.
The public can also read up on the preventive measures to safeguard their health during the haze at the Health Ministry's site here.