Now that the haze is here, what can you do to beat the haze if you're pregnant or just delivered a newborn? Find out how to care for your new baby and how pregnant mums should cope during the haze.
The haze in Singapore has alarmingly worsened this year, with the Ministry of Education (MOE) announcing the first-ever school closure for Primary and Secondary students.
If you are a new parent or parent-to-be, you need to know the precautions pregnant mums should take and how to protect newborns from the haze. Here are some important points you should know about coping better during the haze, especially for these two vulnerable groups.
How does haze impact newborns
A newborn’s body is immature and thus, it is important to note that his 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.
How to protect newborns from the haze
Here are some easy steps to note for the indoor environment:
- Keep doors and windows closed to keep the haze out.
- 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.
- According to Associate Professor Victor Samuel Rajadural, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Neonatalogy, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), “Keeping the baby in an air-conditioned room all day is safe as long as the thermostat is set at 22-24 degree Celsius and not 18-19 degrees.”
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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, lead to suffocation.
Are there any ill effects on the unborn child? What precautionary steps should pregnant women take? Find out more on the next page.