How to protect yourself and your family from indoor air pollution in Singapore

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Long-term exposure to allergens like dust mites, viruses and bacteria can lead to chronic respiratory conditions like asthma. Here is how you can prevent your family from getting sick due to indoor air pollution in Singapore...

We spend a lot of time worrying about the quality of the air outside, but it’s the inside of the house that we should really be concerned about.

Our homes are one of the most important places in our lives – it’s where we relax and unwind after a long day or spend quality time with loved ones, which is why it is crucial to ensure that our home environment is clean and safe.

A month ago, I had an uninvited visitor—a nagging, persistent cough that just refused to go away. There was no fever, and no major symptoms, except for general tiredness, so I kept putting off my visit to the doctor.

I tried drinking copious amounts of warm liquids, and many a home remedy, but nothing seemed to work. The cough grew stronger by the day. I also noticed that my younger daughter (who suffers from eczema) was itching a lot more than usual.

This got me worried. Was dust and indoor allergens to blame? Could allergy be the real culprit? Like most mums, I resorted to googling online.

Why we need an air purifier in Singapore

I was surprised that I wasn’t the only one who had similar health issues. A recent survey reveals that 77% of Singaporeans are concerned about air quality and more than 30% are unsure if their sickness is due to an illness or allergy.

And like me, less than half of Singaporeans who suffer from chronic respiratory conditions are taking active medical action or visiting a specialist.

I found these three simple facts and tips recommended by Dr. Chiang Wen Chin, President, Asthma and Allergy Association, to improve a home’s air quality:

1. Know your environment – Why air quality is integral to our overall health

Long term exposure to allergens like dust mites, viruses and bacteria can lead to chronic respiratory conditions like asthma. With the increase of rhinitis in children over the past decade¹, more Singaporean families are concerned about air quality and how it could lead to children developing allergies or asthma.

2. Get it right – Humidifiers vs. Air Purifiers

Humidity is 70%-80% in Singapore, thus no further humidification is necessary.

Air purifiers with HEPA grade properties helps remove microscopic PM2.5 particles.

People with heart conditions, the elderly and young children are more affected by exposure to these particles which reaches deep into the respiratory tract and enter the bloodstream.

Long-term exposure can increase rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart diseases.

3. Be proactive – Invest in an Air Purifier

Air purifiers remove toxic gases, microscopic airborne allergens that are not removed by simply opening the windows or cleaning the house, as well as PM2.5 haze particles during severe air pollution.

Besides purifying, it helps circulate clean air around the house.

 

We tried out the new Philips Air Purifier Series 3000i (AC3259/30)

I had never invested in an air purifier before, so I was pleased (and a bit relieved) when I got to try out the new Philips Air Purifier Series 3000i (AC3259/30).

It was exciting to know that the new Philips Air Purifier Series 3000i (AC3259/30) features a revolutionary AeraSense technology paired with a connected app to provide consumers with real-time air quality and allergen information and management advice.

It also features the Vitashield IPS multi-layer filtration technology that uses Nanoprotect HEPA and active carbon filter to remove ultrafine particles, common airborne allergies and harmful gases like formaldehyde.

After a week of using the air purifier, here are some big pluses we discovered:

Great for allergy sufferers: The Philips Air Purifier Series 3000i (AC3259/30) comes with three automatic modes – a General Mode, Bacteria, Virus Mode and Allergen mode, in addition to five manual modes that range from extra-quiet ‘Sleep’ setting to the extra- powerful ‘Turbo Speed’ mode.

The Allergen mode is dedicated for allergy sufferers and is effective in removing harmful airborne allergens that may trigger asthma.

Tackles dust: Everyday activities such as dusting and vacuuming can cause allergens to become airborne.

The Philips AeraSense technology continuously monitors and detects the slightest change in indoor air conditions, and automatically boosts the air purifier, to effectively reduce the level of airborne particles.

After just a week of using the purifier, to my surprise, my coughing had reduced considerably, and the little one’s itchiness had gone down too!

AeraSense also indicates real-time PM2.5 and Indoor Allergen Index (IAI) levels via a large numerical display on a scale of 1 – 12.

Air Matters App: The Air Matters app is what really sets this air purifier apart. It sends you an alert to adjust the unit’s settings anytime the IAI reading reaches the unhealthy level. It even recommends which settings would be more effective.

Connecting the air purifier to the app on my smartphone was equally easy. The best part was that, I could check my home’s air quality while I was out of the house and easily change the settings from anywhere.

Mums and dads, this app even records the PM2.5 levels in your home, so you can monitor how the overall air quality in your home is over time!

Noise: Another big concern and misconception that I had previously about air purifiers was noise levels. I was relieved to see that this purifier has a Sleep mode that would suit even my children’s sensitive ears.

The turbo setting was a bit on the loud side, but even after a week of using the unit, the app never actually recommended turning the fan up that high.

Speeds 1 and 2 are also very quiet and unlikely to disturb even the lightest of sleepers.

Light and easy to set up: The unit is light, so it was easy to move it around. The manual had illustrated instructions, so the setup was hassle-free too!

In short, our first experience with using an air purifier turned out to be an extremely pleasant one. We now understand why investing in an air purifier in haze-prone and construction-heavy Singapore makes so much sense!

For the info, the Philips Air Purifier Series 3000i (AC3259/30) retails at S$999 but is currently available at a special price of S$899 at Philips, as well as from selected electronic stores, major departmental stores and authorised dealers.

 


Source:

¹Chiang WC, Chen YM, Tan H, et al. Allergic Rhinitis and Non-Allergic Rhinitis in Children in the Tropics: Prevalence and Risk Associations. Pediatric Pulmonology 2012; 47: 1026-1033.

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