Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Understanding How Ash Fall Affects Asthmatics

I'm writing this post to appeal to those people who have family/friends who have asthma. This will also help you prepare how to take care of your elderly family and babies.

Many people have not been bothered by the bad air quality we have right now in Manila, but for people like me the last two days have been a huge struggle. Asthma can be triggered in many ways, most commonly by dust, the food you eat and beverages you drink (too much acid in your tummy triggers asthma), allergies and other health conditions.

Little did I know the dark clouds was ash on it's way to Manila. 

I did not have asthma growing up. It was developed after years of exposure to haze (bad air quality). At work they know me as the haze human indicator. They test the effectiveness of our air purifier through me. I've had this issue for a few years now and my heart is actually much healthier than my lungs. To cope I've had to make adjustments with my lifestyle and living arrangements.

How do I know if the air is bad/dirty?

Let me explain this how I understand it. Governments normally measure air quality through particulate matter. PM10 is the larger particles that's in the air. PM2.5 are the tiny particles in the air which is toxic and really bad for your lungs. In the Philippines, this hasn't been established yet by our government. A friend brought to my attention this app which provides great info on many cities in the Philippines.

Here's how it looks:




It is important to note the PM2.5 level because this indicates if there are many tiny bad particles in the air that you can inhale. For me, an asthmatic if it's above 10 it triggers my asthma already. To understand about this more, please visit the Singapore haze page.

How can I protect myself and my loved ones for bad air?

For sensitive people like me wearing a N95 is very important. I have been sleeping with a surgical mask on the last two nights beside a portable air purifier. Also, seal your home from getting the dirty air inside. We covered doorways with wet mats to keep dirty air out. Despite these precautions the bad air has given my lungs a very bad beating and I've been very lethargic. I really needed an air purifier.

Air purifiers help with cleaning the air inside a room. I use a Xiaomi one in Singapore, but had to make do with whatever was available at Ace Hardware today. I immediately plugged it in when I got home and started to feel better.

I read that googles are also useful. I wear glasses so I've never tried using googles when I go out.

Most importantly, stay indoors if you can.

What's the difference between an air purifier and air humidifier?

Air purifiers are meant to clean the air, humidifiers improve the moisture in the air. They have different uses. For our current weather condition you need an air purifier.

Is it really important to have these tools?

If I had known early on that I needed an air purifier I could've prevented my lungs from deteriorating. Unfortunately there's no turning back for me anymore and I have to live with this condition. Investing in an air purifier will be useful especially if you have elderly family or a baby in the house.

Please take care of your loved ones who have asthma/lung conditions. And if you can, please send N95 masks to those people severely affected by the volcano eruption.


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