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High Levels of Air Pollution in Singapore

25 Jun 2013

Singapore is currently being affected by a severe smoke haze. This has been caused by forest fires in Indonesia. Due to prevailing winds, air quality across the country is affected resulting in adverse health effects on the population. Where exposure occurs there may be a 1-3 day time lag between exposure to haze and health effects/ symptoms. The symptoms in healthy individuals may be irritation of the eyes, nose, throat which, in most cases, will resolve. However, haze particles can affect the heart and lungs particularly of those who already have chronic heart or lung disease and may exacerbate underlying conditions.

The Singapore Ministry of Health have implemented a variety of measures to deal with the situation including public health action such as updates on air quality, health advisories and guidelines.

Advice for Travellers

Travellers are advised to follow the Singapore Ministry of Health guidance. As of 25th June that advice was

1) that healthy persons should minimise prolonged or strenuous outdoor physical exertion,

2) that elderly persons, pregnant women, children should minimise prolonged outdoor activity and

3) that persons with chronic lung disease, heart disease, or stroke should avoid all outdoor activity.

For the latter group if outdoor activity is unavoidable additional advice is to wear an N95 mask: N95 masks have been made available for purchase at super markets and pharmacies in Singapore. There are currently no travel restrictions in place but travellers should monitor the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office website, the Singapore 101 website, the Singapore Ministry of Health website and the Singapore National Environment Agency website for updated information.