How Does Hong Kong’s Haze Impact Health?

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With a typhoon having just hit Hong Kong, you may have noticed much hotter weather, accompanied with haze.

The most common question asked is, what is haze, and is it hazardous to our health?

Haze, in high levels is air pollution. Haze are pollutants found in the air. They generally gather further away from the pollutant source. These are carried by the wind currents until they gather. The visible haze is caused by the reflection of light on the pollution particles in the air and lessens visibility.

Mainland China, as well as Hong Kong have had a lot of issues relating to air pollution, however as a typhoon rolls in, the air pollution seems to become much worse.

A typhoon will generate strong convection currents. This will suck up hot and humid air, leading to a dispersal of the hot air in large space. The cool air will cool and will then fall, especially in areas with minimal or no wind before the typhoon comes in.

In a Hong Kong Summer, the moderate wind will blow the majority of the pollution away from Hong Kong. The typhoon however stops this wind, or pulls wind from north/northwest and adds additional pollution.

Exposure to air pollution, especially in higher concentrations before a typhoon will have a negative health impact on us. There are two different effects cause by this sort of exposure:

Short-Term Exposure

For healthy adults, the impact of exposure for a few hours to a few days will have only a minimal impact to health. Health adults may find that they get irritation in their eyes, nose and/or their throat, shortened breath, an increase in coughing, as well as tightness in their chest.

These symptoms will normally die down after exposure, and will usually stop altogether once the air is clearer.

Long-Term Exposure

Exposure to pollution has seen an increase in strokes, heart disease, lung cancer, and the development of chronic conditions.

WHO’s air pollution fact sheet had found that in 2012 worldwide, 72% (around 3.7 million people) of deaths relating to air pollution were from heart disease and stroke, 14% had been because of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as acute respiratory infections. Finally, lung cancer had been found to have cause 14% of deaths worldwide in relation to air pollution.

How To Minimise The Health Impact of Haze

  • Know about the haze levels through the official government observatory website.
  • Limit the exposure of you and the pollutants, meaning no heavy exercise or extended periods of time outdoors
  • Wear a mask that blocks pollution, an N95 mask allows you to block 95% of small air pollutants.
  • Buy an air filter for your home
  • Buy health insurance, you can get checked out for any damage you might sustain from long term exposure, we at MajorCompare can help.
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