During the present haze crisis, health experts are urging parents to take extra care of their children, since exposure to high levels of airborne particulate matter is dangerous for the health of all people.
The Director-General of the Department of Medical Services, Dr. Thongchai Keeratihuttayakorn, recently issued a warning about the health effects of Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5), which has been building up in several parts of Thailand. Very tiny particulate matter, such as PM2.5, can bypass respiratory defense systems like nose hair and reach the bloodstream directly through the lungs, he said.
Particles in the air can irritate the eyes, nose, and skin, as well as trigger other symptoms including coughing, sneezing, and rashes. Long-term exposure to PM2.5 has been linked to lung cancer, heart disease, heart failure, and excessive blood pressure, among other dangerous conditions. Babies born to pregnant mothers who were exposed to PM2.5 were more likely to be born prematurely and to be underweight. Infants’ physical and mental growth may be impacted by exposure to fine particulate matter.
Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health Director Dr. Akkarathan Jittanuyanon advised parents to check air quality reports and give their children 8-10 glasses of water every day.
All doors and windows should be kept closed, fans should be used indoors to promote air circulation, and people should not start their cars or leave them running for extended periods of time within residential areas on days with poor air quality. In addition, when PM 2.5 levels of 26 micrograms per cubic meter or higher are detected, parents are urged to keep their children inside and encourage them to use protective masks.
Children with preexisting medical issues should also consult a doctor if they develop symptoms such as a persistent cough, wheezing, or chest discomfort.