What does haze do to your body?

Answered by Tom Adger

Haze, which is made up of tiny particles suspended in the air, can have detrimental effects on the body, particularly on the heart and lungs. These effects can be even more pronounced in individuals who already have pre-existing heart or lung conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or heart failure.

When we breathe in haze particles, they can penetrate deep into our respiratory system and reach our lungs. These particles are small enough to bypass our body’s natural defense mechanisms, such as the cilia and mucus lining in our airways, and can therefore directly affect the delicate tissues of our lungs. This can lead to irritation and inflammation in the lungs, causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

For individuals with chronic heart or lung diseases, the effects of haze can be even more severe. Haze particles can exacerbate existing symptoms and trigger respiratory distress. In people with asthma, for example, haze can lead to increased frequency and severity of asthma attacks. It can also worsen symptoms in individuals with COPD, making it harder for them to breathe and increasing the risk of exacerbations.

Moreover, haze particles can have systemic effects on the body, not just limited to the respiratory system. Research has shown that exposure to haze can increase the risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes. The fine particles in haze can enter the bloodstream through the lungs, causing inflammation and oxidative stress throughout the body. This can lead to the narrowing of blood vessels, increased blood pressure, and an increased risk of blood clot formation, all of which can contribute to cardiovascular problems.

It is important to note that the health effects of haze may not be immediately apparent. There may be a delay of 1-3 days between exposure to haze and the onset of symptoms or health effects. This makes it crucial to monitor air quality levels and take necessary precautions, especially for individuals with pre-existing heart or lung conditions.

To protect ourselves from the harmful effects of haze, it is recommended to limit outdoor activities when the air quality is poor and to stay indoors as much as possible. Using air purifiers or wearing masks can also help filter out some of the haze particles. Additionally, individuals with chronic heart or lung diseases should follow their prescribed medications and treatment plans diligently, and consult their healthcare providers for specific advice on managing their conditions during periods of haze.

Haze particles can have adverse effects on the heart and lungs, particularly in individuals with pre-existing heart or lung conditions. It is important to be aware of air quality levels and take necessary precautions to minimize exposure to haze. By staying informed and taking appropriate measures, we can help protect our health and well-being during periods of haze.