Hospitals brace for more patients as haze worsens

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye has warned those with respiratory diseases to stay home as air quality in various locations declines nationwide.

He said individuals with respiratory diseases, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), would see their condition worsening.

“We expect higher admissions (in hospitals) because of respiratory diseases – either those with existing asthma or COPD, they will get worse. We’re still studying it, but that’s what we’re expecting,” he told reporters after officiating an annual conference on research into respiratory diseases.

The haze situation is worst in Sarawak, with schools in the state being ordered to close as the air pollutant index (API) readings hit unhealthy levels.

Yesterday, the API recorded a reading of 248 in Kuching, 248 in Sri Aman, 199 in Samarahan, 154 in Sarikei, 127 in Sibu and 111 in Miri.

An API reading of under 50 means the air quality is good, 51-100 moderate, 101-200 unhealthy, 201-300 very unhealthy, and above 300 hazardous.

Lee advised the public to consume enough liquids and to visit a doctor if they see worsening symptoms such as eye irritation and respiratory problems.