Dr Olivia covered a variety of aspects relating to the issue of air pollution from the causes, health implications and how we can help to mitigate the risks. Starting with the research, of which there is currently minimal, Dr Olivia talked about the different air pollutants and explained how they can cause our bodies harm.
We then moved onto the Air Quality Index (AQI), making references to the points at which we should act differently when outdoors and even stay indoors when the air pollution level is too high. This raised awareness of the importance of keeping the school informed of any changes in health that your child may go through; any sign of sensitivity with the airways, be it minimal, please let the office know. Children with breathing difficulties, asthma or sensitive airways are closely monitored by members of staff.
Air pollution is clearly not going to go away when you look at the population and the construction occurring around the city. It is something that we must learn to live with and be flexible in our activities according to the AQI. We discussed the nature of air quality with it being extremely localised and fluctuating hour by hour. Therefore, monitoring the levels and adjusting activities at school is vital; something that the school practises every day. Dr Olivia then shared very helpful information about how we can help to minimise both air pollution and the effects of air pollution on our health. Advice such as;
- Download and use an air quality app regularly – ‘Air Visual’ was recommended.
- In your home, install a HEPA filter with a strong fan.
- Have plants that help to improve air quality such as, Ereca Palm, Boston Fern and Peace Lily.
- Wear an N95 or N99 mask when outdoors. Make sure these fit the wearer well; ill fitted masks will cause more problems.
- Saigon Scooter Centre (151 Luong Dinh Cua St, off Tran Nao) was recommended as it has a selection of quality masks.
- When you can, walk rather than drive – cars that are waiting with the engines running are the worst for air quality.
To conclude the talk, we agreed the importance of sharing our knowledge around air pollution with the community; raising awareness to ensure more and more families know how to protect themselves when the air is of poor quality.
Mrs. Mary McAloon, Deputy Headteacher
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