THE PUBLIC Health Ministry has instructed provincial health officials in the North to closely monitor air-quality reports and at-risk groups after the latest figures show the number of affected people is higher than in the same period last year.
Many northern provinces have reported dangerous levels of small particulate matter of up to 10 microns in diameter (PM10).
Chiang Mai’s Chiang Dao district and Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district yesterday morning reported levels of 214 and 175 micrograms per cubic metre respectively. Anything above 120 micrograms is considered unsafe.
Mae Hong Son recorded 154 micrograms, Phayao 145 micrograms and Lampang 134 micrograms yesterday.
During a visit to a health promotion hospital in Mae Hong Son yesterday, Public Health permanent secretary Dr Sopon Mekthon cited the Chiang Mai-based Disease Control 1 Office report that found there had been 62,635 haze-affected cases from February 28 to March 12.
Of the affected, 34,208 people had coronary artery disease, 24,233 had respiratory problems, 2,133 had dermatitis and 2,061 reported conjunctivitis.
Sopon urged people with coronary artery disease and respiratory problems to be aware of haze-induced symptoms and see a doctor if they were experiencing health problems.
Mae Hong Son health official Dr Prasert Kijsuwanrat said the PM10 readings in the province in the past seven days ranged from 105 to 134 micrograms.
From February 28 to March 12, Prasert said 19,277 people had been affected by haze including 9,470 with coronary artery disease.
So far, 44,000 facemasks have been distributed and another 30,000 are in stock.