Angry Doctor

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hazy Thinking

view from window of angry doc's consultation room

angry doc apologises for the lack of posts over the past few days. The fact is the haze is just sapping the energy out of him as he has to take a lot of time correcting the misconception of all his patients who, like the patient quoted in in this news article, are blaming every medical condition they have on the haze:


"I haven't had cough and flu for the past two years. So I believe it is due to the haze. The cough is pretty bad so I came here to see the doctor,"

Unless the virus has flown all the way from Indonesia with the smoke, angry doc thinks it's a little unfair to pin it all on the haze. More importantly, the seasonal winds have always been blowing from other lands, whether or not they carry smoke particles that allow you to actually visualise the process, so there is no reason to believe that the infection has actually anything to do with the fires and the haze.

But it illustrates how the human mind often mistakes temporal sequence with causality. angry doc will not be surprised if a patient who blames a viral infection on the haze subsequently buys himself an air-purifier and later, when the viral illness has run its natural course, attributes his recovery to the machine.
Of course it is also likely that the patient just has a reaction to the irritants in the haze, and does not actually have 'the flu', but respiratory illnesses are not the only ones that are being pinned on the haze; angry doc suspects the ophthalmologists must be seeing an increase in the number of referrals for cataracts this month.

ll that is understandable, of course.

What puzzles angry doc, however, is the advice to stay indoors.

Unless a house is under positive pressure from an air source that has been passed through a (good) filtered ventilation system, angry doc fails to understand why the smoke particles that have traveled all the way across the seas would be so obliging as to stop at the threshold of your door or your window sill (sill - I've always wanted to use that word!).

After all, wouldn't Brownian Motion ensure that the smoke particles are as evenly distributed in the air inside as they are in the air outside a house?

Perhaps people *think* that it is less hazy indoors simple because the average room is not big enough for the effects of the smoke particles on visibility to be obvious? In other words, maybe people think it's less hazy indoors only because it *looks* less hazy?



  • Maybe the smoke particles tend to settle down on the surfaces of the room? Provided you limit ventilation of course.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 17, 2006 8:05 pm  

  • Hehe.. at least my office has got better view than yours. :) You "window view" looks more like a dull looking grey colored wall ?

    What's wrong with the advice to stay indoors?
    Certainly can breathe better in the aircon room. But for those with sensitive airway, the cough will not stop when the haze is teruk.. even when u stay indoors.

    Have been in and out of JKT this past month. The air quality in JKT has never been good, but it's not as teruk as the Haze we have in S'pore and M'sia. *bleah*

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At October 17, 2006 9:24 pm  

  • no kidding. thank goodness I'm all the way across the ocean from Malaysia where the haze can't chase me.

    or wait! *gasp* CAN it?

    *dum dum DUMMMM*

    P.S. my window view IS a dull looking grey coloured wall. nothing wrong with dull looking grey coloured walls.

    By Blogger The Angry Medic, At October 18, 2006 4:47 am  

  • There's no doubt, the guy is completely right.
    get it | site | here

    By Anonymous Marvin, At July 03, 2012 4:05 am  

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