Air pollution is the cause of many health related issues. They can range from short term medical difficulties to very serious lifetime diseases. Poor air quality can affect your cognition, decrease your life expectancy, and cause developmental issues in children. If you’re living in a city with high air pollution, here are five ways to reduce your exposure.
For starters, find out what is your current air quality index (AQI). Head to AirNow.gov to see the current AQI for your area and what is forecasted for the rest of the day. On this site, you will also find resources pertaining to your specific area. Your local newspapers may also publish information about the daily air quality as well. If the air quality for that day is poor, consider staying indoors.
If you enjoy exercising outside, do it during the morning. Early hours of the morning are when the ozone is the lowest. Cardio workouts draw air deeper into your lungs which can cause an issue if the air you’re breathing is heavily polluted. Working out in close proximity to a roadway is highly inadvisable as well, since that is where the air is dense with pollution from vehicle exhaust.
Additionally, you should avoid heavy traffic whenever possible. Sitting in bumper-to-bumper rush hour exposes you to the exhaust of trucks, busses, and other commuters around you. These air pollutants have proven to increase negative health outcomes. If possible, commute during irregular traffic hours. If you find yourself in traffic such as this, keep your windows closed and set your fan on recirculate to avoid the outside air from coming in. Don’t forget to replace your car’s air filters on a regular basis as well.
If you’re a smoker, it’s time to learn how to quit. If your friends and loved ones smoke, help them quit as well. Smoking causes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and many other diseases. Second hand smoke is just as harmful so not only are you causing harm to yourself, you’re also causing harm to those around you. To avoid second hand smoke from others, stay away from places that allow smoking indoors such as restaurants and bars.