Polluted Air? We got you covered!

Polluted Air? We got you covered!

Air pollution is a universal threat to the public, and not just in cities with smoggy reputations like Beijing, Mumbai and Los Angeles. According to the World Health Organization, about 6.5 million deaths are associated with fouled air annually, and, shockingly, 9 out of 10 people worldwide live in a place where the air is simply not clean enough for human health.

Though there’s little the average citizen can do to avoid air pollutants entirely, there are some actions they can take on a daily basis and in the long term to help protect themselves and others.

Here is what you can do to reduce the damage caused by air pollution.

  • Consult websites and apps: The best air quality measure for travelers’ purposes, according to Janice Nolen, assistant vice president of national policy for the American Lung Association, is the Air Quality Index, or AQI. This system “considers all monitored pollutants, including ozone and particle pollution in the air,” Nolen says. It rates samples in one of five color-coded categories from “good” (code green) to “hazardous,” (code maroon), with instructions for each level.
  • Bring a mask: While your destination may not have a high pollution rating, conditions can change in a hurry.  On a heavy pollution day, these are a good bet.
  • Check indoor air quality: When the air quality outside is bad, you want the air inside your hotel to be much better. Hotels are realizing that guests are willing to pay for perks designed to enhance air quality.
  • You can also use a portable air monitor such as the IQAir AirVisual Pro to check the quality of the air outdoors and inside.
  • Curb outdoor activities: On bad air days, keep the exercise inside, El-Hasan says. If you’re planning a jog and the AQI rating is way up, hit the treadmill in the hotel. If you’ve scheduled a bike tour but conditions are bad, consider postponing or taking a tour in an air-conditioned vehicle. Minimize outdoor activity around high traffic or rush-hour times and when there is fire or other pollution-heavy conditions.