It’s hard to avoid polluted air these days. It seems like every country, no matter how pristine their environment, has air pollution of one kind or another. It’s even worse when you’re located in a city, where you’re bombarded by industrial and commercial air pollution every single day.
Buses, cars, and other forms of transportation release pollutants into the air, as do factories. The result is a whole lot of unpleasant air that you don’t want to breathe in. Thankfully, there are several ways to protect yourself from this air.
1) Wear a Filtration Mask
If you absolutely need to be outside, then you should wear a mask that filters the air. This is the best way to protect yourself and your health. Before you choose a mask, read the back of the package to ensure that it will filter out all of the air pollution particles. Some of the best are made of military grade materials, such as carbon.
One of the universal things to look for, no matter where you’re located, is an N99 grade mask. This is one of the best types on the market. On top of this, you should be able to find filtration masks in various sizes, and some companies even make them for kids and pets.
2) Always Check the Air Quality Reports for Your Area
Your local news station or weather website will have air quality reports listed on it. Make sure to check them before you head outdoors. If the air quality is good, you might be able to head outside without a mask on, but if it’s bad – then you know how to properly prepare.
Get into the habit of checking these reports every morning, so you don’t get any unpleasant surprises. It’s always important to protect yourself, and knowledge is the first step of that process.
3) Don’t Exercise Outdoors in Near High Traffic Areas
High traffic areas are the worst as far as air pollution is concerned. Since alternative fueled cars haven’t taken over the roadways, those areas are filled with exhaust fumes. There are few ways to avoid them, especially if you have to travel on those roads. However, when it comes to exercise spaces, you do have a choice here. You can actively avoid those high traffic roads.
Remember that when you exercise, you breathe in more heavily due to the physical activity. Because of this, you’ll breathe in more polluted air than you would just walking around casually.
4) Use an Air Purifier in Your Home
Air purifiers are designed to handle a very specific job – they purify the air around you. These devices suck in the air, run it through a series of filters (or a single filter, depending on the machine) and then spit out clean air. If you’re worried about air pollution ending up in your home, then this is one good way to combat it.
These devices are easy to find, fairly inexpensive (the filters are your biggest expense) and they work quite well. Many of them don’t even take up much space. As you’ll see, an air purifier is a great investment and a good way of protecting yourself from air pollution.
5) Place Air Filtering Plants around Your Home and Workspace
There are indoor plants that can filter the air around you. If you’re worried about the air pollution getting into your home or office through an open window, then you have two choices – don’t open that window no matter how nice the weather is, or place some air filtering plants near the windows in order to clean the air.
The latter is the best option. Some of these air filtering plants have additional uses as well, like aloe vera, which can be used on sunburns and as a moisturizer. Spider plants are another great air filter, although they don’t have as many uses as aloe. Not only are these plants good for your indoor environment, but they’ll make your space seem cozier as well.
6) Wait until Evening to Head Outdoors
If you plan on doing anything outside of your home, such as gardening, relaxing with a book, or even barbecuing, make sure to wait until it’s officially evening. Why? Well, the air is a bit cleaner at this time of the day, because the pollution that has been kicked up has time to settle. Air pollution is at its strongest during the day when all of the factories are open and items are being produced. High traffic times, such as the morning and evening rush hours, produce a lot of pollution as well.
If you wait until after you’ve eaten dinner to head outdoors, this pollution has had a chance to settle. The air will be of better quality and you won’t have to worry about breathing in any air pollution.
This article is a work of Paul Smith in support of Samitivej Hospital in Thailand.