Unfortunately, high levels of pollution in big cities come and go and we can’t always avoid going outside. So what should you do if you find yourself in this situation?
We’ve pulled together a few critical pieces of advice to help answer this question.
To begin with, avoid intense physical activities – they make you more vulnerable to pollution by increasing the volume of air you breathe and opening your pulmonary alveoli.
Use your Plume Labs app to schedule your activities for when pollution is lowest. Avoid major roads, and try to breathe through your nose—which filters particulate matter better. Isn’t Mother Nature amazing? Take an opportunity for a quick stop-off at a park, river or pedestrianised area for a breather.
What mode of transport should you take?
If you can, leave your car at home. As well as being bad for the environment, taking your car out during a pollution peak is bad for your health. Research shows that the inside of a car prevents pollutants from dispersing. The damage is much more intense inside your car than outside it, greatly increasing your exposure.
If you have to drive, close your windows if you are in heavy traffic. Set up closed-circuit air conditioning in order to recycle and filter the air in your vehicle. If you don’t have AC, it’s also possible to temporarily stop your car’s ventilation system in high pollution areas. Open your windows to clean out air pollution when driving down less congested streets!
Your bike is your best friend! Contrary to popular belief, bikes are the means of transport that least exposes you to air pollution! Ride on cycle lanes whenever you can, breathe through your nose and don’t push yourself too hard. Your lungs (and your thighs!) will thank you! Be careful not to cycle too fast, so as not to get out of breath.
Ideally, staying indoors during pollution peaks is the best way to reduce your exposure, but don’t forget to ventilate when the air is clear!