Air Pollution Health Advice

Air Quality Index for Health (AQIH) advice for “Poor” or “Very Poor” air quality:

General population – advice for very poor air quality

Reduce physical exertion particularly outdoors, especially if you experience symptoms such as cough or sore throat. 

Older people and those with heart and lung conditions

If you are older or have a heart or lung condition, you might avoid physical exertion on days with poor or very poor air quality. 

Adults and children with asthma

If you (or your child) has asthma, you should make sure that you are taking your medication correctly. If you are unsure, ask your health care practitioner (your local doctor or pharmacist). You may notice that you have to use your inhaled reliever medication more. 

Adults with heart and circulatory conditions

If you have heart and circulatory conditions, you should not change your treatment schedules based on advice provided by the AQIH. You should seek advice from your health care practitioner (your local doctor or pharmacist) if you need to. 

(Elite and non-elite) athletes

If you are an athlete, even if you are not asthmatic, you may find you are not performing as well as you expect when levels of a certain air pollutant (ground-level ozone) cause poor or very poor air quality.

You may notice that when you breathe deeply you feel some discomfort in your chest. This does not mean you are in any danger but it may be better if you do less exercise on these days. 

 Additional Health Advice

At very high levels of air pollution, some people including healthy individuals, may experience a sore or dry throat, sore eyes or, in some cases, a tickly cough.

Adults and children with lung problems, adults with heart problems, and older people, should avoid strenuous physical activity.  People with asthma may find they need to use their reliever inhaler more often.

Those with heart and circulatory conditions should not modify their treatment schedules except in line with a health practitioner’s advice.  If necessary, contact your GP, consultants or local emergency room.

Further information about air pollution, including the current levels in your area, can be found on the EPA website.