Be Smog Smart strategies: How to protect your breathing on smog days.
Smog is bad for your health, especially if you have asthma. If you have asthma, smog can make your airways (breathing passages) swollen and filled with mucus. It can make you cough and wheeze, and make your chest feel tight. Protect your breathing on days when the air pollution is bad - be Smog Smart!
Get to know how smog affects your breathing. Smog can trigger asthma symptoms right away. You may notice your breathing gets worse after a few minutes outside on smoggy days. Smog can also trigger symptoms that you notice later on, even the next day.
Stay inside, if you have breathing difficulties. Find an indoor place that’s cool and well ventilated. Using an air conditioner that cools and filters air may help (you can reduce your energy use by not using your stove or dryer at the same time). If you open the windows, you may let in more polluted air. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, go to a public place (library, shopping mall, recreation centre) that is.
If you must go outside, take it easy. Don't exercise or exert yourself. Stay in the shade, away from roads with heavy traffic. Keep cool. Drink plenty of water.
Follow the advice in your asthma action plan.
Exercise indoors when smog levels are high. Everyone needs to exercise to stay healthy, including people with asthma. But exercising on smoggy days can be unhealthy, even dangerous, for people who have asthma. On days with a lot of smog, exercise indoors instead. If you must go out, do your outdoor activities (exercise, work, gardening) at times when pollution levels are lower, like early in the morning. Don’t exercise near busy roads, in industrial areas, or during rush hour.
Pay attention to your body. If you have asthma symptoms, stop what you’re doing, follow the advice in your asthma action plan, and go indoors. If you feel really sick, get medical help.
Keep your rescue medicine (blue puffer) on hand, especially if you're exercising or working outdoors.
If you have trouble controlling your asthma symptoms on smoggy days, talk to your health-care provider. If you can't control your asthma symptoms, talk to your doctor, nurse practitioner or certified asthma educator. Your health-care provider may increase your medication or change your asthma action plan.
Check your local air quality index every day. Smog can happen at any time in the year. Make it habit to check the air quality index every day, especially in the summer. If you know in advance that the air quality will be bad, you can plan your day around it.