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Outdoor air pollution and your lungs

Breathing is easy when it’s easy to breathe. But that’s not always the case. No matter where you live, you likely experience some level of air pollution. This can be caused by traffic, smoke or seasonal smog, among other contaminants. But how does it affect your health?

Air pollution is a mix of particles and gases like ozone, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide that negatively affect your health and breathing. High levels of smog can be found in both urban and rural areas across the country, as wind carries pollutants hundreds of kilometres. The effects range from short-term, like coughs or lung infections, to long-term like an increased risk of asthma.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to limit your exposure. Here are some guidelines:

Stay informed. The air quality index at is a great resource that can help you plan your day.

Try to eliminate possible sources of pollution. This may mean staying indoors in a cool, clean area when pollution levels are high, avoiding exposure to smoke or choosing air-friendly household products.

Consult with your healthcare provider. Lastly, if you have asthma or any other lung disease, consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that you fully understand it, the impacts of air pollution and how to treat your symptoms.