Be aware of pollution levels
Levels of air pollution change from day to day, so it’s worth keeping an eye on them. Find daily air quality forecasts in your area at uk-air.defra.gov.uk, which also gives health advice.
Avoid the kerb
Scientists say that inhaling particles from diesel vehicles can have a damaging effect on the heart. If you need to walk alongside roads where there is heavy traffic, it’s best to keep to the side of the pavement that’s furthest from the kerb.
It’s all in the timing
In summer, air quality is often worse at midday or during the afternoon, when the sun is at its warmest. If possible, avoid busy roads around these times, especially when it is smoggy.
Consider wearing a mask
The British Lung Foundation says that masks don’t prevent tiny particles of pollutants from entering the lungs, and this is what is most damaging to your health. However, some masks filter out nitrogen dioxide, which is good if you have to cycle in areas of heavy traffic fumes — as long as the mask doesn’t hamper your breathing.
Take it easy
When air quality is poor, children and adults who have heart or lung problems should avoid strenuous exercise, especially in the outdoors. Those with asthma might need to use their reliever inhaler more frequently. If wheeziness gets worse, seek medical help.