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Air pollution in Hong Kong: how can I protect my health ?
Air quality is unfortunately a major concern in Hong Kong and high levels of pollution affect everyone in the city. So how can you protect your health and avoid long-term effects?
Check the pollution levels
To begin with, regularly check the pollution indices. There are several apps that you can download on your smartphone, such as “Air Quality”, “HK AQHI” or “Air Matters” to see the evolution of the air quality. You can also easily check your area’s air quality indices in real time from your computer.
When pollution levels are particularly high, avoid any outdoor activity or physical exercise such as running or hiking. During these periods of time, endurance sports are unfortunately not good for your health because of the high particle load you inhale during long exercises. Instead, prefer outdoor activities and exercise outside when pollution levels are low or moderate.
Improve air quality in your home
In addition, you also need to protect your health when you are at home with your family. As the outside air is polluted, the same applies for your indoor air. First of all, make sure that you maintain good air ventilation by opening windows regularly.
Then, it is strongly advised to purchase an air purifier to clean the air inside your house. The most important area where the air should be cleaned is your bedroom, as it is the place where you spend most of your time. There are many brands with various prices and different levels of performance, but even the most affordable ones will considerably improve the quality of the air inside your home.
Last but not least, one eco-friendly solution is simply to use plants to purify your indoor air. As they won’t be able to clean the air completely, plants will contribute to remove chemical toxins, reduce CO2 levels and enrich the air with more oxygen.
Because you are regularly exposed to high levels of pollutants, it is essential to prepare your body to react against it. Eating healthy food will help you boost your immune system and be prepared against external aggressions.
Studies have shown that the vitamin C and E contained in certain foods can contribute to clean your system, while antioxidants happen to have amazing anti-inflammatory qualities.
Consider wearing anti-pollution mask
If you are very sensitive to air pollution, you also have the possibility wear an anti-pollution mask when indices are too high. Make sure you choose an efficient mask with a proper filter technology (classic cotton masks won’t offer any protection against pollution) and that it fits your face properly, otherwise it will lose its efficiency.
Although it is not the most convenient solution, it can make a real difference for people suffering from respiratory condition such as asthma. And once again, if you practice a regular outdoor activity, it can help you reduce the high particle load you inhale while exercising.
Moreover, if you have been living in Hong Kong for a long time, you may have experienced a few pollutions peaks throughout the years, because of strong winds bringing all the pollution from China for instance. During those peaks, air pollution can directly affect your health and it is strongly advised to stay indoors. If it is really necessary for you to go outside, don’t forget to wear one of these masks to avoid any direct damage on your health.
Help the city be healthier for everyone
Finally, in addition to our advice to protect your health, you can also bring your own contribution to make the city less polluted.
First of all, always favor public transports over private ones. In Hong Kong, we have the privilege to be surrounded by a well-established public transportation network, so always think twice before using a private mean of transportation.
Then, an easy way to minimize your carbon footprint is to reduce your energy consumption at home. Always switch off your domestic appliances when they are not in use. For instance, don’t leave your air conditioner turned on all day if you are away from home. Did you know that leaving your aircon running for one hour with no one in the room is equivalent to leaving the light on for four days? Also, when you purchase new appliances, always check the energy label and chose the most energy efficient ones.
As all of this might be small scale solutions, be sure that every single measure will contribute to boost environmental protection!
Don’t forget to get your health checked
Because health risks are generally higher in polluted areas, don’t forget to get your health checked regularly. As healthcare costs are relatively high in Hong Kong, make sure that you have the right health insurance to cover all your medical expenses. You can visit our website to discover MyHEALTH, a package providing you with a comprehensive and fully flexible cover, or simply contact [dot] hk [at] april [dot] com (contact one of our advisors) to learn more about your insurance options.