Personal Health

Steps you can take to protect your family.

You can lower your exposure to air pollution when you:

  • Avoid exercise* when outdoor air quality is poor or consider exercising indoors—because active people take in more air when they are active they may inhale more pollutants from the air.
  • Avoid highly polluted areas where possible—try to minimize exposure to areas with higher air pollution, such as high-traffic areas.
  • Be aware of potential hazards in your indoor environment and try to reduce exposures.
  • Consider using HEPA filters to remove particles from indoor air. For example, one community affected by forest fires lowered indoor smoke pollution by 65% using HEPA filters.
  • Talk to your family doctor or health care professional if you have concerns about your health or health of a family member.

You can monitor outdoor air quality:

  • The Air Quality Health Index from Health Canada and Environment Canada has real-time air quality ratings and forecasts. It gives health messages based on air quality monitoring. It is available in cities across Canada where air quality monitors are found.
  • People can use current Air Quality Health Index readings and forecasts to plan their outdoor activities for periods when health risks are lower. 

Source: Health Canada

Extra Tip

* Outdoor exercise can be very beneficial for your health and some forms of outdoor exercise, like bike riding and other forms of active transportation,6 are good for the environment too. However, when the air quality is poor, extra caution should be taken by moving exercise indoors and looking for other environmentally-friendly modes of transportation that don’t contribute to even more air pollution. Examples include taking public transit, car-sharing/car pooling, or telecommuting when possible. 

6 Government of Canada. (2014, May). Active transportation. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/being-active/active-transportation.html