Before moving to China, everyone and their mother warned me about how terrible the air pollution was. Half of these people had never even been to China but it’s no secret that China’s air pollution is not the best environment for those who are more sensitive. You can, however, use these next tips to combat the air pollution. Keep in mind that different cities have varying daily AQI levels. If you’re in a city with more factories or closer to the north, you’re more likely to have smog in the winter months. Before you freak out and buy an inhaler, do a little research on your city and keep up with your area’s AQI readings each day. China has been curtailing operations at large factories to help reach their goal AQI levels. Until then, try out these next five steps to protect your lungs.
- Quit Smoking
This may sound like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised at how many people in China smoke despite the air quality. If you’re someone who has been smoking for a while, consider this one of the reasons to quit. Air pollution and smoking have very similar effects on the lungs so if you’re smoking and living in a heavily polluted city, the damage to your lungs is doubled.
- Work Out Inside
If you’re a runner and you like watching the trees as you run down the lane, you may want to invest in a gym membership. When you’re running outside, you’re breathing more of the polluted air as you gasp for each breath during the run and recovery. Though running on a treadmill isn’t as fun as running outside, you’ll be doing your lungs a huge favor.
- Invest in an Air Purifier
Investing in an air purifier improves the air quality in your home by filtering out pollutants like dust, smoke, and pollen. If you have allergies, then airborne particles aggravate your allergies and make them worse. If you’re sneezing and wheezing, you may be allergic to the airborne particles that you can’t see or track.
- Wear a Face Mask
Come winter, you’ll see plenty of people walking around with a face mask on. The face mask is a wonderful fashion accessory that can complement your outfit. Other than aesthetics, face masks have other applications as well. It protects you from PM 2.5 particles. PM 2.5 is the standard particle size that lurk in the air and can hurt your lungs. You can find them in stores and online with cute prints and cartoons printed on them.
- Chinese Remedies
The last recommendation is more of an unusual one. Chinese people have long used their diet to combat disease and sickness. Guess with one of the largest populations in the world, something is working, eh? Eating foods like garlic, wood ear fungus （木耳）, radish, and winter melon helps to clean out the lungs.
If you’re worried about the greenhouse gasses in the air, there’s no need to fret. China’s government has been stricter on industrial factories and has made significant strides in reducing pollution. China is actually outpacing the United States in reducing greenhouse gasses and lowering emissions as of May 2017. Personally as someone who has lived in China for some time, it has progressively gotten better and we just keep seeing more and more improvement.