How Pollution Affects Us When We Travel

Pollution is a huge issue for many of us all over the world. It is something which is invisible to the eye but affects many of us in adverse ways. When travelling in particular, pollution can cause issues with our health- so to avoid this here is some information about pollution and how to plan our trip to protect ourselves.

Air Pollution Symptoms

Air pollution of course is one major thing we all experience when flying by plane, and the short term symptoms of this can include headaches, nausea, chest pain, coughing and even respiratory issues such as pneumonia. If you already have a long-standing illness such as asthma, flying and being in contact with pollutants will exacerbate this. If you come into contact with air pollution for a long period of time, you could start to develop a chronic respiratory illness and even allergies.

What Causes Air Pollution?

  • Carbon monoxide- It reduces the amount of oxygen which reaches your organs. It can even cause mental issues when exposed to high doses.
  • Ozone- Not the atmosphere layer, this Ozone is closer to the ground and when it reacts with sunlight, it forms toxic chemicals. If you have lung issues such as emphysema, this can irritate it.  
  • Sulfur dioxide – it constricts your airways.
  • Nitrogen oxide- It aggravates and inflames your respiratory system.
  • Particulate Matter- For those who suffer from heart or lung disease, particulate matter can be dangerous. When inhaled they can travel to organ and mess with body function. You can find out more here:

Plan Your Trip

Of course, we know that the big cities have more pollutions due to the volume of cars and factories which reside there, but actually smog can also affect rural areas too if there is a factory which undergoes mining. The point of preparing for your trip is not necessarily to avoid pollution altogether because that can be difficult, but instead to prepare effectively for it. Before you travel you need to think about your health. Do you have a chronic illness and need extra oxygen such as Of so you may struggle with travelling to built up areas. You will also want to consider your age and weight. Elderly people and children are more vulnerable so we may need to make extra considerations.

The next thing to think about is where you want to go. Do you want to travel to a big city? Or maybe a rural area which doesn’t get much rainfall. Are you going for a short holiday or for a longer period, and what season will you travel? Smog occurs more on hot and humid days so it may be best to avoid these.


  • If you have asthma, travel with your inhaler present all the time.
  • In other countries which suffer from smog they may advise you to stay indoors on some days. Don’t ignore the warnings.
  • Try to avoid too much activity if you feel like you are in a place with a lot of air pollution.
  • Think about asking for a breathing mask if you are going somewhere which is very polluted.

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