Most healthy people do not feel any different if the air quality is worse than usual for a short time. However, some people do find that air pollution affects their health and wellbeing.
When air pollution is higher than usual, people who already have heart or lung problems are more likely to become unwell and need treatment. They should take their doctor’s advice.
Older people are more likely to suffer from heart and lung problems than young people, so it makes good sense for them to be aware of the air quality.
Children (as long as they are well) usually need not stay away from school, or avoid taking part in games, because of air pollution. Children with asthma should make sure they have their usual medicines with them on days when levels of air pollution are higher than usual.
If air pollution reaches “very high” levels, even some healthy people may get a sore or dry throat, sore eyes or perhaps a tickly cough.
However, different people are affected in different ways. Some people are very sensitive to air pollution and find that even low levels of pollution affect their wellbeing. So, anyone who has asthma or any other health problem that may make them sensitive to pollution should take the advice of their doctor.
This information is based on the information provided by NIdirect on “Air Pollution and Health”, which can be found at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/air-pollution-and-health#toc-1 and Defra’s advice on “Short-term effects of air pollution on health” which can be found at http://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/air-pollution/effects?view=short-term)