Traveling for business means exposure to potential risks such as political unrest, terrorist attacks, medical crises—and air pollution. As outlined in BCD Travel’s Inform report, Air Quality and Business Travel, only half of the 100 most visited cities worldwide have clean air. Below are tips and tricks business travelers can use to guard against the harmful effects of air pollution.
Before you travel to a destination with unhealthy air pollution:
- Familiarize yourself with your company’s virtual meeting capabilities. Maybe you can avoid a trip to a city with poor air quality.
- Get to know your company’s travel policy on health and emergency plans.
- Monitor the Air Quality Index, weather websites and local media to understand if the risk is particularly high during your stay.
- Travelers with a medical history of lung or heart issues should be extra vigilant.
- Discuss your planned trip with your doctor.
- Carry appropriate medications, such as inhalers for asthma, as well as documentation. You may need a doctor’s letter to get the medicines through customs.
- Research whether the air quality in your destination improves certain times of the year, and consider postponing your trip until pollution decreases.
- Exercise outdoors early in the morning to lower potential exposure to pollution.
- Avoid high-traffic areas where pollution will be worst.
- Use mass transportation and ride in enclosed cars.
- Consider wearing a personal air quality monitor to assess risks in real time.
- Opt for glasses, rather than contact lenses, to minimize eye irritation. Or pack plenty of saline solution.
- Consider wearing a pollutant-filtering mask, such as an N95 respirator.
- Watch out for repeated coughing, pain when taking a deep breath, tightness in your chest or wheezing. All can be signs that you’re overexposed to polluted air. If you have these symptoms, go indoors immediately.
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