China is now experiencing major public health challenges caused by air pollution. Few studies have quantified the dynamics of air pollution and its impact on the risk of respiratory infection. We conducted an integrated data analysis to quantify the association among air quality index (AQI), meteorological variables and respiratory infection risk in Shaanxi province of China in the period of November 15th, 2010 to November 14th, 2016. Our analysis illustrated a statistically significantly positive correlation between the number of influenza-like illness (ILI) cases and AQI, and the respiratory infection risk has increased progressively with increased AQI with a time lag of 0-3 days. We also developed mathematical models for the AQI trend and respiratory infection dynamics, incorporating AQI-dependent incidence and AQI-based behaviour change interventions. Our combined data and modelling analysis estimated the basic reproduction number for the respiratory infection during the studying period to be 2.4076, higher than the basic reproduction number of the 2009 pandemic influenza in the same province. Our modelling-based simulations concluded that, in terms of respiratory infection risk reduction, the persistent control of emission in the China's blue-sky programme is much more effective than substantial social-economic interventions implemented only during the smog days.