Breathing in quality air is an essential of maintaining health. Keeping the quality of air around you is one of the most effective ways to keep fit. However, when air pollution issues arise, we most likely neglect our indoor environments but focus on the outdoor pollutants, causes and effects. While this is the case, you may create a lot of problems unknowingly for yourself indoors. Poor quality air can either worsen most of your ill health conditions or initiate new health challenges with your indoor air pollution habits. The effects of this may be immediate or delayed but after much exposure, the greatest sufferers are the elderly, people with asthma, and children who are more likely to be playing on the ground.
While indoor air quality is often neglected, it’s yet more important. Controlling and breathing in quality indoor air is very significant for your health especially in your modern airtight home where indoor air finds it difficult to escape. Unfortunately, most of the indoor pollutants are brought into your home yourself. Common with most Americans, we spend most of our times indoors in our homes after our offices or automobiles. This is you I guess? Most of the times, the used chemicals in our homes, gas and other harmful pollutants causes numerous health problems in our homes like fatigue, allergies, eye irritations, headaches, and more unknowingly.
Check out some of the most common indoor air pollutants or pollution causes often neglected in your home:
• Pollutants from combustions such as Carbon monoxide and Nitrogen(II)oxide
These harmful pollutants result from improperly secured fuel-burning indoor materials or appliances like the space heaters, water heaters, wood stoves, fire places or oven, gas stoves, dryers etc. and build-up unknowingly.
Both gases (carbon monoxide and nitrogen(II)oxide) are odorless and colorless which makes them not easily detectable or perceived with the normal human senses. They interfere with the amount of oxygen delivered throughout the body and causes damage to the vital organs. Effects of this may include dizziness, weakness, headaches, vomiting and nausea, irritations (eyes, nose, and throat), increased risk of respiratory tract infections, seizure, and they may cause death in critical conditions.
Smoking causes another serious indoor pollution which is often not attended to since it’s a product of direct human consumption. Smokes from a cigarette, weeds among others are serious air pollutants in your home that has the tendency to worsen symptoms of asthma for sufferers, cause serious ear infection in children and increased risks of infant deaths.
“The residual gas and particles from cigarette smoke that settle… [do] pose health hazards, particularly in rooms with a lot of fabric or carpeting,” says pulmonologist Sumita Khatri, MD.
Identified as the second leading cause of Lung Cancer, Radon is a very dangerous air pollutant. Radon can enter your home through improperly sealed openings or cracks.
• Synthetic fragrances
Synthetic fragrances often used as air fresheners or in laundry products may pose some health challenges unknowing. They’re everywhere around us claimed to be tested and safe by the U.S safety test before they’re brought to the market but do you know the only test confirmed with these fragrances is just their skin irritation effects? Forget the names and labels or how effective and safe they claim to be. The many gases common out from these products are highly volatile and contain harmful organic compounds not tested at all for potential dangers. Long and overuse of these chemicals products can cause a lot of health challenges or worsen health concerns.
Other indoor air pollutants with harsh chemicals and irritating fumes are household cleaning supplies. These may also include:
• Particulates from incenses and candles.
• Fumes from dry-cleaned garments.
• Allergens (pollen, pet dander, dust mites, mold).
• Asbestos, lead, formaldehyde used in other buildings.
• Office supplies and craft such as toner ink, glues, and paints.
All these and more can worsen the health conditions of people with upper airways and sensitive lungs like asthma and chronic sinusitis.
Keeping the quality of your indoor air is one of the most critical health issues and its importance can’t be over emphasized. Being as important as quality air control and breathing is addressed, below are the most recommended ways to keep your indoor air quality optimum.
1. Avoid Indoor Smoking Quit smoking is the best answer to keep your overall health in check but if you must smoke, don’t do it indoors. What if you have a friend around who is a smoker? Ask him to go out and do the stuff outside if he must. Did you know, the smoke your friend exhaled after taking a drag contains over 4,000 different chemicals? Even with second-hand smoking, you aren’t risk-free to keep your pace wide or just from indoors.
2. Open Your Windows to Let Fresh Air In From Outside Ensure to open the windows of your home a few minutes every day to let in fresh air from the outside. This helps to lower the concentration of carbon monoxide and nitrogen (II) oxide build-up inside your home and it’s one of the most recommended ways for natural ventilation. Indeed, the quality of indoor air is typically several times poorer than the air outside, so, endeavor to open your windows as often as possible.
3. Use Recommended Air Purifiers or Filters While opening your windows let fresh air in from the outside, this isn’t too effective in extreme temperature or allergies. Using air filters is one surest way to solve the problem of your indoor air quality but you must be very careful to use only recommended filters. Some air purifiers can make the quality of your indoor air worse if they aren’t the right kinds. So, what you need is a high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) air filters only recommended by experts.
4. Reduce Moisture Using an Air Conditioner and or a Dehumidifier Using an Air Conditioner (AC) or a Dehumidifier helps to limit the growth of mold and the presence of dust mite indoor. Some molds produce mycotoxins and allergens which have severe adverse effects such as a stuffy and runny nose, skin and eye irritations, asthma attacks depending on the sensitivity of exposure and the kind of mold. This is applicable even to non-allergic people. A dehumidifier will effectively help you to control molds and endeavor to empty your AC drip containers/pans. Don’t forget to get your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) checked regularly.
5. Remove Your Shoes At The Door Whatever is your belief, everything turns to dust just with time. Some of these processes may be obvious while others may not. Have you ever watched your couch losing its shape in real-time? Or you’re a cat or pet owner seeing your foam turn into pieces? Then you already understand what I’m saying. However, with other materials that take a long time to crumble, the case is different. Whether you’re just a neat freak or a teenager engaged in domestic disarray, keeping your home clean is a must and an effective way to improve the quality of your indoor air. To do this, endeavor to keep a doormat in your doorstep and ask visitors to pull their shoes. Vacuuming or mopping your floor at least once a week is recommended.
6. Reduce The Use of Artificial Fragrances You should try fragrance-free products or products with natural scents for cleaning and laundering. You can arrange slices of lemons on a plate to perfume your room. Also, using baking soda to eliminate odors especially in your refrigerators is a good choice.
7. Track your humidity levels regularly using a Smart Baby Monitor (SBM). A SBM could be used for more than just infants – this product is a helpful tool to diagnose the air quality of your home.
8. Endeavor to keep your gas stove well-ventilated. As mentioned, modern construction has resulted in insulated, indoor spaces. While this is a great advancement structurally, it means less circulation in your home. Make sure that gas has a way to escape through ventilation, a fan, or an open window.
9. Remove any carpeting if possible. Carpet has a tendency to lock in particles from the air. Your carpet can be a breeding ground for releasing air-borne pathogens. Carpet removal is not always an option, but if you have the ability and means to do so, the change in flooring can be instrumental in your home’s air quality.
10. Ensure you seal all water leaks in your home. Water leaks can not only damage your home structurally, but also contaminate the air you breathe. Water leaks can create breeding grounds for mold and other air-borne pathogens.
11. Open your windows while cooking or taking your shower. Be conscious of the ventilation in your home, especially when you cook or shower. Make sure that the air has a place to escape.
12. User carbon monoxide detectors and also test your home for Radon regularly. The problem with ensuring your home’s air is up to quality standards is that it is difficult to visualize. Making sure your air is free of these invisible dangers is important to securing the health of your family.
13. You can also grow natural air filter plants in your home. Plants like the Variegated snake plant (Sansevieria Trisfasciata ‘Laurentii’), English ivy (Hedera helix), Peace lily, etc. Many house plants have air purifying qualities. Brighten your space and purify your air at the same time by adding greenery to your home!
14. Wash your beddings weekly using hot water. Like carpeting, linens can trap in airborne contaminants. Washing your sheets regularly helps refresh your air quality – and who doesn’t love to sleep in clean sheets?
Some little precautions can help you improve the quality of your indoor air and live healthier.