Hi everybody, today’s topic of this write up is really really close to my heart. Air is important for everybody, nobody can live without it of course, and looking at the current standards of the quality of air around us, it is even becoming more important than before. WHY do I say that this topic is very close to my heart, because I come from a family who has a history of a lot of allergies, including asthma, skin allergies and what not? I have been countering asthma since my childhood and so is my husband. My little daughter has it in here genes as well, so she gets her cough bouts on and off. We try to be very particular about knowing what triggers these allergies in us and try to avoid the things that do. Finding out the triggers is a long and disheartening process as well, as it is basically a trial and error method, where you make an effort to try different things and find out what triggers the allergies in you and disheartening because there are certain things that you love to do or love to eat and because they become one of the triggers you need to avoid them completely. I can write and discuss this topic for ages, but today I just want to stress on the betterment of air quality inside your house and how it can help you and your family’s health in so many ways.
There is not much you can do about the outside air quality apart from just playing your part for the environment, but you all already know that!
In spite of the outside air being polluted there are high chances that you might be having bad air days even inside your home. “Inside air quality can be even worse than outside air quality in many cases”, which can affect your health and the health of your family. Bad air can trigger coughing, sore throat, chest tightness, watery or itchy eyes, shortness of breath and even a full-blown asthma attack. If you live in a house with chronically poor air quality, you can experience frequent headaches, lasting colds, bronchitis and chronic asthma.
There are potential sources of air pollution in just about every room of your house, but there are also very simple techniques and measures available to keep these sources and triggers under check. But the big question now is, what could be polluting the insides of your home? The answer is very simple, the pollutants that lurk outside can be found inside homes as well, where they can join forces with other irritants, hence making the trigger attack a lot more forceful. Here, I am discussing a couple of tips to keep the indoor air quality up—–
1. Don’t allow smoking indoors- Well, what better thing to say— that just don’t allow it anywhere, but if someone in your family or friends smokes, please make sure they don’t smoke inside your house. Cigarettes are so harmful, and there are no safe levels even for second hand smoke.
2. Increase ventilation in your house- Flinging open a window doesn’t mean you are healthily ventilating your house, as outdoor air can be really bad during some days bringing in more pollution, dirt as well as mold inside the house. Try using trickle ventilation, which is a filtered screen and adjusts to most of the windows and allows only fresh air in.
3. Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers- Use that AC of yours during summers, as most of the pollutants are water soluble, and the AC reduces the amount of humidity inside, so ends up removing these irritants. Standing water, leaks and high humidity encourage the growth of dust mites, mold and mildew—the most common triggers of asthma. Use a dehumidifier when you feel the humidity is too high, and clean them and your ACs frequently.
4. Kill dust mites– These are uninvited guests in your houses and are a trigger for many problems like cough, sore throat, asthma. They are majorly found in places where you sleep (around your pillows, mattresses) and where you relax (your furniture) and of course on those carpets. Dust mites don’t like dryness around them, so using a dehumidifier and AC is a very good idea. Vacuum your furniture and almost daily. And also wash your beddings in very hot water and dry them thoroughly before use.
5. Use low VOC cleaning products and paints- Cleaning the house is good, but not with VOC products. VOC means ‘Volatile Organic Compounds’ and are found in household cleaning products and paints. Paints release VOC gases for months after they are applied and are fully dried. And these gases are very harmful if inhaled. Use VOC free or low VOC products, and open windows and use exhausts to remove these gases from your house. DONOT store open paint containers inside your house.
6. Clean up after your pet- Pet allergies are very common, and can occur from a pet’s saliva, urine, feces, hair and dead skin cells. If you are sensitive to pet allergens, keep your furry friends away from your sleeping rooms (at least). Clean floors and furniture frequently.
7. Ventilate your kitchen- Cooking can be a big source of indoor air pollution, especially if you use a gas stove. Cooking a single meal on a gas stove can produce levels of nitrogen dioxide, which are unsafe to breathe. So, ventilate your kitchen well and open the kitchen window when you cook or use an exhaust fan.
8. Remove those carpets- Carpets are the biggest breeding grounds for dust mites, fungi and easily trap chemicals, pet dander and dirt. Vacuuming can make all these particles air-borne, thus triggering many health issues. Removing the carpets is the best way to reduce pollutants in your house, but if you really want to use them inside, make sure you use a HEPA (high efficiency particle air) vacuum cleaner to ensure better air quality. Hard surface floors like wood, tiles etc can be easily cleaned with a damp mop and are easy to maintain as well.
9. Don’t use pesticides to avoid pests- Pests inside your home can also trigger lot allergies. But using pesticides to get rid of them can be dangerous of children and pets inside that house. Practice safe for home “integrated pest management” to keep pests in check like blocking holes, keeping food in air tight containers, covering trash cans, keeping floors and counters clean and free of crumbs. Use chemicals only as a last resort and take professional help.
10. Avoid dry cleaning chemicals- Dry cleaning chemicals can be toxic when inhaled. So, let your dry cleaned items air outdoors before bringing them inside.
I am going to stop here, but there are so many more small little things that you can do in order to keep the insides of your home healthy and pollution free and in turn keep your family healthy.
P.S. Post image credit