Take a Breath - Improving Indoor Air Quality One Step at a Time
For me, allergies to dust and pollen are an everyday occurrence and I do my best to deal with the symptoms.
I think we all tend to think of poor air quality and pollution as a thing that is centred on the outdoors, sometimes forgetting that it affects the inside of our homes as well. The air we breathe inside our homes, offices, can be just as bad as the air outside.
Little nasties like dust, formaldehyde, fire-retardants, an even those chemicals in your favourite home fragrance can have a negative effect on your health. These irritants can find there way into your house in new clothes and paints etc. and can cause real problems.
With dust mites, mould and pet dander you have even more issues to contend with. Those with asthma and the elderly may be even more sensitive to these things as so far as to have reactions on initial contact, whereas others may feel the effects of long-term exposure after weeks, months or even years of exposure.
Indoor allergens and irritants have become more hard hitting with the changes in our daily lives, spending more time indoors and the fact that a lot of us are living in an air-conditioned house where airing out the house is almost a thing of the past for some people.
The steps that I have outlined are there to assist everyone to be more comfortable and I hope that they will help people to consider ways to improve their daily lives. These are the sort of considerations that will not only help the average joes, but they may be of assistance to those that suffer from other more chronic and debilitating disorders, like Cystic Fibrosis (CF) or anything thing else that may require some form of infection/contagion control.
Simple Steps to Improve Air Quality Inside Your Home
1. floors glistening and carpets cleaned.
I can hear those sweet tones of the vacuum from here. Throughout our daily lives, our flooring can pick up and hold onto all kinds of chemicals and allergy-inducing things. A decent vacuum with a HEPA filter you can be a real lifesaver if used regularly in your home. You will be ridding your home of as many other toxins, allergens, pet dander, and dust mites as you possibly can.
Using a vacuum cleaner that has strong suction, rotating brushes, a HEPA filter and preferably bagless (empty it outside) will ensure that dust and dirt won't just be sucked up and through the back of the vacuum and back out into your lovely home. When it comes to the most used spaces in the home, please be sure to go over those areas a couple of times. Don't forget walls, carpet edges, and upholstered furniture, where dust accumulates. For best results, vacuum two or more times each week and wash out your filter regularly.
Mop it up. Mopping picks up the dust that vacuuming leaves behind on smooth surfaces. You can skip the soaps and cleaners and just use plain water to capture any lingering dust or allergens. Microfibre mops and cloth are the way to go as they capture and hold more dust etc. than your average cloth or leftover pieces of that t-shirt that you loved so much. A side benefit of utilising microfibre is that the need for using cleansers and cleaning liquids evaporates, as it actually works better with just some water.
Let it breathe. Whilst you are airing out your house make sure that you take out your rugs and mats. The little buggers can hold a lot of nasties. Getting them outside and giving them a good belting will get rid of the junk.
You have to bear in mind that rugs tend to be in the highest traffic areas of your house and therefore get the biggest hit of dirt and other pollutants.
2. Humid Horrors.
Keeping your crib at under 50 percent humidity is your aim. Those pesky dust mites and that mould that we all seem to have at one time or another love moisture. So limiting the range of humidity in your home will limit their growth, keeping the pesky buggers under control.
Investing in a dehumidifier and decent air conditioner during summer will also alleviate moisture in the air and helpt to control those allergy triggers, plus you get the benefit of staying cool in the heat
3. Butt out the smokes.
This can be one of the worst for sufferers. A practical instant trigger. We should all now be aware that secondhand smoke would have to be one of the worst potential polluters of indoor environments
Do yourself a favour and make sure your house is a no-fly zone with the smokers in your life. Those little ciggies release all kinds of chemicals that are going to making any potential symptoms that you might have flared up.
Smokers, be aware that your addiction is not only putting those around you at risk but also yourself. You are priming your body for cancer, respiratory problems, heart disease, and even a stroke.
4. Let the fresh air roll on in, and keep it all clean.
Fresh air is best and by ensuring that you opening your windows when you can, will help, though watch that pollen counts. Open windows will let your house air and give your house a chance to rid itself of any chemicals that have been building up. If the outside makes you sneeze and itch then stick with air conditioning ensuring that it is properly filtered will help you no end.
Bring the outdoors in, with some nice non-irritating plants that will help purify that air for you and use natural cleansers and air fresheners were you can. I once learnt whilst working in a kitchen as a teenager that some sliced lemons and baking soda are the perfect deodorizer for your home to get a clean scent in the home and particularly in the kitchen. An added benefit when added to a bowl of water and placed in the bottom of your fridge, it will actively remove any odours that may have built up in there.