Unbelievably, the air within modern homes can be upwards of five times more polluted than outdoor air. When you also consider that we can spend up to ninety percent of our lives indoors, the term sick building syndrome should require little explanation. Outside air, unlike inside, is recycled repeatedly with pollutants such as tobacco smoke, pollen, mold, dust and pet dander all adding towards asthma and allergies.
There are various symptoms associated with so called sick building syndrome including sinus congestion, watery or itchy eyes, headaches, lethargy, lack of concentration and nausea. However, because several of these symptoms are similar to those of a common cold, it is not always easy to ascertain if indoor pollution is the cause or if it is because of some form of virus.
If you find that, the symptoms fade when you outside, you should try to discover inside air sources, which might be possible causes and endeavour to get rid of them. As luck would have it, indoor air pollution is one health hazard that you can do something about.
Here are seven easy measures you can take to improve the air quality in your home.
1. Banish Smoking Inside the Home
Ideally, you should ban smoking anywhere inside the home but if this is not possible, try to confine it to one place. In our case, if friends or family, who are also smokers, visit, they are either banished to the back yard or the kitchen area. If you have an extractor fan installed in the kitchen, make sure that it is turned on and try to have smokers stand reasonably close to the fan so that the fumes are sucked out.
2. Open Your Windows Once In a While
If it is not freezing cold or blowing a gale outside, let some outdoor air in by opening your windows and doors every now and then. Doing so will also remove some of the pollutants that have built up within your house.
3. Chuck out Those Chemical Cleaners
If you have ever taken the time to study the labels on household cleaning products, most of them will include a warning about how harmful the chemicals are for your health or skin. Every time you use that product, fumes from whatever is in the bottle are released into the air for you to inhale. I have quite often started coughing after spraying counter tops with so called anti-bacterial cleaner. Not any longer though, as my natural housecleaning products of choice are now baking soda, washing soda, vinegar and pure lemon juice. These are all non-toxic, environmentally friendly and can tackle the majority of cleaning chores, either separately or combined with one another.
4. Clean and Dust Your Home on a Regular Basis
Although it might seem obvious to some folks, regularly vacuuming your carpets and flooring can go a long way in controlling airborne allergens and dust. It is claimed that some 70% of all household dust is composed of dead skin, which we humans shed day in and day out. Dust mites in turn feed upon the dead skin that falls from our bodies. They then grow and shed their own skin and it is this together with their faeces that cause allergic reactions in people.
5. Pet Dander Triggers Allergies
If you have a family pet, they will shed dander that can trigger allergies and asthma. Something needs to be done if you suspect that either you or another household member is allergic to pet dander. Ideally, it is best to keep pets out of the house altogether although that is seldom possible. As a viable alternative, try to restrict the rooms that the pet is allowed into. One definite area to keep them out of is the bedroom.
6. Reduce Indoors Air Humidity
If the climate where you live is either very humid or just plain damp (as in too much rainfall), you will no doubt be aware of just how much moisture levels within your house can increase. This excessive moisture or humidness is the ideal breeding conditions for mold. For anyone with allergies, mold spores can cause as many health problems as airborne dust. Dehumidifiers can be a godsend in a humid environment since they are capable of removing excess dampness from the surrounding air; thereby keeping mold and the resulting spores at bay.
7. Get an Indoor Air Purifier
Home air purifiers or room air cleaners do as their name suggests and clean the air of pollutants and allergens such as mold spores, pollen, cigarette smoke and pet dander. Besides being used to reduce the concentration of these airborne contaminants, they are especially useful for people who suffer from allergies and asthma attacks. Air purifiers and room air cleaners are quickly increasing in popularity because they make indoor air healthier and cleaner.