Like the old saying goes, home is where the heart is. Indoors is also where you will likely spend the majority of your life. The average American will spend over 80% of their life indoors. When most people think about air pollution, they envision factory smokestacks, smog over a city or exhaust from a traffic jam. But indoor air quality can actually be worse than outdoor air quality.
During the colder winter months, we like to stay indoors to keep warm. During the warmer summer season, air conditioning is a welcome relief to the outside heat and humidity. For all the time we spend indoors in our home, it’s important to know the ways you can improve indoor air quality to stay healthy and comfortable, especially for people with allergies or respiratory issues.
HOW INDOOR AIR QUALITY EFFECTS YOUR HEALTH
Indoor air pollutants can have a profound impact on your comfort level and health. Over time, bad indoor air quality can also cause sickness and respiratory issues. Air pollutants can range from contaminants brought in by other people or pets, dust mites, spores, mold and mildew, dangerous gases like carbon monoxide and radon or volatile chemicals emitted from conventional cleaners and cooking. Indoor air quality tends to be worse in the winter months because there is often no flow of fresh air from the outside, meaning allergens stay trapped inside. Older homes may contain asbestos and lead particles, which can be damaging to the lungs when released into the air.
These air pollutants and allergens can not only cause respiratory problems but can cause flare-ups in people who already have breathing issues. Children, people with asthma and the elderly may be especially sensitive to indoor pollutants, but other effects on health may appear years later, after repeated exposure.
WAYS TO IMPROVE INDOOR AIR QUALITY
There are several easy ways to improve indoor air quality, whether it’s your home or office. Doing these can greatly improve your comfort and general health all year round:
- Change indoor air filters – air conditioning systems not only cool your home, but they also clean the air of common pollutants. Over time, these air filters fill up and must be cleaned. If not, they can’t trap pollutants and it can wear down your AC system, sometimes resulting in costly repairs. Also, clean or replace other air filters – including those in vacuum cleaners, clothes dryers and kitchen vents used for cooking. You may also want to consider hiring a professional to clean your air ducts every few years, as ducts can spread the dust that collects in them.
- Keep it clean and vacuum - Vacuuming carpets and rugs at least once or twice a week with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. Also vacuum other areas where dust accumulates including walls, carpet edges and upholstered furniture. Make sure to place rugs at all the entrances of your home, as they are designed to capture dirt, dust and other pollutants that might be brought in from the outside – and clean them often! Also, regularly clean bedding sheets, drapes, ceiling fans and other items that can attract dust and allergens, especially if you have pets. Dirt and dust often collect on the top of ceiling fan blades and your fan can actually be spreading these pollutants across a room if they are not cleaned regularly.
- Use air purifiers and dehumidifiers – If you have a hard time regularly cleaning your home, using an air purifier and dehumidifier can help. These devices, in particular ionic purifiers, can help capture some of the irritants that can cause respiratory problems. Using a dehumidifier in damp areas, such as a basement or a bathroom with leaky pipes and moisture can help prevent the growth of mold.
- Let the fresh air inside – Even during the extreme hot and cold of any season, it’s important to open windows every so often to allow fresh air to circulate in the house. Advanced designs for new homes are starting to add a mechanical feature that brings outdoor air into the home through the HVAC system.
Here are some other things you can do to improve indoor air quality:
- Clear any clutter or trash as they can collect dust and pollutants.
- Regularly clean walls and fixtures in bathrooms and showers.
- Don’t overwater house plants, as overly damp soil can grow micropollutants.
- Make your home a no-smoking zone.
- Test for dangerous gases like carbon monoxide or radon.
USING BOOST OXYGEN TO SUPPLEMENT INDOOR AIR QUALITY
Maintaining good indoor air quality is important as your body needs oxygen to create energy for your cells, brain, tissues and organs. The air we normally breathe contains only around 21% oxygen – the majority is useless 78% nitrogen. At higher altitudes, the oxygen content can be less. Boost Oxygen is 95% pure supplemental oxygen and can be used indoors as an all-natural and healthy respiratory support during cleaning or normal everyday activities. If you live in an older home or don’t have the ability to clean as regularly as you’d like, using Boost Oxygen only makes sense.
We encourage readers to visit these other online resources to learn more about the importance of indoor air quality: