Did you know that your indoor air quality could be much worse than the air quality outside your house? Indoor air is often more polluted than the ambient air due to various reasons and breathing in this polluted indoor air can cause severe health hazards. Especially if you have children, elderly or someone with a pre existing respiratory disease living in your home and is breathing the polluted air. This is because these group of individuals are more sensitive to the harmful hazards of poor indoor air quality.
We often consider the need to reduce the pollution and improve the air quality outdoor but it is equally important to improve the indoor air quality. And there are a variety of approaches that can be used to accomplish this goal-
- Cut out cigarette smoke- Cigarette smoke not only affects the person smoking the cigarette but also everyone around them. You might already be aware of the hazards of smoking but passive smoking also has its numerous side effects. If you cannot quit smoking altogether, the least you could do is to do it outside. Smoking inside the house should be strictly discouraged as it pollutes the air inside the house and reduces the air quality.
- Monitor humidity- Humidity seems harmless when you think of it at first but it leads to the formation of molds inside the house (Molds are fungus that grow in humid areas.) Although house molds are quite common but exposure to molds in high concentration can lead to various health issues like neurological problems. Air quality monitors help in monitoring the humidity which helps you in reducing it’s level. Ideally, a humidity of 30 to 50% will help to prevent the build-up of molds, which grows readily in areas in which that is exceeded. Fixing leaks in the pipes, taps etc, or any other water leak in the house further helps in reducing the level of humidity in the indoor air.
- Cut out aerosols- Aerosols is another dangerous everyday item that, though it may seem impractical, is important to avoid or cut out entirely. They are present in hair sprays, perfume, room freshners, etc. Aerosols are major indoor air pollutants that cause skin reactions, aggravate allergies and trigger heart problems which can be fatal. If you cannot cut out aerosols completely, at least limit their use and ventilate properly before and after using products that contain the chemical.
- Non-scented paints- Paints contain a harmful chemical, VOCs (or volatile organic compounds) that can cause considerable damage to one’s health when inhaled even at low concentrations. This chemical is also present in other common household products like hobby supplies, deodorants etc. These reduce the indoor air quality and their use should be limited. Products containing VOCs should be replaced by products containing no or a very limited amount of VOCs. Use of unscented paints, candles, and air fresheners can further help in reducing their content in the indoor air.
- Installing air monitors- It is very important for you to know your indoor air quality. There might be many harmful pollutants present inside your home that you might not be aware of. Monitoring your air helps you in recognizing the level of pollution inside your home and helps you in taking the measures to improve your indoor air quality. Monitoring your air will help you be aware of the level of pollution in your indoor air. Air quality monitors can even accurately track small pollutants like particulate matter, which is one of the most harmful air pollutant. There are numerous brands that build smart air quality monitors like Kaiterra, uHoo, etc and installing one in your home today will be a good health choice for you and your family.
- Keeping your house clean- Dust mites are a leading cause of poor indoor air quality. They can irritate your nose and throat leaving you feeling tired and lethargic. Keeping your sheets, clothes and furniture clean (as dust mites easily linger in these) will help you get rid of this air pollutant. Keeping your AC spotless can also help in improving the indoor air quality as all air conditioners contain a type of filter which removes the impurities and pollens.
Professional carpet and curtain cleaning in also advised as air pollutants often live and rest in the fibres of carpets and curtains. Similarly, if you are a pet owner, cleaning your pet’s fur and it’s paws when he/she enters the house is advised as it further reduces the entry of air pollutants like dust, inside your house.
- Natural air purifiers- Installing air purifiers along with air monitors in your house is definitely a great idea but you could also invest in some low budget natural air purifiers to improve your indoor air quality even more. Houseplants help in producing fresher air. Keeping houseplants in your home not only increases the indoor air quality but also adds to your home decor.
Another natural air purifier that can be very beneficial for your health is a beeswax candle. If I had to explain it in the simplest way- pollutants like pollen, dust, dirt, pollutants, and any other junk in the air carry a positive charge, so when a beeswax candle is burning the negative ions released into the air cause these positively charged particles to be sucked into the candles or to fall from suspension.
You could also replace your regular lamps with salt lamps as they are known to help with asthma (People with asthma have reported that salt lamps helped in reducing their symptoms). They work on the similar phenomenon as beeswax candles. They emit negative ions when lit and help fight against the positively charged particles and contaminants that cause allergies.
The air inside your house is full of contaminants. Just because you cannot see them does not mean they do not exist. Certain chemicals in the house should be eliminated and use of products that emit pollutants in your indoor air should be restricted. Air monitors should also be installed to keep a check on the level of pollution in the air. And preventive measures must be taken to reduce them and improve the indoor air quality.