How to Improve the Air Quality in Your Home and Keep Your Kids Healthy
We all know how important a healthy environment is for children. However, one factor that often goes unnoticed in a home is air quality. Since air quality is hard to sense, it can be difficult to recognize problems. And even when you know there’s a problem, it’s hard to know how to fix it. Here’s some information to help you understand the impact of air quality in your home, as well as how to reduce pollutants and learn to spot the signs of pulmonary diseases in children.
Factors That Impact Air Quality
It’s no secret that the outside world contains all kinds of pollutants. Although it may feel like you’re keeping your family safe from those pollutants, the air quality in your home could actually be up to 10 times worse than outdoor pollution. The primary reason is that potential pollutants can build up easier in contained areas than in open spaces. Since you often can’t see or smell pollutants, the air quality in your home can get poor before anyone realizes it.
Chemicals are one the most common causes of poor air quality. Every home has some level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are released from a variety of household materials, such as wood preservatives, solvents and paints, cleaning products, and aerosol fragrances. You can cut down on harmful effects from VOCs by storing such products outside of the house and making sure you’re in a well-ventilated area when you do use them. Also, many cleaning products and new furniture items contain zero to low VOCs, so being pickier when you choose these products can help protect your family. Controlling the moisture and temperature in your home — particularly in climates with high humidity and fluctuating temperatures — is another way to improve the air quality in your home.
Along with VOCs, humidity, and extreme temperatures, allergens are also a common cause of poor air quality. One of the first things you should do to reduce allergens in your home is to purchase an air purifier, which also goes a long way in helping kids who suffer from asthma. There are several high-quality purifiers to choose from, so do your research, read reviews, and pick one that you think will meet your needs. A few of the best selling air purifiers on the market today are the IQAir HealthPro Plus, Alen BreatheSmart-Pure, and Rabbit Air MinusA2. The right air purifier for you will depend on whether you’re targeting particular allergens, your budget, how much space you have, and whether you’re concerned with the purifier’s sound.
In addition to purifying the air, you can take several additional steps to reduce allergens from in your home. For instance, utilizing the air conditioner spreads fewer allergens into the air than ceiling fans, wall fans, or the breeze from an open window. Also, cleaning rugs, carpet, bedding, and drapes regularly will help remove irritants. A natural way to purify the air is to add indoor plants, which are natural air filters, to the inside of your home.
Watching Out for Pulmonary Diseases
Pulmonary diseases affect the airways and other structures of the lungs. Long-term exposure to air pollutants and allergens for a child impacted by a pulmonary disease can result in infection, difficulty breathing, and a decrease in lung function. Since children have lungs that are still growing, indoor air pollutants and allergens have a larger impact on their respiratory functions. Some pulmonary diseases children face are asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cold, cough, and pneumonia. Some of these cannot be prevented, but they can be mitigated and sometimes avoided by keeping children away from pollutants and irritants.
We may want to protect our children from harm and wish we could place them in a bubble to prevent illness and injury. However, the reality is that there’s a certain amount of exposure they will have to things that can harm them. While our children are susceptible to indoor and outdoor pollutants, irritants, and allergens, those risks can be mitigated with air purification, regular cleaning of the home, and minimizing the spread of pollutants.
courtesy of our very own guest columnist Alice Robertson
Photo Credit: Unsplash