Outdoor allergies are often debilitating for a lot of people in the spring and summer. The environments we subject ourselves to on a daily basis does have a great impact on our health. Believe it or not, poor air quality exposure may be having a negative affect on your health. North Americans spend an average of 90 percent of their time inside, and very few people realize that exposure to indoor contaminants can be 2 to 100 times higher than the contaminants outside. You might be thinking that your house is clean and not polluted, but in all likelihood it is. Indoor air pollution affects almost every person in some way.
Symptoms often include:
- Sneezing often accompanied by a runny or clogged nose
- Coughing and postnasal drip
- Itchy eyes, nose, and throat
- Allergic shiners (dark circles under the eyes caused by increased blood flow near the sinuses)
- Watering eyes
- Difficulty breathing
There are several factors that can contribute to poor air quality in your home. Natural allergens such as: dust, dander, food waste, cooking odors and vapors, pollen, mold, hair, skin, sewer gases and mildew, all increase the risk of pollution. Chemicals hiding in your home are also a factor. These include: solvents, insecticides, herbicides, disinfectants, construction materials and chemicals in carpets.
While you can’t control the pollution once you step outside, there are many things you can do to control the quality of the air you breathe inside your home. One of the best ways to achieve this is through an air purification system. Like any product, there are many different brands and types available. Some are better than others, but the most important thing to remember is not to purchase any air cleaning system that produces ozone! In the upper atmosphere, ozone protects you from the sun’s harmful UV rays but ground-level ozone is an irritant that can aggravate asthma and hinder lung function. Public health authorities have recently begun to forbid the use of machines that produce ozone.
The following are some tools and tips to help you breathe a little easier in your home:
•Install a ceiling fan to optimize air-flow in highly humid areas.
•Measure the humidity in your home by using a hygrometer – you can get an inexpensive one at a hardware store. The relative humidity in your home should be below 50 percent in the summer and below 30 percent in the winter.
•Invest in a dehumidifier if your home doesn’t achieve the recommended humidity levels on its own.
•Use a high-efficiency filter in your central heating/cooling system with at least a 60 percent efficiency grade. This will help remove harmful airborne particles.
•Minimize the humidity in your home by letting more outdoor air in and ensuring sufficient ventilation. By doing this, you’ll prevent moisture from building up on walls and windows, reducing the possible growth of bacteria.
•Use exhaust fans with adequate outdoors ventilation when cooking.
•Repair leaky roofs, walls and foundations. •Clean frequently and thoroughly to prevent dust and mould build up;
•Regularly clean and disinfect filters of furnaces, humidifiers, de-humidifiers and air conditioners.
•Keep aerosol product use to a minimum •Restrict smoking to outdoor areas or, better yet, just quit!
•When purchasing building materials and furniture, choose products that do not emit formaldehyde – ask a sales person/manufacturer when in doubt.
•Carefully follow safety instructions on consumer products such as cleaning agents, paints and glues.
•Consider using chemical-free cleaning products. There are several on the market now (good for you and the environment!).
•Consider using micro-fiber cleaning cloths with embedded silver. This technology allows you to clean your house with no cleaning agents.
•Limit the use of candles and incense indoors as they can elevate indoor particle levels.
•Use plenty of ventilation.
The information above is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a “healthy” home. From cleaning products and methods to water quality and electronics, there are literally hundreds of things in your home that can affect your health. Always place full attention on creating a healthy home environment by aiming to make your home as chemically-free as possible!
Of course a healthy body (Be Fit – Eat Right - Think Well) and a healthy spine and nervous system which controls every cells, tissues and organs in your body, will help you achieve optimal health and have more energy and vitality…inside and out!