Did you know that air pollution levels inside the modern home may be two to five times higher than the levels outdoors. Combine that with the fact that the average person can spend up to ninety percent of their time indoors, is it any wonder that the term Sick Building Syndrome has become a new byword in the English language.
Unlike outdoor air, indoor air is recycled again and again with pollutants such as tobacco smoke, pollen, mold, dust and pet dander all contributing towards asthmatic and allergic reactions.
Other symptoms of sick building syndrome include dizziness, headaches, tickly throats, sinus congestion, itchy or watery eyes, nausea, lethargy and an inability to concentrate. Certain immediate effects are similar to those from colds or other viral diseases, so it is often difficult to determine if the symptoms are a result of exposure to indoor air pollution.
If you find that the symptoms fade when you are away from home, an effort should be made to identify indoor air sources that may be possible causes and try to eliminate them. Fortunately, indoor air pollution is one health risk that you can do something about.
Here are 7 tips for improving indoor air quality in your home
1. Don't Smoke Indoors
Although this may sound obvious, you should effectively ban smoking inside your home or at least confine it to one area. In our case, any friends or family that visit are restricted to the kitchen area or the back garden if they want to smoke. In the kitchen, an extractor fan pushes the air outside as it does with cooking odors.
2. Ventilate Regularly
Weather permitting, you should open windows and doors in order to lower the concentrations of indoor pollutants while letting outside air come in. If you have bathroom or kitchen extractor fans, make use of them on a regular basis. You should also regularly clean the vents in your kitchen and bathroom extraction fans and make sure they operate properly.
3. Use Natural Home Cleaning Products
If you have ever taken the time to read the labels on household cleaning products, the majority of them will come with warnings about how harmful the chemicals are that have gone into making them. Consequently, as soon as you use that product, a lot of those chemicals go into the air. I have quite often started coughing after spraying counter tops with so called anti-bacterial cleaner. Not anymore though, as my natural cleaning products of choice are baking soda, washing soda, vinegar and 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. Keep you Home Clean and Dust Free
Another obvious tip but nevertheless, hoovering your carpets and floors on a regular basis will help to keep dust and airborne allergens at bay. It is said (although I have no proof) that some 60% to 80% of all household dust is composed of dead skin, which we humans shed all the time. Dust mites in turn feed on this dead skin that falls from our bodies. They then grow and shed their own skin and it is the skin and feces from the dust mite that causes allergic reactions in people.
5. Pet Dander
If you have a family pet, they will shed dander that can trigger allergies and asthma. If you suspect that you or a family member may be allergic to your family pet, action needs to be taken. The ideal scenario is to keep pets out of the house altogether. If that is not a viable option, you should restrict the number of rooms that the pets are allowed to enter and definitely keep them out of the bedroom.
6. Reduce Air Humidity
Living in a damp climate or an area of high humidity can both result in moisture levels in the home rising dramatically. A consequence of excessive moisture is the growth of mold and for anybody with extreme allergies, mold spores are just as bad, if not worse, than dust. For that reason, a dehumidifier can be essential. Dehumidifier units extract moisture from the air and place it into a tank which you can then remove and pour away.
7. Get an Indoor Air Purifier
Air purifiers are machines that clean the indoor air of allergens, such as mold, pollen and pet dander. As well as being used to reduce the concentration of these airborne contaminants, they are especially useful for people who suffer from allergies and asthma. Air purifiers and indoor air cleaners are rapidly increasing in popularity because they make indoor air healthier and cleaner. However, there are various types of Air Purifier, some of which can actually make allergies worse instead of better.