So, Let’s talk about Clean Air
We tend to think of air pollution as something outside – you know, the fault of auto emissions, giant industrial factories, and the fires that sweep across the west. But, the truth is our own homes and work places can be just as bad, or worse in some cases.
Fresh Air, Baby!
One of the main culprits of modern day indoor pollution is the lack of ventilation. Good, clean, fresh air blowing through our homes and work places, rustling our papers, and bringing in the crackling fall leaves.
Sound familiar? Nope.
We shut the door to fresh air and we shouldn’t! It's (almost) that simple. Truth is weather conditions make it tough, and the humidity in some climates can cause worse problems than low ventilation – mold.
So what can we do about it?
- When weather permits, leave the doors and windows open. A little too cool? Put on a sweater. Too warm? A fan. Come on, our ancestors survived without the A/C, we can go a couple degrees in each directions!
- In winter do a “fresh-air-exchange” every few hours. Brace yourselves and open the doors wide, just for a few minutes, and allow the cool air to wash out all those winter pollutants. Your lungs (and skin) will thank you.
- Crack a window when doing certain tasks - taking a bath, cooking, painting your nails… anything that causes humidity, or any form of toxicity.
- Ask your patients if they want an open window. You’d be surprised how many welcome the idea of fresh air in a stuffy hospital room. It’s a hopeful reminder of being outdoors and going home.
Eliminate the Source of Indoor Air Pollution
Diluting bad air is a good start, but getting it rid of it is even better…
We’re aware of most of these, but do we really pay attention to them? Each decision adds up and affects our health. To start. pick two, just two items off this list, and decide to get them out of your home.
- Non-vented or Malfunctioning stoves, furnaces, or space heaters
- Solvents in hobby activities
- Cleaning products and pesticides
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
Tackle the smaller things first
- Check your labels: Next time you shop, switch out the old laundry detergents and household cleaners for fragrance-free, enviro-friendly solutions. The Honest brand has some great products to get you started. Tip: Do this for personal products too!
- Clean your Floors: As often as you can (at least twice a week). Use vacuum with a HEPA filter to reduce toxins, like lead, brominated fire-retardant chemicals (PBDEs) as well as allergens like pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. Mopping picks up the dust that vacuuming leaves behind. You can skip the soaps and cleaners and just use plain water to capture any lingering dust or allergens.
- Keep the humidity level down in those steamy summer months: don’t over-water plants, use a dehumidifier, fix leaky plumbing and empty your air conditioner drip pans
- Bring nature indoors (my personal favorite): Plants, plants plants. They’re therapeutic, they’re decorative, and they provide clean, lung-loving oxygen. What’s not to love.
- For the health of all things clean and holy, don’t smoke! But if you do and you’re not ready to quit – take it outside. Politely ask your loved ones to smoke outside too. Indoors should always be 100% smoke –free. Even in 15-degree weather.
Call in the professionals
Sometimes it’s worth calling in the professionals. If left unattended, and there happens to be an unknown problem in your house, these things are super dangerous. Best get them checked.
- Inspect your house for mold.
- If you live in a home built before 1978, get it checked for lead paint.
- Have your stove, furnaces and space heaters checked.
- Test for radon. Whether you have a new or old home, you could have a radon problem. This colorless, odorless gas significantly raises the risk of lung cancer.
Your Something Matters
So, you might not want to storm down to the local businesses in your area that carelessly pollute the air (but if you want to, by all means, don’t let me stop you!) But you can do Something. And your Something makes a difference. To you. To your loved ones (pets included) and to your patients. Your zest for Quality of Life can influence the behavior of those whose lives you touch. They could make changes, and the effect passes on…
You can do it. Of course you can. Make the change. And tell me about it. I LOVE to hear these stories.
*Content relies on facts provided by EPA