People love to escape the outdoors in the winter, but the indoors can pose threats to your health, too. We talk about environmental pollution a lot, but we never really talk about the quality of the air inside our own homes. In many cases, the air indoors is of far worse quality.
So what’s polluting the air in your home? Like the outdoors, fumes from combustion devices and gas appliances can often linger in the air. In the winter, space heaters, ranges, ovens, stoves, furnaces, fireplaces and water heaters are all used more often, and this makes matters worse. Not to mention, allergens from pets, dust and mold add to the mix.
Chronically poor air quality can lead to coughing, chest tightness, sore throat, watery or itchy eyes, shortness of breath, and even an asthma attack. Here are steps you can take to improve your home’s air quality.
Increase ventilation and circulation
No, this doesn’t mean keep all of the windows open when it’s 20 degrees outside. There are little things you can do to keep fresh air circulating. If you’re cooking on a gas stove, keep the kitchen window open just a little or turn on the fan hood to avoid nitrogen dioxide buildup. You may also want to consider installing an air purifier or HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter to clean the air.
Choose cleaning products wisely
Cleaning your home can actually be harmful if you’re using products with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Choose products that say “low VOC” or “no VOC” to cut back on these chemicals. Cleaning products with fragrances can also be dangerous, so look for fragrance-free products to stay on the safe side. Consider liquids, soaps or pastes to replace sprays to release fewer particles into the air.
Give your pets some alone time
If you have allergies but can’t live without your pet, try keeping your bedroom off limits. You spend most of your time in your bedroom, so you’ll breathe in far fewer allergens if your pet sleeps in another room.
Live better with asthma
If you do suffer from asthma, check out our Asthma Management Resources and learn how you can take steps to protect your health.