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Very recently, my very energetic 75 year old mom gave us a medical scare. What had seemed to a run-of-the mill flu suddenly escalated into a high uncontrolled fever, shivering and the works. After checking for everything from malaria to TB, the final diagnosis was Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, a disease of the lungs in which your lungs become inflamed as an allergic reaction to inhaled dust, fungus, molds or chemicals.
The severity of the infection took four excruciating days in the ICU. The doctor specifically said the indoor air pollution can sometimes be 10X worse than it is outside, and causes seniors and kids to experience serious issues, as they tend to be home longer and have weaker immune systems.
As I stared at the chart , I realized I didn't really do much about Indoor Air Quality besides the regular dusting, vacuuming and change of linen.
Keen to keep her healthy and safe, I did a truckload of research on what I could do. I am writing this article to share these with you, because not only did my mother’s health improve, I saw a significant drop in the sniffles that my kids used to get on and off as well as a regular sore throat kind of minor infection my husband used to get regularly..all of which I had assumed were just routine stuff.
No, I am not asking you to open a window and let all the outdoor air pollution enter your living space. But
Open the windows in half an hour before your dusting time to let in some fresh air
Use exhaust fans which help carry pollutants outside. Especially make it a point to ventilate your kitchen since cooking can be a major source of indoor air pollution!
Also, after you take a shower, be sure to vent out all the steam and extra moisture in the air which can cause mold and mildew growth by turning the fan on
2. Clean up the dust.
Rather obvious, but say no to dry dusting! Use a damp cloth to clean up and to avoid breathing in all the dust particles which are lifted into the air while you clean.
Vacuum frequently and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Take your shoes off when you enter the house to avoid tracking in outdoor dust and chemicals.
Clean your air conditioner regularly to help keep asthma triggers away
We also decided to buy an air purifier. Culling though the overwhelming task, post our research we specifically looked for a good prefilter and the Clean Air Delivery Rate as the most important parameters. We ended up picking an Eureka Forbes air purifier. The quiet operation was an added deciding factor.
3. Add indoor air purifier plants
Another simple addition for a healthier “breathing area” was to add in some house plants known for their air purifying properties. Honestly, I could feel the difference in 2 weeks!
4. Throw out those scented candles and artificial fragrances
Many candles are made from paraffin wax and when heated, this wax emits benzene and toluene, both known carcinogens. Replace any scented candles with natural beeswax candles which ionise the air and neutralize toxic compounds and other contaminants. In fact, pure beeswax candles burn with almost no smoke or scent. They are especially helpful for asthmatics and to remove common allergens like dust from the air.
Remove any artificial air fresheners, wall plug-ins, or air freshening sprays and replace them with fresh air or an essential oil diffuser. In fact, essential oils like cinnamon, clove, tea tree act as a deterrent for viruses, fungi, bacteria and even mold.
I hope these tips help your family as much as they have helped mine.
What steps have you taken to reduce indoor pollution in the home? Please share in the comments below! Let’s make sure the Healthiest air is in our room!