As a whole we are spending more time at home. We sleep more than we used to and we spend more time on leisure activities such as watching TV or roaming the internet. According to a study conducted by the Wall Street Journal, in 2015 working adults telecommuted from home 24% of their working days per year.1 We are also more focused on investing in our own homes, often tackling projects to improve its estimated value. DIY room remodels are replacing dinner and a movie as a leisure activity of choice for many. With all this time at home, our exposure to indoor air pollutants is on the rise.
Also on the rise are cases of asthma and allergies in the United States. From 2001 to 2011, the number of asthma cases in the U.S. rose by 28%.2 Allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, mold spores, and pollen are major contributors to poor indoor air quality. Our increased time exposed to these pollutants means more aggravation of allergies and asthma. Living with allergies and asthma means living with watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, skin irritation, and asthmatic attacks. Keeping your indoor air clean means reducing exposure to allergens that trigger such uncomfortable symptoms.
Keeping your indoor air quality high is a relatively simple process provided you have the right information. Using an air quality tester will give you specifics about what type of allergens are most problematic in your home. Focusing on those allergens first will immediately improve your indoor air quality.
Other irritants that can have negative health consequences will also be detected by an air quality tester. These include smoke, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), and odorless gases. Ridding your air of these pollutants may help lessen long term health impacts.
VOCs are common in many household cleaners, some beauty products, and art/craft supplies such as glue. They can also be found in synthetic materials such as carpet, upholstery, and drycleaning. An easy way to reduce the VOC levels in your home is to purchase products with a low VOC label. Removing carpet from your home where possible will not only reduce VOC emission, it will remove a safe haven for dust mites and mold spores. Women still spend slightly more time cleaning in the home than men. So, while VOC exposure in the air will affect quality of life for all members of the household, women are exposed even more due to their direct exposure to VOCs while using the cleaning products.
Gases put off by gas ranges, fireplaces, and running engines in the garage can also significantly contribute to poor indoor air quality. These gases can be very dangerous, since they build up undetected, being completely colorless and odorless. Purchasing Radon and Carbon Monoxide detectors is a quick way to keep your air safe and clean, and improve the quality of life high in your home.
Children may spend the most time at home, especially those before school age. Those children with asthma or early onset of allergies may be the ones whose quality of life is most affected by lack of clean air. Although learning of the many factors that contribute to poor air quality can feel overwhelming at first, taking the steps to check and reduce those factors can be relatively painless, and result in improved living conditions for all members of the household.
Author’s short bio:
Wendy Michaelis founder of fixAIRx is an indoor air quality testing company in Dallas, Texas. With 5 years in business diagnosing and correcting Poor Air Quality conditions. We offer a wide range of customized environmental & mold testing services and at the same time we help find the best solution that fits your family’s unique needs and budget.