There are plenty of good reasons to live cleaner and greener at home and improve your indoor air quality. We want to make our air cleaner to take care of the planet, but of course, cleaner air is better for our health, too, especially for kids. Children are prone to pulmonary illnesses from allergens and pollutants, so parents need to know the top factors that cause poor air quality in the home and how they can clean it up.
Air Effects on Health
We tend to think of cars, power plants, and other common outdoor pollutants when we think about air quality, but in many homes, indoor air can be much worse than the air you breathe outdoors. This is because indoor air doesn’t get the movement or natural cleaning from carbon dioxide that you have outside.
Being aware of indoor air quality is a big deal, especially if you have kids because polluted air can cause a variety of pulmonary illnesses, including asthma, emphysema, allergies, and cardiovascular disease. Children are at a greater risk than adults because their smaller bodies are still developing, and they have lower lung capacity. According to Parenting, studies have shown that reducing air pollution improved children’s lung health.
Regardless of how well you protect your family, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs for common pulmonary illness in children. Look out for symptoms such as frequent or intermittent coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
What Impacts Indoor Air Quality?
Pollution from outside sources isn’t the only cause of poor air quality. Even something as benign as the family pet can be a trigger for breathing problems in children. These are just a few of the often-hidden sources of indoor allergens:
You can reduce the allergens from many of these sources by making some simple changes. For example, keeping pets well-groomed reduces dander, and swapping out curtains for wooden blinds lowers the amount of dust in your home. Good Housekeeping recommends ventilation to control humidity. You can do this by opening windows when the weather is nice, and running fans in the kitchen and bathrooms.
How Else Can You Keep Indoor Air Quality High?
Replacing your air filter helps clean pollutants out of the air in your home, including pollen, dust mites, mold, and bacteria. Air filters should be changed every 90 days—and more often if you have pets in your home or if someone suffers from asthma. It’s important to choose a quality air filter that is the right size to trap the most particles. Using a HEPA filter in your vacuum and an air purifier makes a big difference in improving air quality, too.
Another great way to improve air quality is to get help from Mother Nature. Indoor plants purify the air naturally, and some can even filter out volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from paint and chemical cleaners. Diffusing essential oils is another way to use the power of nature to clean the air.
Seek Fresh Air
While the air quality in your home is very important, making sure your family gets plenty of fresh air is essential, too. The best way to do this is by engaging in some fun outdoor activities, such as backyard camping, bird watching, or going on a bike ride. According to The Huffington Post, fresh air boosts your immune system and energizes you. As an added benefit, being active outdoors is good for your health, strengthening lungs so parents and kids all stay healthier.
We all know we need air to live, but it can be disconcerting to realize how much more than oxygen you’re getting each time you breathe in. Even when we make the best choices for living green, pollutants, mold, and pet dander still impact our air quality. Don’t despair, though! Following these tips for improving your indoor air quality will make a huge difference so you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Author Bio: Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years of experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.