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  • Your House Could Be the Cause of Your Cough, Headache or Cold: How to Clean Your Air

    Household pollutants may cause respiratory diseases and other health problems
    by Cielo Anne Calzado .
Your House Could Be the Cause of Your Cough, Headache or Cold: How to Clean Your Air
PHOTO BY iStock
  • More and more people are wearing masks in the streets to avoid inhaling smoke and getting sick. Going from one place to another exposes us to outdoor air pollution that’s why many of us heave a sigh of relief the moment we step inside the house. But what if we tell you there are pollutants in the air at home that may also cause diseases? Household air pollution is equally dangerous and must be addressed immediately.

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “around 3.8 million people die from exposure to household air pollution per year. This household air pollution comes from a variety of sources, and includes a wide range of gases, chemicals, and other substances.” Aside from smoke from cigarettes and tobacco, cooking, lighting, and some of the products we use at home cause indoor air pollution. Coupled with inadequate ventilation and how closed off homes are, these pollutants can sometimes be fatal. Rid your home of air pollutants by knowing what these are and how you can improve air quality. Be guided by the reminders below.

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    Common causes of indoor air pollution

    Tobacco smoke

    WHO lists smoke as “one of the most dangerous types of pollution and the most familiar.” This is not limited to smoking as it also includes the pollutants coming from the combustion of kerosene for cooking and lighting which cause bronchitis, emphysema, and heart disease.

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    Excess moisture

    Who knew that it can cause indoor air pollution? Too much moisture may cause health problems and affect your house as well. According to Smarter House, “moisture is one of the most important and least recognized indoor pollutants, affecting both human health and the health of the building. Where moisture collects, so do mold, mildew, and dust mites, which can cause asthma or allergies, destroy wood products, and accelerate the rusting of metal building components.”

    Gas-fired appliances and ranges

    These produce carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and water vapor. Smarter House notes that if there is no proper ventilation, combustion pollutants will spread around the home. The World Health Organization notes that being exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide can be fatal. According to their website, exposure to carbon monoxide has health risks like reduced exercise ability, increased rates of asthma in children, and cardiac disease, to name a few. 

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    Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

    We’re sure you’ve read about VOCs, especially if you’re obsessed with air purifying plants. VOCs include formaldehyde and other evaporated substances emitted by products we regularly use at home like paints, wax, aerosol sprays, and other cleaning products.

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    How to improve the quality of your air at home

    Avoid household air pollution with these easy must-dos:

    Decorate with air purifying plants

    Good news, moms – there are easy-to-care-for plants that can rid the air of formaldehyde and VOCs. A study conducted by NASA identified 17 air-purifying plants you can add to your home like Aloe Vera, Spider Plant, Boston fern, Bamboo Palm, and Devil’s Ivy. You can place a pot or two in the different areas of your home – including your bedroom to keep the air clean.

    Make your home an anti-smoking zone

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “since 1964, approximately 2, 500, 000 nonsmokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.” Keep the family safe by declaring your home as a non-smoking zone. Aside from helping reduce air pollution, kicking the habit can help you avoid health problems, too.

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    Choose environmentally-friendly products

    Be a smart shopper. Before you put a product in your grocery basket, review the ingredient list carefully. To stay on the safe side, opt for organic and eco-friendly home products. Stores like Messy Bessy and Ritual carry cleaning essentials that are free from harmful chemicals. With these products as part of your cleaning arsenal, you won’t have to worry about spreading toxins around the home each time you scrub the floor or wash the dishes.

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    Check for mold

    Work with an expert who can thoroughly check if your home has molds and mildew. To avoid mold, make sure your ceiling, pipes, faucets, and other water connections have no leaks. Don’t forget to air out the bathroom after every use by keeping the door and windows open.

    Clean your home regularly

    We’re not just talking about regularly sweeping and mopping the floors. Dust the surfaces and if you have one, make sure you vacuum every area thoroughly, too. It’s a must to wash your pillows and mattresses as well.

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