Clean in­door air can help re­duce asthma at­tacks

The Prince George Citizen - The Citizen - Real Estate Weekly - - Real Estate Weekly -

Did you know that, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, more than 25 mil­lion Amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing roughly seven mil­lion chil­dren, have asthma?

It’s true, and those num­bers have steadily risen in re­cent years. Asthma is more than oc­ca­sional wheez­ing or feel­ing out of breath dur­ing phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. Asthma is chronic and can lead to cough­ing, wheez­ing, short­ness of breath, fast breath­ing, and chest tight­ness, states the Asthma and Al­lergy Foun­da­tion of Amer­ica. In the 21st cen­tury, peo­ple spend sig­nif­i­cant time in­doors at home, school or work, and in­door air en­vi­ron­ments could be trig­gers for asthma. Im­prov­ing in­door air qual­ity can help peo­ple breathe clearly. The AAFA notes that the fol­low­ing agents can ad­versely af­fect in­door air qual­ity, po­ten­tially trig­ger­ing asthma at­tacks.

Al­ler­gens

Al­ler­gens such as mold, dust mites, pet dan­der and fur, and waste from in­sects or ro­dents thrive in many homes. En­sur­ing in­door air qual­ity is high can cut back on the amount of al­ler­gens in the air. Peo­ple with asthma can in­vest in an air pu­ri­fier and vac­uum reg­u­larly, be­ing sure to use a HEPA-equipped ap­pli­ance. Rou­tinely re­plac­ing HVAC sys­tem fil­ters can help pre­vent al­ler­gens from blow­ing around the house. Also, fre­quent main­te­nance of HVAC sys­tems will en­sure they are op­er­at­ing safely and not con­tribut­ing to poor in­door air qual­ity.

Mold can be mit­i­gated by re­duc­ing mois­ture in a home. Moist en­vi­ron­ments in the kitchen and bath­room may pro­mote mold growth. Ven­ti­la­tion is key to keep mold at bay.

To­bacco smoke

Third­hand smoke, or THS, may be un­fa­mil­iar to many peo­ple. A 2011 re­port pub­lished in Environmental Health Per­spec­tives says THS is an in­vis­i­ble com­bi­na­tion of gases and par­ti­cles that can cling to cloth­ing, cush­ions, car­pet­ing, and other ma­te­ri­als long af­ter sec­ond­hand smoke has cleared from a room. Stud­ies have in­di­cated that resid­ual nico­tine levels can be found in house dust where peo­ple smoke or once smoked. Stud­ies have in­di­cated that smoke com­pounds can ad­sorb onto sur­faces and then des­orb back into air over time. Keeping to­bacco smoke out of a home can im­prove in­door air qual­ity and per­sonal health.

VOCs

Volatile or­ganic com­pounds, or VOCs, are gases re­leased from com­monly used prod­ucts. These can in­clude paints and var­nishes, clean­ing sup­plies, air fresh­en­ers, new fur­ni­ture, and new car­pet. Peo­ple with asthma may find that VOCs can trig­ger at­tacks. Air­ing out items, re­duc­ing us­age of prod­ucts that are heav­ily scented and choos­ing low- or no-VOC prod­ucts can help. Mak­ing clean­ing prod­ucts from bak­ing soda, vine­gar and liq­uid oil soap also can keep in­door air qual­ity high.

Home­own­ers who plan to ren­o­vate their homes can con­sider us­ing the ap­pro­pri­ate spec­i­fi­ca­tions for HVAC sys­tems to pro­mote good in­door air, as well as ad­dress any other po­ten­tial prob­lems that may be com­pro­mis­ing in­door air qual­ity.

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