By: Integrity Home Care + Hospice
What’s something in your home that’s invisible, but always needs to be cleaned up? (And, no, we’re not talking about those LEGOS over there that you can’t see.)
Integrity Home Care says……the air in your living space!
Even though it’s invisible, it plays a huge part in the overall cleanliness of your living environment and can negatively impact your health if left unchecked (which, is a lot like LEGOS). And while creating a clean air space in your home may not be something at the forefront of your mind right now—with the ever-increasing number of people choosing to be cared for in their own homes for as long as possible, there’s plenty of reasons why we think it should—and plenty of ways you can make it happen.
Even before factoring in any of the countless outdoor pollutants that end up contaminating the air in your home, it could already be a pollutant factory! Culprits of indoor pollution can include fuel-burning stoves, newly installed flooring or upholstered furnishings, that mold lurking between your walls (yikes!), and poorly maintained central heating and cooling systems. If you have any of these potential indoor pollutants present in your home along with poor ventilation, you could be setting yourself up for some potentially severe health problems in the future. To learn more about common indoor pollutants, and strategies to mitigate each, check out the EPA’s helpful content on this topic, at: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/introduction-indoor-air-quality.
As mentioned above, proper ventilation is a significant factor in the quality of your indoor air. Contrary to popular belief, modern HVAC systems don’t pull fresh air into the house—instead, they circulate, or recycle, the air already inside the home. If your air is crystal clear, this isn’t an issue. But if it’s already polluted, it’s a bit like trying to clean a counter with a dirty rag—you’re just moving the mess around. To break the cycle of stale and/or polluted air in your home, crank those windows open occasionally, consider installing attic fans, or even operate a window A/C unit in one or two rooms.
Like we mentioned earlier—just like LEGOs, most air pollutants are invisible…until you feel them. And just like those pesky plastic blocks of pure 2am foot torture, it’s better if you address them before you feel the pain. Don’t wait until you and your family are suffering from a collection of uncomfortable flu-like symptoms most commonly reported due to poor indoor air quality. Instead, consider proactively keeping your air ‘LEGO-free’ by investing in a household air purifier. Available in many sizes, strengths and price points—from single-room units to those powerful enough to help clean the air in your entire home—air purifiers effectively clear dust, dander and other irritating air debris from your indoor air before it can reach and irritate your nasal passages or lungs.
While their main benefit—adding those beautiful pops of joyously bright green to your home décor—is decidedly aesthetic, there have been studies that claim houseplants could actually perform double-duty by looking pretty and improving your indoor air quality. While the evidence from these studies is somewhat inconclusive, there are indications that the ‘right’ plants could possibly assist other air-purification efforts by absorbing carbon dioxide, releasing oxygen, increasing humidity (if desired), and absorbing some pollutants. However, additional studies are needed to determine the best houseplants for this purpose, and a better understanding of whether any specific microbiomes (fungi and bacteria that live within the soil and on leaf surfaces) could be harmful to human health by triggering allergies or causing lung inflammation would be needed before we’d recommend going full-on rainforest in your home.
Maintaining the cleanest, freshest indoor air can feel like a balancing act—but if you or a loved one is being cared-for at home, it’s a balance worth finding. With the right combination of pollution (air LEGO!) management, fresh air circulation, and air purification, you can provide the healthiest environment for all your home’s residents, and decrease the amount of air pollutants that can cause discomfort and sickness over time. Integrity Home Care + Hospice is dedicated to the safety, health and well-being of all those who wish to remain in their homes as long as possible. If you need assistance making your home the safest and healthiest place possible, contact us today. We can help!