Many of us are unaware of the devastating conditions of our air quality in the Imperial Valley, pesticide pollution, hazardous waste and compromised bodies of water make us vulnerable to respiratory problems like allergies, asthma, and bronchitis, as well as irritation of the eyes, nose and throat. The poor air quality is not only putting at risk the health of our community, it is particularly harmful to young kids, elders, and people with preexisting medical conditions. Although, we have very little control of the air that we breathe outdoors, we do have control of the air that we breathe indoors, and improving the air quality can be as simple as following these guidelines provided by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and other experts in the field.
Removing Allergens from Your Home:
The first step is the remove the source of allergens, some may be obvious, like removing pets, carpets, overstuffed or old furniture, stuffed toys, non-encased mattresses, pillows and bedding. Others might not be so obvious, like carbon monoxide, radon, formaldehyde, VOC’s, asbestos, dust mites and other gas and chemical toxins which may be more difficult and costly to remove, as they may require a thorough home inspection and some construction if needed, for a family who experiences the unfortunate side effects and medical demands this might be worth their investment. In addition, we also need to look out for water leaks, moisture and other damp areas that may host mold or funguses like bathrooms, kitchen, around the exterior of the home and the roof. The introduction of these toxins into our home can also be highly reduced and prevented if we take the time to learn about these toxins and where they can be found, that way we can budget for better products and make better choices for our home.
A New Routine:
Unfortunately, the best solution for air quality control is cleaning, deep cleaning and not forgetting to clean regularly and often. In a typical home there are a number of places where dust, toxins and even insects can gather, so it is very important that we regularly take the time to clean over and under our cupboards, our furniture, our windows, high shelves in the closet, corners, light fixtures, ceiling fans and our HVAC units need to be serviced regularly. Air conditioner vents are often overseen and are a big source of air pollution in the home. It is also recommended that we vacuum one or twice a week with a unit that uses a HEPA filter, a special type of filter that ensures your vacuum is not redirecting dust particles back into your home. When we clean our homes it is also very important that we are cleaning with products that are eco-friendly, and when we finish, it is also important that we open the window and leave for an hour or two so that those products don’t linger in the air we breathe. If we decide that our pets are worthwhile, it is very important that we bathe them regularly and that we clean after them indoors and outdoors, and you should also consider limiting your pet from entering bedrooms. Keeping your home clean and well ventilated will ensure that the air in your home is fresh and healthy for your family to breathe.
Putting Together an Allergy Free Home
The toxins are gone, the house is clean and now it is time to introduce new eco-friendly materials into your home. If you stripped the carpet away, solid wood floors are the number one recommendation for people with allergies and asthma as these don’t harbor mold, dust mites, pesticides or microorganisms that can be tracked in from outdoors. Avoid using laminates, bamboo or other mass produced floors that will contain higher levels of VOC’s and formaldehyde. In your kitchen and bathroom, also look for cabinet companies that use zero-voc plywood. When you are shopping for new paint, also look out for these harmful VOC’s that can be emitted in the air, absolutely avoid lead paint. For furnishings, choose easy to clean woods, metals, plastics and leather upholstery, and although fabric upholstery is not recommended, you may use it moderately in windows treatments, pillows and bedding as long as you are able to wash them in hot water regularly. When you introduce new furnishings or accessories into your home, it is very important that you give it time to release toxins, you can do this by letting it sit outside for a few hours or my ventilating your home properly and leaving for a few hours so these don’t get trapped in the air we breathe. There are also a number of plants that the Journal of American Society of Horticultural Science consider to purify toxins in our homes like aloe vera, spider plant, gerber daisy, snake plant, azalea among many more.