Air pollution is bad for us, we all know that, but many people aren’t aware of the affect it can have on your cardiovascular health. A major study recently revealed that both short and long-term exposure to air pollution increases the risk of heart disease. Poor indoor air quality has not only been linked to poor cardiovascular health, but also asthma, COPD and even lung cancer according to the British Lung Foundation.
The average person in the UK spends a staggering 92% of their time indoors, so the quality of the air you breathe at home is crucial. Plus, allergens and toxins tend to concentrate in enclosed spaces, which makes it all the more important to ensure the air in your home is as pure as possible.
No Smoking Indoors
In addition to the toxic first or second-hand smoke you inhale, smoking creates insidious third-hand smoke – toxic particles that cling to surfaces and affect your health long after the cigarette or cigar has been stubbed out.
Invest in an Air Purifier
Research from the US has shown that you can significantly improve the air quality in your home and reduce the risk of heart and respiratory illnesses by using an air purifier. Look for a product that boasts a HEPA filter and ideally, a carbon pre-filter for extra-thorough filtering.
Get Pollution-Fighting Plants
Houseplants are excellent pollution-busters, absorbing harmful particles such as benzene and formaldehyde, and literally filtering the air in your home. Think of them as all-natural air purifiers. If you’d like to know which plants are most effective, you’re in luck. NASA has compiled the definitive list, including; weeping fig, aloe vera, spider plant and common ivy.
Improve Your Home’s Ventilation
Inadequate ventilation can drastically worsen the air quality in your home by trapping concentrated allergens and pollutants indoors and increasing or decreasing humidity to unhealthy levels. Keep a good airflow going by opening windows often. You may also want to think about installing window frames with trickle vents, which help ventilate a room without lowering the temperature too much.
Consider snapping up a humidity monitor. The ideal relative humidity in a UK home should be around 50%. Overly moist air encourages mould growth and dust mites, while extra-arid air can irritate the lungs and exacerbate asthma, so you may want to consider buying a dehumidifier too if the air at home is too muggy, or yes, you’ve guessed it, a humidifier if the air is too dry.
Remove Your Shoes at the Door
If you knew what your shoes could potentially drag in from the outside world, you’d remove them every time you entered the house. Your footwear can pick up everything from bacteria-packed fecal matter to toxic lead dust and harmful pesticides.
Vacuum at Least Once a Week
Carpeting can harbour all sorts of unpleasant things that can adversely affect the air quality in your home. Dust mites thrive in carpets and rugs, and the dirtier your carpets and rugs get, the more likely they are to contain particle pollutants, mould spores, pet dander, and so on.
To minimise the dust and dirt, vacuum the whole house at least once a week. And don’t forget to give upholstered furniture the once over with the vacuum cleaner, too. High traffic areas and areas where your pet sleeps may require more frequent hoovering.
Groom Your Pets Often
Even short-haired pets shed plenty of hair and dead skin cells, affecting the air quality in your home and increasing the allergen levels in the environment. Regular grooming will reduce the amount of hair that gets trapped in your carpets and help keep the air indoors cleaner.
You can use a special pet brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to cut down on the elbow grease, if of course, the noise of the vacuum cleaner doesn’t terrify your pet. Otherwise, snap up a decent de-shedding tool or curbed slicker brush.
Use Low-VOC Products
Many common household products and paints leach volatile organic compounds (VOCs) over time that may have a detrimental effect on your health, particularly if you’re hypersensitive.
These tiny particles are gradually released into the air, worsening the air quality in your home. If you can, only use low VOC products or restrict your use of products that contain these chemical nasties to a bare minimum.
This article originally appeared on Saga, 11/09/2017