Having a Bad Air Day? Improve Your Indoor Air Quality
Indoor Air Pollution: Irritating Gasses
Do you cook with a natural gas or propane stove? ”Get the gas jets cleaned
and serviced annually by a technician who can adjust the metering so that the
gas burns cleanly,” Calhoun says. This is important for all gas-run
“In the kitchen, the stove emits nitrogen dioxide, one of the most
irritating gases, and when combined with sunlight, produces ozone,” says
Schachter. “This gas is so irritating that at higher levels can cause
wheezing in people who don't have asthma."
Simple solution? If you have a gas stove, keep the kitchen window open a
bit or turn on the fan hood to avoid nitrogen dioxide buildup, he
Particles in the Air
Cleaning regularly is a good way to keep your indoor air irritant-free,
right? Wrong! It can actually make things worse unless you choose your cleaning
Some cleaning products, including those with chlorine and ammonia, contain
volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Some paints, shellacs, and floor polishes
may also contain VOCs. The compounds then go into the air as gases.
You can cut down on VOCs by choosing products that say "low VOC" or "no VOC"
or buying fragrance-free cleaners. Harold S. Nelson, MD, professor of medicine
at National Jewish Health in Denver, advises considering liquids or pastes
instead of sprays for cleaning because they disperse fewer particles into the
VOCs aren't the only particles affecting air quality. Mold spores that start
off in a damp basement can float up into the rest of the house. "Areas of
leakage and dampness should be addressed throughout the house,” Nelson
Cleaning Indoor Air: Pet Allergies
If you have pets that you love, but you also have pet allergies, there are
some ways to improve the air you breathe. “Keep the pet outside or at the very
least outside of your bedroom,” Calhoun says. “Just reducing the allergen
burden in the bedroom will likely have some benefit because we spend eight
hours in the bedroom a night.”
Bathing your pet regularly can also reduce allergen burden, according to
Better Air Quality Indoors: Evicting Dust Mites
There are the pets we love and invite into our homes and beds, and then
there are those uninvited guests like house dust mites.
These creepy, crawly microscopic critters are the most common cause of
allergies from house dust. They can be found where you sleep (your pillows and
mattresses), where you relax (upholstered furniture), and where you walk (your
carpeting). What’s more, they float into the air when you vacuum, walk on a
carpet, or ruffle your bedding.
What can you do? Plenty!
Dust mites love humid air, so keep house humidity below 30 or 35 percent.
“House dust mites don’t tolerate dryness well, so you don’t want to run a
humidifier in the bedroom to encourage their growth if you are allergic,”