When we think of air pollution, the first image that comes to our mind is the gloomy and difficult to handle air out on the street. However, indoor pollution is just as dangerous as outside pollution, especially since we spend so much time indoors. This means that keeping the air quality as clean as possible in your home, car, and the office is of the essence for your health.
Here we will be discussing the notable signs of poor indoor air quality in your home, and we will be providing useful tips on how to protect yourself from air pollution and asthma and make effortless changes that will impact your life and health quite positively.
Physical health symptoms of poor air quality
To take it from there, some of the most notable signs of poor indoor air quality may be manifested to your physical health and wellbeing, so keep an eye on the following symptoms:
- Coughing, chest congestion or respiratory issues. The concentration of particles in your indoor air is one of the biggest factors of its quality. If the number of such particles increases, they can go straight to your lungs, leading to the chest and respiratory problems.
- Allergic episodes or watery eyes. If some allergy symptoms persist past the fever season, something besides the weather might be your problem. Signs such as Itching, sneezing, and irritation can mean that your body is reacting to contaminants found in your house. In order to protect yourself from air pollution and asthma, you need to reduce the impact of those triggers.
- Frequent headaches. If you notice you have a lingering headache, and can’t pin down why, this can be due to some contaminants such as pesticides, cleaning products and garbage that’s been left in the house for too long. All of these can affect your indoor air quality.
- Fatigue or dizziness. If you suffer from such symptoms, these can indicate that your air has been affected by fumes, carbon monoxide or gaseous air. If you experience either of these, you should address this issue immediately.
- Skin dryness or irritation. Poor indoor air quality can also affect your skin, especially if you have more sensitive skin. If you notice any signs of dryness, rashes, peeling, flaking or redness on your skin, your indoor air could be the issue.
How to notice bad indoor air
In addition, aside from how indoor air pollution may affect your health and wellbeing, it can also cause serious issues around the house. Having this in mind, keep an eye out for environmental changes such as:
- Mold is one of the biggest side-effects of poor indoor air quality. Besides being awful to look at, mold can also affect your health, so don’t ignore it. The mold would not go away on its own, but it will spread. If you notice mold forming in your home, this can indicate that there is a high level of moisture in your house.
- Unusual smells. If you notice that the air in your home starts to smell strange, this may indicate some indoor air pollution. Musty smells can mean mold, and sickly, bitter smells can point to poor ventilation. To make it simple, if your air smells bad, you don’t want to be breathing it in.
- Hot or cold spots in your house. The creation of such spots usually means that your home has bad air circulation. This can sometimes be a symptom of a bigger issue with your AC system, so take care of it as soon as possible.
- Excess dust. If you notice more dust on your shelves between cleanings, this can mean that there is an increase in particles and contaminates in your home – and you don’t want them in your lungs.
- Humidity in your house is another sign of indoor air pollution. High humidity means high moisture, and this usually results in mold. On the other hand, low humidity can cause dry skin and dry eyes. If you notice house humidity, this can also mean that your air conditioner is not working properly.
Most of these indoor air pollution signs are caused by pollutants we bring ourselves in. So, to keep the optimal air quality in your house and protect yourself from air pollution and asthma.
You can also read about air quality monitors which help you analyze the air quality of the indoor: Top 5 Best Home Air Quality Monitor Devices
10 easy tips to improve the indoor air quality
Open the windows
Good airflow is essential for optimal indoor air quality. Enabling airflow through your house removes stagnant air and refreshes the interior air. One option is to just open the doors and windows of your home. But if you live in a crowded urban area, the air outside might be unpleasant and potentially toxic. If this is the case, choose wisely the time of the day you open your windows – go for early morning or late evening when traffic levels are at their lowest level.
And if you are living or working in a building where windows do not open, make sure to keep your AC spotless. Air conditioners can really help improve air quality in your home by drying and refreshing the stale air. Almost all air conditioners have a filter that cleans the air by removing impurities and pollens, so regular filter change is crucial.
Some types of houseplants can contribute to removing the toxins from the air in your home, all the while providing additional oxygen. However, have in mind that not all houseplants have this superpower. To make your selection easier, here are seven top plants for improving the air quality in your home and removing the most common pollutants:
- Bamboo Palm – Dypsis lutescens
- English Ivy – Hedera helix
- Gerbera Daisy – Gerbera jamesonii
- Janet Craig Dracaena – Dracaena deremensis ‘Janet Craig’
- Red Edged Dracaena – Dracaena marginata
- Mass cane/Corn Plant – Dracaena massangeana
- Warneckii Dracaena – Dracaena deremensis ‘Warneckii’
Today, there are plenty of studies that support the use of houseplants in keeping the indoor air quality on a great level.
Read more from our page about indoor plants that clean the air: 15 Amazing Indoor Plants That Clean the Air
Use beeswax candles
Beeswax candles have proven to have air-purifying qualities – as they burn, they release negative ions. Pollen, dust, dirt, pollutants, and similar presence of particles in the air carry a positive charge, so when a beeswax candle is burning, the negative ions released into the air push these positively charged particles to be sucked into the candles. Such negative ion air charging is the way many air purifiers functions. The best thing is that beeswax candles are 100% natural and not only reduce contaminants in your home, but they smell good and create a wonderful ambiance.
Walk inside without shoes
It is as simple as that – remove your shoes before entering the house. If that is not entirely possible, dusting off your shoes before you enter the house can help keep external air pollution out. One suggestion is to use doormats to trap soil, pollutants, and moisture when you are entering the house. And when talking about doormats, if you are using them, make sure to maintain them properly. Around 85 percent of the dirt can be prevented from entering your home if doormats are properly designed and maintained.
Use salt lamps
Salt lamps have proven to be useful in dealing with your asthma. If you are not keen on the idea of burning candles in your home, you can enjoy the same effect by having a salt lamp. Salt lamps are created by inserting a light source into a large mass of Himalayan salt and emit negative ions when lit. The negative ions will help fight against the positively charged particles and contaminants that cause allergies. If you are dealing with asthma, these salt lamps are especially useful in reducing the symptoms.
Groom your pets
In general, 10-20 percent of the population is allergic to pet dander. Despite that, a high number of households have at least one pet in their house. While there are numerous benefits of pet ownership, pets can be the source of many allergens. Bathing and grooming your pet regularly can help reduce the number of allergens that travel in from the outdoors on the backs of your pets. It can also help cut down on the pet dander that accumulates on their skin. This will make both you and your pet feel better.
Don’t smoke indoors
Smoking has many adverse effects but smoking indoors has even worse repercussions. Aside from the well-known consequences of contact with second-hand smoke, environmental tobacco smoke has been shown to impact air quality significantly. One study found that non-smokers living with indoor smokers typically have pollution exposure levels over three times higher than what the World Health Organization reports is safe. If you live with someone who smokes, require them to smoke outside of the home.
Invest in an air purifier
Using good quality air purifiers is another effective way to tackle the stale indoor air. You can place them in commonly used rooms, like in the living room, kitchen, and bedrooms, to help ventilate and clean the air in these spaces. If you have a built-in air heating system, it’s important to change the filters on a regular basis. Additionally, it is important to use a high-performance air filter which will capture even small particles and allergens, such as pet dander, smoke, and dust.
Use natural chemicals at home
A clean home is less likely to contain dust and other particles that can lower air quality and irritate allergies. But cleaning with the right products is very important too. If you have the opportunity, use completely natural cleaning products, such as lemon and vinegar that leave no toxic footprint behind. These are especially useful to use in the kitchen and the toilet. Industrial cleaners are known to leave a residue behind, and this directly affects the indoor air quality.
Clean your rooms more often
Vacuuming your floors on a regular basis is one of the most straightforward ways to keep your home clean and remove any indoor air pollutants. Vacuuming frequently keeps your floors free of dust mites, pollens, pet dander and other dirt that might be dragged in from the outside. It is recommended that you vacuum carpets and the rugged areas once or twice per week for the best result. However, those with severe allergies or asthma should leave the house while it’s being vacuumed since the process can temporarily kick more pollutants up into the air.
There is a long-held belief that carpeted flooring can hold mold, mildew and other indoor air pollutants. This belief is now supported by research facts that yes, the carpets are still responsible for poor indoor air quality. In addition, carpets can hold on to these indoor air pollutants and re-release them into the air when disturbed – walked on. If you are looking to achieve the best air quality, carpeting should be removed in favor of hard surfaces, such as wood or concrete flooring.
In addition, it is highly recommended that you should change and wash your bedding once a week to keep dust and debris from building up inside the bed. We bring in tons of outdoor allergens on our bodies, hair, and clothing and if you have pets, they likely bring in even more. So, it is important not to let something as simple as an unchanged bedding cause any issues with your health.
Frequently asked questions
Is the poor indoor air quality responsible for my cough?
A bad cough can derive from many things, such as a cold or a sore throat, and yes, indoor air pollution is one of the causes. And even if you are suffering from a cough, it can be made even worse or chronic if you don’t change something in your environment.
What can I do to improve my indoor air quality?
Taking better care of your home here is crucial. Vacuum regularly, change the bedsheets once a week, leave your shoes in front of the door and groom your pet on a regular basis – these are just some of the things you can do. In addition, getting beeswax candles, salt lamps, air purifiers, and certain houseplants is also a great strategy to improve the air quality in your home.
Is mold related to poor indoor air quality?
Yes, mold is most certainly connected to poor indoor air quality. Having mold somewhere in your house usually indicates that there is a high level of moisture in your home and if left untreated, it can cause health issues.
The best way to protect yourself from air pollution and asthma is by embracing some of the tips provided above. All of them are small changes you can make in your daily habits with very little effort. However, when put into practice, they can make a huge impact on the indoor air quality and your overall health. Instead of dealing with headaches, allergies, and sores, you can avoid these by steps as simple as opening a window or changing your AC filter. We sure hope that our tips will make a positive difference in your everyday life and health.
Read more from our page: Kaiterra Laser Air Quality Monitor