Everyone has the right to CLEAN AIR...
According to the EPA, the indoor air quality of homes can be more polluted than the outdoor air. This is due to several entities, but the biggest is poor insulation, lack of ventilation, and house leakage. These three large issues can cause such problems as the spread of colds and flu among household members, dry/scratchy throat, dry skin, sneezing, coughing, headaches, and dehydration. Dry air in your home cannot only aggravate the common culprits of poor indoor air quality but make it much worse.
The most common offenders of poor indoor air quality are:
· Secondhand smoke/tobacco
· Mold, mildew, or fungi
· Allergens such as pet dander, plant pollen, and dust mites
· Carbon monoxide
· Air fresheners and household cleaning supplies
· Gas, oil, wood, and burning gases
Here are some ideas to improve your indoor air quality:
1. Get an air purifier or a UV lamp.
a. Purifiers are an excellent source to help capture and kill a large percentage or pathogens in your home. UV lamps from Carrier are designed to kill the mold and bacteria that can grow in the moist environment of your indoor coils to help keep your system efficient and clean air flowing.
2. Dust, vacuum, and mop your floors regularly during the winter.
a. Good vacuums can suck up dust, bacteria, and other contaminants that can cause winter illness. Dusting can keep the air allergens to a minimum. And, believe it or not, mopping (with just even plain water) can catch any remaining dust or allergens still lurking on the floor. Keeping shoes near the door or outside will also help keep your air quality higher and if they have to be worn inside, keep a big mat by the door to trap most particles that may be coming into your home.
3. Wipe down your pets.
a. Wiping down your pets after they have been outside will also help to keep those dust and allergen particles to a minimum because you will be stopping them at the door.
4. Turn on ceiling fans.
a. Ceiling fans can keep air flowing in your home even when your unit isn’t running. In the winter, when your heater is on, reversing your ceiling fan moves warm air near the ceiling down to the floor. This not only helps with keeping the air flowing, but greatly reduces your energy use and can lower your energy bills up to 15%!
5. Don’t let your air filter get dirty.
a. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t see light through it when you hold it up, it is definitely time to change it.
6. Fresh air can be your friend!
a. On the days where it’s not so cold, let some fresh in for a little while so the stale air can go out! Using synthetic fragrances can help your house smell great, but they also have a lot of toxic or hazardous chemicals. Use natural scents like real lemons to get that fresh smell or a healthy Aloe Vera plant. If you just don’t want to open those windows, consider checking into a energy recovery ventilator.
7. Keep the humidity at a healthy level.
a. Humidifiers are great to have in the house, not only do they keep the static electricity down, but the right amount of humidity can keep colds and flu at bay while reducing asthma symptoms. The optimal level of humidity should be between 30%-50%.
Here are some tips for keeping healthy and reduce the spread of germs:
1. Wash your hands.
a. This one is kind of a “duh”, but still very important. Also, make sure that everyone in your home is washing their hands correctly (children, especially).
Often, we can get into a hurry about washing our hands because we have a ton of things to do. A good rule of thumb is singing the ABC’s at least twice. Silly of course, but effective!
2. Wipe down regularly used items.
a. Most people don’t realize it, but your phone is a breeding ground of bacteria. Think of everything you’ve touched throughout the day and then think of how many times you’ve pulled your phone out to use it. Wiping down things like your phone, your writing utensils, even your door knobs and light switches are a great way to keep your family healthier.
3. Get your vitamins.
a. We know that getting proper nutrition is hard (especially when the Girl Scout cookies come out!), but taking a vitamin, especially Vitamin D will help keep colds and flu at bay. We are not out in the sun nor is the sun out enough for us to get all the Vitamin D we need during the winter, so find a good one and stock up!
4. Drink lots of water and exercise.
a. These two things go hand in hand but keeping a nice container of water on your desk at an easy reach can keep you drinking all day long, even when you’re not in the gym.
5. Reduce stress and get your sleep.
a. Keeping your mood up during the winter can keep those winter blues from surfacing and bringing you down, both mentally and physically. Trying to stay positive and upbeat are a lot easier when you’ve had enough sleep.