The Covid-19 pandemic has already set new normal in everyone's life. Families are being forced to stay inside and work from home. It is critical now that the space in which our dear ones and we spend our time is healthy enough to boost the quality of life. On average, an individual spends approximately 90% of their time indoors, where the concentrations of certain contaminants are often 2 to 5 times higher as compared to the outdoor concentrations.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) fact sheet, indoor air pollution is one of the main reasons for respiratory diseases and premature deaths in developing countries, contributing to nearly 40 lakh deaths annually.
The quality of air inside your home can have a significant impact on your health and mood. Hence, it is important to maintain the air quality in your home. Let us tell you several simple ways to maintain indoor air quality through this post.
Did you give much thought to the air quality that we breathe at home before 2020? Well, you are not alone! The truth is indoor air pollution levels remain largely unregulated despite being crucial to our overall well-being. There is documented evidence that headaches, coughing, dizziness, fatigue and difficulty in concentrating can be attributed directly to poor indoor air quality (1).
Indoor pollutants like the biological pollutants ( dust, fungi, allergens, etc), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) (chemicals in paints, sealants and adhesives and furniture polish), nitrogen dioxides, Carbon monoxide, Urea-formaldehyde resin (from carpets and particle boards), hamper the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of our homes.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the environmental characteristics of indoor air that may impact human health, work performance, comfort in some or other ways. While there are several factors that help to monitor the outdoor air quality, it's only you who can monitor the IAQ of your space.
The pandemic that wreaked havoc across the globe has highlighted the importance of monitoring the air quality inside your home more than ever. Luckily, many simple and natural ways can provide a fresh, healthy, and comfortable home environment to ensure you breathe better. We've listed six handy tips to get you started.
1. Bring in Fresh Air: The Indoor air is estimated to be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air (2). Proper ventilation is essential to remove stagnant air and refresh the interior space. Make sure you keep your windows open for a few hours in the day so that fresh air can come in. Also, run your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans when being used. For those living in a crowded city, investing in an air purifier is a good option as it can prevent the build-up of harmful pollutants.
2. Incorporate Houseplants: Houseplants can prove to be one of the best buddies for a healthy and happy lifestyle. Incorporate houseplants like bamboo palms, weeping figs, ferns, ivy, snake plants, and aloe vera that require little light and maintenance in your interior space. They purify the air by absorbing toxins and filtering pollutants. Indoor plants are also effective in providing additional oxygen. Besides, they are a great way to add colour and visual interest to the home décor.
3. Check Air Conditioner Filters: Keeping AC filters in optimum condition can improve the air quality of the home. Cleaning air filters or scheduling routine maintenance visits can help to enhance the quality of your indoor air.
4. Switch to Organic Cleaning Agents: Believe it or not, some chemical cleaning products are actually causing more harm than just cleaning your home. The VOCs in some of the cleaning products can degrade your indoor air quality. Thus, choose your products wisely. If possible, use non-toxic, organic and eco-friendly products like lemon and baking soda, which can be easily prepared at home for cleaning.
5. Keep Dust at Bay: Carpets, rugs, bed linen, cushions, and upholstery are a top source for accumulating allergens and collecting dust mites, dirt, fungi, and more. So, make sure these items are washed, dusted, and vacuumed regularly. And yes, if you have pets, keep the furry animals well-groomed and off the furniture to eliminate allergy-causing dander. It is always a best practice to not wear outside shoes inside the house.
6. Moisture Control at home: Moisture in your home, coming through different sources, gets trapped inside the wall surfaces due to non-porous wall finishes like plastic paint, cement plasters, wallpapers etc. can cause long-term damage. This ultimately creates a good environment for mould growth and mildew leading to peeling of paint or rot. This also causes severe health issues like allergies, asthma and breathing disorders. It is advisable to have breathable wall finishes like lime plaster and limewash on the walls. Additionally, well sunlit space and proper ventilation can aid in evaporating the excess moisture out.
If you are concerned about the quality of air inside your home, take charge of the issue right away. Hope these simple tips can go a long way in helping create a healthy indoor environment for you and your family. Regular maintenance and careful choices are key!