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Do Air Purifiers Help to Prevent Respiratory Diseases?

Do Air Purifiers Help to Prevent Respiratory Diseases?

Air purifiers have been around for quite some time and there are literally thousands of models available in the market right now. Some of you may be interested in getting one for your home. Before buying an air purifier, it is important to do your research and consider the reason why you are buying one. The main purpose of air purifiers is to filter out air pollution in an area, which can lead to diseases and allergies. If you live in an area with bad air quality, an air purifier may be a particularly good investment.

Some clinical studies have shown that air purifiers may help prevent respiratory diseases. However, most clinical studies only deal with short term data, meaning that more studies need to be done to examine the effectiveness of air purifiers in the longer run. The results that we currently have right now, however, are quite optimistic. Most studies have shown that air purifiers can contribute to preventing respiratory diseases. The effectiveness mostly depends on the kind of respiratory diseases that are being suffered.

Air Pollution

Air pollution is one of the most common problems in highly urbanized cities and areas these days. Our modern society has made strides in being aware of the effects it has on the environment, but as it is, we still have a long way to go. In fact, it is estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO), that air pollution is one of the biggest environmental health risks which is connected to several million deaths per year.

Air pollution can cause many different types of respiratory diseases. One of the most common is allergies. Poor air quality can also trigger asthma in people who already have the disease. Take note that air pollution does not only refer to dust and smoke. It can also refer to objects that are pleasant but can become sources of air pollution such as scented candles or pets.

Purpose of a Purifier

What an air purifier does is to remove the irritants and pollutants in your home in order to stop them from causing havoc to your respiratory system. Most air purifiers have filters that can remove these irritants and pollutants, leading to improved air quality inside the room. Most air purifiers also deal with a variety of pollutants such as pet hair or dander, pollen, dust, and smoke.

In choosing an air purifier, it is helpful to choose one which has a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. An air purifier with a HEPA filter captures 99.7% of airborne particles down to 0.3 microns in diameter. Through this process of removing contaminants, HEPA can improve air quality and reduce the chances of respiratory diseases.

Common RESPIRATORY Diseases

Asthma

Air purifiers can help people suffering from asthma. Asthma is a very common disease, with millions suffering from it annually. Most of the time it manifests during childhood. There is currently no cure for the disease, but asthmatic patients can help reduce attacks with the use of an air purifier. An air purifier helps remove the irritants which could trigger an asthma attack. While an air purifier is not a hundred percent assurance that asthma attacks will be gone, it can help improve the lives and conditions of asthmatic people.

COPD

COPD refers to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It is a term that refers to a wide variety of different but related illnesses. Manifestations of COPD include difficulty in breathing and may include illnesses such as bronchitis and emphysema. The American Lung Association estimates that COPD is the third largest killer in the US. Air purifiers can reduce the onset of COPD by removing irritants and pollutants from the air.

Conclusion

Air purifiers can be very helpful in preventing respiratory diseases by removing irritants and pollutants from the air. Improved air quality has also been linked to an improvement in cardiovascular health. By removing the airborne toxins and triggers, air purifiers can help prevent the onset of respiratory diseases, or at least reduce the possibility of attacks in those with pre-existing conditions.

 

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Manage Your Indoor Air Pollution During Lockdown

Manage Indoor Air Pollution During Lockdown

Around the world,  people are practicing distancing and/or are living in cities with lockdown orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As a result of decreased travel and economic activity, some cities are reporting that outdoor air quality has improved.

As people spend more time inside, it is important to consider the quality of the air being breathed indoors. While spending most of the day inside may present some challenges to indoor air quality, such as increases in pollution from cooking and heating, it also presents opportunities to reduce exposures and improve the quality of the air we are breathing indoors.

We’ll take a look at:

  • How indoor air pollution impacts health.
  • The sources of indoor air pollution.
  • How individuals can reduce their exposure to indoor air pollution.

It is important to note that none of the recommendations made here are intended to replace local, regional, or national health guidance, especially in the evolving circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indoor Air Pollution’s Impact on Your Health

There is emerging evidence that lung health may relate to COVID-19 sickness and death. People with poor lung health (whether from smoking, vaping, or exposure to environmental air pollution) may be at greater risk for complications. Researchers found that, during the SARS outbreak in 2003, people who lived in more polluted places (with higher PM2.5 levels) had worse health outcomes from the virus.

Because indoor and outdoor air pollution share many of the same health-harming components, such as fine particulate matter (PM2.5), the health impacts are similar to the impacts attributed to outdoor air pollution. Both contribute to cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and long term exposure is associated with some cancers.

What Are Some Sources of Indoor Air Pollution During LockDown

Households

Simply put, burning things in the home causes indoor air pollution. This includes having a fire in the fireplace, lighting candles, burning incense, and even cooking with fossil gas, propane, or LPG. Some specific cooking activities (or mishaps), such as burning toast and cooking foods on very hot pans, can create fine particulate pollution as well.

Chemical Pollutants

Sources of chemical pollutants include tobacco smoke, emissions from products used in the building (e.g. volatile organic compounds from office equipment; furniture, wall and floor coverings; and some cleaning and consumer products) accidental spill of chemicals, and gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide, which are products of combustion.

Particles

Particles are solid or liquid substances which are light enough to be suspended in the air, the largest of which may be visible in sunbeams streaming into a room. However, smaller particles that you cannot see are likely to be more harmful to health. Particles of dust, dirt, or other substances may be drawn into the building from outside; and can also be produced by activities that occur in buildings, like sanding wood or drywall, printing, copying, operating equipment and smoking.

Common cleaning products can also contribute to indoor air pollution by producing volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Practical Steps to Reduce Exposure During Lockdown

Key actions that individuals can take at home include:

Reducing any burning inside the home (such as incense, candles, and wood fires).

Send fumes/smoke outside by using an exhaust fan that vents to the outdoors, or opening a nearby window/door if no fan is available.

Minimize the use of home products that can create air pollution such as artificial air fresheners, pesticides, aerosol sprays, adhesives, and harsh cleaning products. These products release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.

Use a high quality vacuum with a HEPA filter. Vacuums without HEPA filters can re-suspend small particles in the air, but those with HEPA filters can remove health-harming particles.

Consider removing rugs because they trap pollutants, and these pollutants can later be re-suspended in the air and inhaled.

 

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Keep Your Indoor Air in Check During Lockdown

IS YOUR INDOOR AIR IN CHECK DURING LOCKDOWN

Due to the Covid-19 lockdown, there are large parts of the population now working from home for the foreseeable future. Because of this, it is an important time to remind yourself and others to maintain healthy indoor air quality (IAQ) to maximize not only cognitive performance but also general health and well being in your home.

The Lockdown Problem

One key reason why the problems associated with poor IAQ are growing so rapidly is due to the recent drive towards air tightness and energy efficiency in homes. Whilst this may reduce energy costs, it also leads to a deterioration in air quality and the exacerbation of pollutants inside homes.

Poor IAQ occurs when there is a build-up of pollutants in the home to the extent that it affects an occupant’s health and comfort, and is linked to a range of health conditions.

Poor Air Quality

Symptoms

Common symptoms of poor indoor air quality can include coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, wheezing, allergic reactions, and reduced cognitive function. While long term exposure to poor indoor air quality has been linked to serious health conditions such as allergic and asthma symptoms, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, airborne respiratory infections and cardiovascular disease.

Types

Types of indoor air pollution include moisture and mold, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), allergens (such as house dust mites) and formaldehyde, and more.

The Lockdown Solutions

Fortunately, interventions can be made to rectify poor indoor air quality and ensure your home is the healthiest possible environment to live and work in. To achieve this, it is important that you know how your house is ventilated, ensure it is ventilated properly and keep up a good maintenance and cleaning regime.

Below are tips to help with this process:
1
Ventilate

One of the most effective ways to reduce indoor air pollution and your exposure to harmful particles is to make sure your home is properly and continuously ventilated. Consider having a ventilation system installed and, if you have one, make sure it is switched on and properly maintained.

2

Go Natural

Swap your aerosols for roll-on and choose eco-friendly household products. Many people are not aware that consumer products like spray-on deodorant and air fresheners release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can be harmful to your health. In fact, products like these can contribute as much as 10-20% of VOCs indoors, similar to the levels that transport emits to outdoor air.

3

Vacuum

Did you know carpets contain around 200,000 bacteria per square inch on average, making them 4,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat? Carpets harbor dirt, pet hair, fungus and other harmful particles that can cause and exacerbate allergic reactions and health conditions such as asthma. Clean your carpets regularly to ensure they are not making your indoor air quality worse.

4

Remove Your Shoes

Going for a walk every day to get some fresh air and make use of the limited availability to get outdoors? Make sure you remove your shoes when you go indoors to stop pollutants from spreading. Shoes can collect unwanted chemicals, dirt and dust from outside and bring them into the home.

5

Let Paint Dry

Thinking about using your time at home to give your room a new paint job? Paints release VOCs which can be harmful to your health, so make sure the paint has properly dried before using a newly painted room.

6

Use Your Exhaust Fan

Cooking on a gas stove gives off nitrogen dioxide, acrolein, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide, which have all been linked to respiratory symptoms and cancer.

 

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How Does Air Quality Affect Your Mental Health?

How Does Air Quality Affect Your Mental Health?

The increased awareness of mental health issues has led people to look up for the root cause of them. Mental health disorders are something more than a mere statement of mind. Various external and internal factors contribute to keeping our mind happy and healthy.

The external factors majorly comprise of the people we are surrounded by and the air we breathe in. Therefore, air quality can affect our mental health to a greater extent. Just as people get ESA certification for their mental wellbeing, having pure and clean air can also aid in keeping your mental health intact. Here is how air quality can affect your mental health and what you must do to improve it:

Through Bloodstream

The industrialization and technological advancements have played a major role in polluting the air and has endangered our physical and mental health. The harmful particles and air pollutants can enter our bloodstream through inhalation to the lungs and then can enter the brain. It can lead to harmful outcomes such as neuroinflammation, neurotoxicity, or hormonal dysregulation. Every breath that you take in the polluted air, gradually affect your mental health.

Change In Regular Activities

The bad air quality can change our lives drastically. It can lead to some major lifestyle changes, thus, affecting our mental and physical health simultaneously. Let’s take a very recent example to better understand this notion. For example, these days people are not getting out of their houses because they fear that they might fell prey to COVID-19 through inhalation. People are trying really hard to keep themselves from an airborne infection by wearing masks and stuff. This isolation is stopping them from breathing in fresh air or to go regular jogging and workout sessions as they used. Being locked down in the house is leading them to depression and anxiety. Therefore, if the air quality gets bad, people take extra measures to keep themselves safe which in turn puts them in a constant state of distress, thus, affecting their mental health to a greater extent.

Changing Sleep Patterns

Pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide are likely to create disturbance in a person’s sleeping pattern. This can also create issues like disordered breathing or nocturnal hypoxemia i.e. low oxygen in the blood, thus leading to restlessness. If these issues remain persistent, they increase the risk of other mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety, etc.

How Immediate can the impact of air pollution be On Your Mental HEalth?

Long-term exposure to polluted air is more likely to affect your mental health. However, if the pollutants are very harmful and the person is more likely to live in an area near a factory or busy road, then his/her mental and physical health can deteriorate faster. The impact of air pollution also varies with the age group. For example, children are more likely to fell prey to the harmful air pollutants as their immunity is not strong enough to bear the consequences. Secondly, people with the low socioeconomic background are the ones that are being affected by air pollution as they tend to live in houses near industrial areas or busy city roads because of their low cost.

What Should WE do?

The good news is, every individual can help to control air pollution by playing their part. A collective effort by masses can help us get back a fresh and clean air to breath in. We can boycott the companies that are majorly responsible for polluting the air. Avoid using vehicles that have a higher rate of emission of harmful gases. Above, all, plant more trees. We can all aid in the improvement of air quality by making some major lifestyle changes.

The Bottom Line

The air pollution might not show obvious or immediate effects, but it gradually aids in the deterioration of a person’s physical and mental health. Therefore, it is better to pay heed to make our environment cleaner and greener instead of regretting afterward. Clean air to breathe in is a fundamental human right, therefore, governments and world health organization must set up boundaries for the industrialized and other air-polluting countries so that this planet can remain a livable for us and for the generations to come.

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Control Indoor Allergens to Boost Indoor Air Quality

Spending More Time Indoors? Here’s How to Improve Your Air

More time at home means more exposure to indoor allergens like pet dander and dust mites. There are a few steps you can take to improve your air and keep these culprits from causing allergy and asthma flare-ups.

COVID-19 and Asthma

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that those with respiratory conditions like asthma may be at a higher risk of developing more serious COVID-19 symptoms, it’s still unknown if those with asthma or allergies are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

Prunicki is on one of the research teams trying to study the relationship between asthma and COVID-19 susceptibility and severity. “If there’s a higher rate of infection in counties where asthma rates are higher, then it certainly makes sense to do anything you can to keep your asthma under control,” she says.

Until the research confirms or dismisses that relationship, at least there are a few ways you can try and breathe easier at home.

IMPROVE your air, reduce IRRITANTS

How long they linger in the home depends on a few factors. Newer, well-built homes with central air conditioning are better equipped to control indoor air quality. Older, draftier buildings lack those benefits. Home condition and location also help determine exposure to outdoor air pollution, which can worsen asthma symptoms.

The main indoor irritants that cause allergic reactions are:
  • animals
  • pests
  • dust mites
  • mold
Prevention

If someone in your household is bothered by whatever is floating in the air, preventing the allergens is preferable to trying to remove them after the fact. That might mean taking a measure as extreme as giving up the family pet — or, at least, not allowing it into the bedroom at night, Portnoy says. Dehumidifiers and air conditioning can keep mold from growing and stave off dust mites, which don’t survive at humidity levels below 35 percent. And wash your bedding regularly.

Other contaminants that might irritate the lungs are worth ditching, too. Avoid tobacco smoke, and if you have to live with a smoker, consider testing with a Tobacco Smoke Test or purchasing an air purifier. While it might be tempting to plug in an air freshener to make a space smell cleaner, Portnoy says the scents simply add another layer of potentially irritating chemicals that mask the underlying air quality issues. “It’s better if you can smell the problem,” he says.

Cleaning Up Contaminants

When taking care of allergens after they arrive, remember that not all bothersome particles can be treated with the same measures. Pet dander is lightweight and floats around for a long time, so air filtration can help suck the irritant out of your breathing space. If that’s something you’d like to try, Portnoy recommends outfitting the bedroom with a HEPA  filter, something that can be attached to an HVAC system or a free-standing air purifier.

Dust mites, however, only launch into the air when they’ve been disturbed, making them difficult to eliminate with air filtration. For those, Portnoy suggests trying mattress and pillowcase covers that protect against the tiny arthropods. Regular cleaning with a high-efficiency vacuum could help too.