Asthma And The Air You Breathe: Steps To Improving Indoor Air Quality

If you struggle with severe asthma, or if one of your family members has just been diagnosed, you might feel like the air around is your enemy. It is full of pollutants and irritants that could trigger an attack. Fortunately, you don't have to be as worried about the air you breathe when you're in the safety of your own home-- if you take certain precautions to make sure your home air stays clean. Here are some things you can do to make sure that your home is your oasis when it comes to calming asthma symptoms.

1. Install a central air conditioning system and have it properly maintained.

Central air is one of the easiest ways to bring fresh, clean air into your home on a daily basis. Other methods of cooling, like leaving the windows open, using a swamp cooler, or even a window unit, do not filter and circulate the air as well as a central system. You can have an air conditioning contractor install ventilation fans in each room, allowing old air out, while inviting clean filtered air into the home. 

Maintaining the system will help reduce pollutants. Human shed skin cells, and bacteria and mold spores are part of the air your breathe. These can collect on vents and ducts, making them more concentrated indoors. Have a professional from a company like Redlands Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning clean your system every few months to keep the air flow as unpolluted as possible.

2. Encourage clean air habits in the home.

Your daily habits will contribute to the cleanliness of your air at home. You should get into the habit of:

  • asking all guests to smoke away from the home, without exception. 
  • wiping down "forgotten" surfaces often, like the tops of window frames or the top of kitchen cabinets where dust normally collects
  • getting rid of scented sprays, candles, or wall plug ins. These have chemicals and smoke that will decrease your air quality
  • changing sheets and blankets regularly
  • washing curtains and other decorative textiles that collect dust over time.

Basically, you want to reduce the number of pollutants that you contribute to the home and control how much are allowed to accumulate. Regular dusting, for example, reduces the overall dust that has the potential to contaminate the air.

3. Control mold and mildew growth.

Humidity and water are enemies to your asthma. Damp environments in general make upper respiratory problems worse, but they can also negatively impact air quality because they encourage the growth of mold and mildew in your home. These further exacerbate symptoms of asthma, leading to throat, nose, and bronchial irritation and increasing your chances of suffering from breathing problems or a full-on asthma attack. You can reduce humidity by:

  • checking all your plumbing regularly to make sure there are no leaks. Mold will most likely grow in places where plumbing has a slow leak. Have a plumbing company do routine repairs and checks on your system to stop early leaks from becoming big problems later.
  • ventilating the bathroom properly when people shower or use the bathtub. Mold is more likely to grow behind tiles or under the flooring when the bathroom is always damp.
  • installing a dehumidifier with your central air system. Dehumidifiers are great for climates that are naturally warm and humid. If the wet air irritates your symptoms, it's always a good idea to make the air in your home drier.

4. Reduce chemical air pollution.

Certain cleaning chemicals, paints, and sprays can decrease the air quality in your home. Never use paint or stain inside, and if you are cleaning with a corrosive chemical, like oven cleaner, it is best to run ventilation fans and only use small amounts at a time. If you are very worried about the effects of using these chemicals, protect yourself further with a face mask until the air is clearer.