Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) affects everyone, especially the most vulnerable - children, the elderly, and people with health conditions like asthma and heart disease. According to the EPA, we spend about 90% of our time indoors - even in warmer weather! While it's important to stay warm and cozy this winter, it's equally important to maintain good indoor air quality to stay healthy and breathing easy.
If you develop allergy symptoms or breathing issues as you transition into Michigan winter, IEP Urgent Care is here to help! Our seven locations are all open seven days a week to diagnose and treat any respiratory problems you’re having. We can also refill your prescription asthma medication!
Here are some practical tips to improve your indoor air quality and ensure that you and your loved ones breathe easy and stay healthy while stuck indoors this winter:
Ventilate Regularly: One of the simplest ways to improve indoor air quality is to allow fresh air to circulate. Open windows and doors for a few minutes each day, even if it's chilly outside. This helps in flushing out indoor pollutants and brings in a supply of fresh, clean air.
Use Air Purifiers: Consider investing in an air purifier with a HEPA filter. These devices can effectively remove airborne particles, such as dust, pet dander, and pollutants. Place them in commonly used areas, like the living room or bedroom, to maximize their impact. The experts at CNET have a list of their best air purifiers for 2023.
Keep a Clean Home: Regular cleaning is crucial for maintaining good air quality. Dust and vacuum frequently, and pay attention to often overlooked areas like vents, curtains, and carpets. Use natural cleaning products to minimize the introduction of harsh chemicals into your indoor environment.
Control Humidity Levels: Maintaining the right humidity levels is essential for preventing the growth of mold and dust mites. Aim for a relative humidity level between 30% and 50%. Consider using a dehumidifier or a humidifier to achieve and maintain the ideal humidity in your home. The New York Times has a great list of their picks for the best humidifier.
Choose Indoor Plants: Certain indoor plants act as natural air purifiers by absorbing toxins and releasing oxygen. Spider plants, peace lilies, and snake plants are excellent choices that not only enhance your indoor decor but also contribute to cleaner air.
Avoid Smoking Indoors: If you're a smoker, it's best to take it outside. Smoking indoors significantly degrades air quality and poses serious health risks to everyone in the vicinity. Create a designated outdoor area for smoking to protect indoor air quality.
Mind Your Cooking Practices: Cooking can release particles and gases into the air. Use exhaust fans while cooking to minimize indoor air pollution. Opt for cooking methods that produce fewer pollutants, and be sure to clean kitchen surfaces regularly.
Be Mindful of Allergens: Allergens like pet dander, pollen, and dust can exacerbate respiratory issues. Wash bedding and curtains regularly, and groom pets outside to minimize the presence of allergens in your home.