Pollution is hazardous for your heart and can wreak havoc if you have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
COPD stands for two processes that almost always occur together: chronic bronchitis, which is inflammation of the airways, and emphysema, which is destruction of the fine substance of the lung. But the air inside your home matters too. Take these simple steps to keep irritants out of your airways, which can help stop trouble before it gets started.
Avoid wood-burning fireplaces
Wood-burning fireplaces—charming and romantic as they may be—produce particulate matter that can get into your lungs and make it harder to breathe. They put out soot and carbon. There’s nothing in there that’s a good thing for a patient. There’s no inhalant that’s worse than smoke.
Steer clear of smokers
Smoking is particularly bad for people with breathing disorders, so whether or not you have previously smoked you should stay away from second hand (or first hand) smoke.
Keep the dust mites away
Like humans, dust mites like to burrow into mattresses and bedding. “Dust mites are a trigger for asthmatics and people with other breathing disorders and should be kept to a minimum.
It is recommended that using mattress covers and pillowcases that are bed-bug proof, which usually means they’re mite-proof as well. And pick pillows that are made of foam rubber, not goose-down or feathers.
Washing your linens in hot water (above 130°F) at least once a week will also keep the dust mites at bay.
Cut the chemicals
It’s a bit of a conundrum. You need to clean up dust and pet dander, but strong-smelling cleaning products can be lung irritants.
Even walking into a recently cleaned house can be a problem and wearing a mask won’t necessarily help. That means using vinegar or regular old soap and water, basically non-fragranced liquids.
You should avoid hair spray, perfumes, glues, paints, and air fresheners too. If you want to freshen your air, clean and don’t mask over another odour.
Pets can exacerbate breathing problems. Dogs, cats, and even birds can be a problem (fish aren’t).
If you already have a pet, or you find an animal is necessary for your mental health, make sure you wash your hands after petting, and keep your pet out of the bedroom.
Close your window
Ozone and other forms of air pollution, as well as outdoor allergens and dust, can affect your lungs. This can be especially troublesome if it’s allergy season, if the winds are howling, or if you live in a place, particularly cities, prone to dust accumulation.
On high air-pollution days keep the windows closed. You can check air quality through weather forecasts.
If you’re cleaning, though, you may want to open a window to clear the air of cleaning chemicals.
Fight mould and mildew
Good ventilation systems in both the bedroom and bathroom can cut down on moulds, another potential trigger of lung trouble.
And because dust mites like humidity too, you should keep the moisture levels in your home unattractively low, at around 40%.
To do so, consider using a dehumidifier and don’t run a humidifier or vaporizer.
Check your stove
Like fireplaces, wood-burning stoves can pose problems unless they are completely enclosed and come with a good ventilation system.
Stay warm and cozy all winter, with radiators and central heating.
Even gas stoves can be a problem for those with lung trouble. However, if you have an automatic igniter, it cuts down on the amount of gas that can escape