Reducing Indoor Air Pollution for Your Children’s Health

If your home’s indoor air quality isn’t up to snuff, it can have a serious impact on your family’s health. Clean air is essential for maintaining children’s respiratory health—an excess of air pollution can limit their lung growth and development. Furthermore, reducing indoor air pollution in the home improves children’s health overall by reducing their chances of developing allergies or pulmonary illnesses, such as chronic cough, bronchitis, common cold, and conjunctivitis. Purifying the air helps your family feel more energetic as breathing in pollutants makes the body work harder just to complete daily functions.

Getting to Know Harmful Indoor Pollutants

There are various sources of indoor air pollution in the home. A well-known irritant and contributor to house-borne illness is mold. Mold can cause issues including asthma, rashes, sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and eye, skin, nose, throat, or lung irritation. Some estimates claim about 30 percent of American households have a mold problem often stemming from the property’s HVAC system or sewage pipes.

When a home isn’t properly ventilated, it hangs on to dusty indoor air while preventing fresh air from coming inside the house. Newer homes are often constructed airtight with the goal of sealing in heating and cooling, which is great. However, homeowners should air out their properties every now and again to let in fresh oxygen and sunshine, since doing so can have positive effects on both the mind and body. Other sources of ventilation issues include things like issues with fans, undersized ducts, and condensation from humidifiers.

Radon is called “the silent killer” because the gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. In high concentrations, radon is very harmful and can even be deadly as the particles damage cells inside the lungs. Families should always have homes tested for radon before purchasing a property. Adding a radon fan system to the house protects the home, with the additional benefit of making it more energy-efficient.

Reducing Indoor Pollution

Keeping your home’s indoor air quality at its best takes a multi-pronged approach. An important thing to remember is that a clean home is going to have cleaner air. Regularly dusting, vacuuming, and laundering reduces airborne irritants and allergens in the home. Furthermore, if your family has pets, it’s imperative to groom them regularly and provide them with their own areas for sitting and sleeping to keep their dirt and dander off your furnishings.

More tips for reducing indoor air pollution for your family’s health:

  • Drapes and curtains catch dust and allergens and trap them there. Opt for easy-to-clean window treatments like wooden blinds or shutters.

  • Rip up carpeting and opt for hard floor solutions instead. Remember: Hard floors also have to be cleaned regularly to prevent excess allergens, but they’re easier and more efficient to clean compared to carpets.

  • Prevent mold and mildew growth by keeping high-humidity areas, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms, clean and dry. Turn on fans when showering or bathing to work moist air out of the house.

  • Schedule annual check-ups for the home’s fuel-burning furnaces, hot water heaters, and gas ranges that can leak toxic gases.

  • Only use products that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in well-ventilated areas. Avoid purchasing furnishings and other items that contain VOCs.

  • Be liberal when decorating with air purifying houseplants. If you have a black thumb, try succulents and cacti that are difficult to kill.

  • Regularly replace your home’s air filters. Make sure heating and cooling is running efficiently by cleaning vents and fan blades.

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Indoor air pollution can trigger a wide number of respiratory issues, especially for developing children. Mold, dust, and radon only scratch the surface of the types of allergens and irritants in the home that could be making your family sick. When it comes to reducing indoor pollution, prevention is key. Keep your home clean and regularly groom pets to prevent excess shedding. Other smart tips include reducing the amount of fabrics you use to decorate, employing the air-purifying powers of houseplants, and avoiding products that contain volatile organic compounds that pollute indoor air.

Photo by John Salzarulo on Unsplash

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Honu Intervention provides children and their families with professional family-centered intervention and effective care coordination between interdisciplinary team members. We offer Early Start, private, and out-of-pocket services for early intervention, behavioral support; and speech, occupational, and physical therapy. 

 

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