The global threat of climate change is on the rise, as consumption and production continues to increase year by year. Despite the fact that many countries are trying to take action to reduce their carbon footprints, there are still a number of them that are pumping out pollutants at alarming rates. Unfortunately, with air pollution comes a greater risk of viral infection.
Yes, you read that right. While it is not entirely clear as to the full reasoning behind it, studies have shown that there is a definite correlation between air pollution and rates of infection. One such study took a look at the spread of COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands, showing how patterns of pollution seemed to follow the spread of the disease in a way that simply couldn’t be ignored. This spread occurred in areas that are much more rural in nature, which partially ruled out urban centres as a factor. Of course, while no one factor can solely contribute to the spread of the disease, there is still enough correlation to suggest its importance.
Okay, so pollution is bad, we already know this. There isn’t much we can do to clean up the air in your neighbourhood without the help of everyone in a large area around you helping as well. Indeed, crewmen aboard the International Space Station have reported significant drops in pollution around areas where most people are actively self-isolating. However, you can affect your indoor air, and keeping your living space clean and fresh can go a long way towards protecting yourself from getting sick or getting on the path to recovery that much quicker.
Here are six ways you can improve your air quality at home and better protect yourself from COVID-19.
1) Take Your Smoking And Vaping Somewhere Else
Okay, we’re starting off with a simple one. Naturally, if you are the smoker in the household, it doesn’t really make a big difference for you where you smoke. For that, quitting altogether is likely the best solution, which, of course, comes with its own challenges. If quitting isn’t an option for you, then the benefits extend to those in your household.
We have all heard the warnings about secondhand smoke, and if you think logically, COVID-19 has hit the lungs the hardest. Pneumonia as a secondary infection is currently the leading cause of COVID-19 related fatalities, so adding extra things for your loved ones’ lungs to worry about can only make things worse.
2) Stop Using Air Fresheners, Fragrances And Perfumes
Let’s get it straight, we’re not saying that pretty smells are going to spread the disease faster. You just have to be a little more choosy about what you are putting into your air. Nearly all commercial “air fresheners” and perfumes carry a wide range of unpronounceable chemicals, which contribute to making your favourite flowery smell. Believe it or not, these chemicals can be extremely irritating to your sensitive tissues, which make them one extra thing your body needs to worry about when it’s trying to fight off a virus.
Try sticking to more natural sources for your scents, including options like natural citrus, spices, essential oils, and natural teas. Fresh flowers are also a good option, but be careful of the nasty effects of pollen and how they wreak havoc on the respiratory system. A few sources like ginger, cinnamon, lavender or eucalyptus have also been studied for their inherent abilities to boost immune response, and might be ideal candidates for choosing natural scents in the home.
3) Cook Outside, Or Use Slow Cookers Instead Of Your Stove
Who we are not talking about: those with electric stovetops or induction coils.Our main area of concern involves the large number of people using wood or gas stoves. Even if you have a range hood, your face will almost inevitably be between your stove and the hood and you will inevitably end up breathing in some of the fumes. Cooking outside, using an oven, or an electric slow cooker will greatly assist in reducing your intake of these fumes on a daily basis.
4) Increase The Humidity Indoors
Most households have used a small portable air humidifier, which we have all used when we are feeling stuffed up or under the weather. Studies have shown a direct link between increased humidity and a heightened immune response to many viruses. While home humidification systems are generally the recommended approach to best maintain your whole home’s humidity levels, other options include your portable humidifier, leaving your doors open after a hot shower, or getting houseplants, which have the added benefit of purifying the air.
5) Replace Your Air Filters With Clean Ones If Needed
If your filters have already trapped large amounts of particulate matter, it likely won’t perform nearly as well as a clean one. While your furnace filter is a big one, there are others you need to be concerned about. These include your vacuums, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, exhaust vents like in your stove and bathroom ceiling fan, clothes dryer vents, and many more.
Basically, if it has a filter, keep it clean!
6) Keep Your HVAC Clean
Remember the tip about keeping your exhaust vents clean? This is especially true for your HVAC system. Air registers, exhaust vents, and HVAC coils are all high-impact areas that are rarely in view. But out of sight should not mean out of mind. Keep them free of dust to allow them to keep functioning at their best.
In fact, when it comes to dust, it’s likely a good policy to keep your home free of as much dust as possible. Keep a scheduled dusting routine, and ensure you stick to it.
Keeping the air in your home clean and free of unwanted dust and particulates can make a big difference in your health, and the health of those around you. Take the time to do your research, and implement as many strategies as you can to keep your environment healthy!
Colin Hegarty is a content writer for BreezeMaxWeb that helps businesses showcase their brand through enticing copy. When he’s not working, you can find him playing net in a local beer league or biking around the city.