The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Americans spend, on average, 90 percent of their lives indoors. Given that the quality of indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, that’s a lot of time spent in a poor air quality environment.
Poor indoor air quality has been linked to a number of health problems including heart trouble, strokes, allergies, asthma and chronic lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). In fact, 34 percent of deaths attributed to indoor air pollution-caused are from strokes, and 22 percent of indoor air pollution-caused deaths stem from COPD.
Some of the harmful chemicals commonly found in American homes include Toluene (paint thinners), Xylene (common tar), Ammonia, (fertilizers and cleaners) Benzene, and Trichloroethylene (man-made fibers and printed materials), and formaldehyde (insecticides and particle board). These types of toxins are inherently dangerous to everyone, but can be particularly harmful for those with respiratory illnesses like COPD.
We’ve put together a Healthy Home Checklist of ways to keep your home a healthy place to breathe.
One of the most important of the healthy home checklist is quitting smoking. If you suffer from COPD and are currently smoking, you might consider stopping. We know that’s a tough row to hoe, but the Lung Institute is here to help. As we’ve mentioned before, the dangers of smoking are not to be taken lightly. Ranked 7th in the nation’s top New Year’s resolutions, smoking cessation is essential to improving the smoker’s life, not to mention everyone who lives in close proximity with that person.
Bring in Some Plants
Indoor plants such as ferns, spider plants and aloe vera take in carbon dioxide and convert it to oxygen– such a brilliant and essential process that if plants didn’t exist, we’d have to invent them. What we may often overlook is that some species of plant also absorb harmful chemicals and other pollutants, such as the substances mentioned above, that pollute our indoor air. Of all plants, NASA has identified the peace lily as the most effective at purifying air, which requires very little water or sunlight. If you lack a green thumb, there are a variety of air purifying machines on the market that can improve indoor air quality. As part of your healthy home checklist, add some plants.
Dust, Vacuum and Mop as Part of Your Healthy Home Checklist
OK—this seems obvious, but keeping a clean home is essential to better indoor air quality. Regularly dust off the surfaces in your home. By clearing your floors and vacuuming often with a high-quality vacuum cleaner, you can limit the amount of dust build up in your home. Mop your floors at least twice a month, but use non-chemical-based cleaners.
Humidity makes our homes hospitable to dust and mold. Consider installing a de-humidifier to your home; keep your exhaust fan running when you are cooking; and always fix any leaks immediately, so you can prevent mold growth.
Test for Radon
Radon is a radioactive gas naturally occurring in the ground. It can contribute to a variety of lung conditions. By purchasing a radon test at your local hardware store, you can be sure your home is radon free, or take proper measures if you discover it’s not.
One possibly unexpected way to make living in your home healthier overall, is to allow some time for fresh air, sunshine and the beauty of nature. In other words, taking time to smell the flowers more often can make time spent indoors seem less oppressive. The scent of flowers has been shown to promote relaxation. Blooms such as jasmine and lavender, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, produce calming, soothing and sedative effects.
According to the Journal of Environmental Psychology, spending time in fresh air, surrounded by nature, increases energy in 90 percent of people, which can only make time spent indoors that much better.
About Lung Institute
The Lung Institute is a leading medical provider of regenerative cellular therapy for lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial lung disease in the United States. To date the organization has treated over 2,500 patients. The Lung Institute’s in-house outcomes summary shows that 83 percent of patients studied saw an improvement in their quality of life. Founded in 2013 in Tampa, Fla., the Lung Institute currently operates clinics in Tampa, Fla., Nashville, Tenn., Scottsdale, Ariz., and Pittsburgh, Pa. and Dallas, Texas. For more information, please visit www.lunginstitute.com or call (800) 729-3065.