How To Live And Breathe Better At Home
Education and Advocacy Everything that enters our body has a direct influence on the quality of our health, and the oxygen that we inhale is no different.
Being able to breathe clean air is one of the fundamental aspects of maintaining good health, and that’s especially true for people suffering with asthma or allergies.
Clean air is a necessity
“You can choose the water you drink, you can choose the food you eat, but you can’t choose the air that you breathe,” explains Rob Oliphant, who is the President and CEO of the Asthma Society of Canada. “For someone with asthma or allergies, how you deal with things in the air that affect the way you breathe is one of the main challenges.”
“You can choose the water you drink, you can choose the food you eat, but you can’t choose the air that you breathe.”
Every person with asthma should take steps to get their condition well controlled, and to do this you need to be aware of the things that irritate your lungs and then devise a strategy on how to avoid them.
“Breathing indoor air that’s clean can reduce your asthma symptoms and reduce your need for medications,” says Chris Haromy, Respiratory Educator at the Ontario Lung Health Association. “This is a positive because even though the medicines used for asthma are safe, there are still some potentials for side effects.”
House keeping strategies
Dust, some pet dander and mould are the visible things that will affect the breathing of someone with asthma or allergies. But it’s what your eye can’t see that does just as much harm, those microscopic dust mites that hide in every nook and crevice.
There’s some basic housekeeping that people with asthma and allergies need to do. “Huge amounts of dust accumulates on and in mattresses, so a good mattress cover is a definite consideration,” says Oliphant. “People should also have an asthma and allergy friendly pillow and duvet, they make a big difference, especially for children.”
"There’s some basic housekeeping that people with asthma and allergies need to do."
Although it’s widely thought that having hardwood floors as opposed to carpet will increase indoor air quality, it’s not necessary to rip out all of your beloved carpets. “Try to use a certified asthma and allergy friendly vacuum cleaner,” says Oliphant. “The Asthma Society of Canada certifies that those vacuums have the ability to suck up the contaminants; the dander and dust mites, without then emitting them out of the back, like most vacuums do.”
A homely nation
Many of us are unaware of the risks that we’re susceptible to because of the poor air quality in some homes and offices. When you consider that as Canadians we spend close to 90 per cent of our time inside, you begin to build a picture of just how important it is that we all have access to clean indoor air.
Ensuring that there’s adequate ventilation in the home or workplace is one measure that can help improve the air quality. “Generally our homes are quite well sealed these days for energy efficiency reasons and that can lead to a lack of ventilation,” says Haromy. “It can help to install a ventilation system, like a heat recovery ventilator, to bring fresh air into the home.”