Making Sure the Air Inside Isn’t an Irritant to Your Lungs
If you have a chronic lung disease, such as asthma or
emphysema, you’re likely to be more sensitive to air impurities inside your
home. Here are some common indoor air irritants and ways you can address them:
Free your lungs from tobacco smoke
Your already know that smoking isn’t good for you. If you don’t smoke, and
especially if you’ve quit, you’ve accomplished a lot. But your home needs to be
free of anyone else’s cigarette smoke too. It’s not enough to limit smoking to a
room inside, because the smoke travels through the house. It may be awkward at
first, but try to get any smokers on board with the idea that you’re only doing
your best to keep yourself healthy. Explain what the effect of smoke is on your
lungs. You can be firm and nice at the same time. It might seem harsh to send a
smoker out into the cold, but isn’t it more harsh for someone’s smoke to be
making you sick?
Clear dust from all over the house
New research has shown that household dust often contains poisons that can
trigger asthma symptoms. The poisons, which are called endotoxins, are produced
by bacteria. Researchers in the recent study examined dust samples from 831
households all over the U.S. They found that the higher the concentrations of
endotoxins, the more likely people were to have asthma, to take asthma
medication and to have asthmas symptoms, such as wheezing.
Household dust gets everywhere, in places you might never
have thought of.
- Clean the refrigerator—the coils and pans collect lots
- Clean dryer filters
- Clean and replace filters from air conditioners and
heaters as often as recommended
- Clean the furnace and ducts
- Clean appliances
- Clean sheets with hot water and soap
Avoid household chemical cleaners
If you do the cleaning in your house, use only baking soda
or vinegar and water for this job. Other types of cleansers aren’t good for your
lungs. Avoid using pesticides inside. If you must do this, be sure to be away
from your home for the suggested period of time.
Limit house plants
House plants increase mold, and mold is a common irritant.
If you love growing plants inside, consider getting an enclosed terrarium. If
there are bushes or trees near a window where you often sit or sleep, this too,
could be increasing your mold exposure.
Clean bathroom tiles
Bathroom tiles can be a strong source of mold, so clean
them frequently. In fact, mold is most likely to grow in any area of the house
that’s moist and damp, like cellars, basements and garages.
Keep respiratory equipment clean
If you use respiratory equipment, the last thing you want
to do is inhale dust from its many parts. Be sure to clean filters. Clean
medicine nebulizers each time you’ve finished using them (using one-part white
vinegar to three-parts water), and let them air dry on a clean towel. Hang all
tubes up to dry, and keep oxygen cannulas clean by caring for them the same way
you do your nebulizers.
Association for Respiratory Care; American Journal of Respiratory and Clinical
Care Medicine; American Lung Association;