Is Your Air Quality Good Enough?
Now that we’re all spending more time inside, make sure the air you’re breathing isn’t making things worse. Indoor air pollutants, like dust, mold, pet dander, and chemicals, can aggravate conditions like asthma and seasonal allergies, as well as lead to serious health problems if left unchecked. Since respiratory health is a top concern across our community, we rounded up the best and easiest ways for you to clean up the air in your home.
Open the Windows
Without proper ventilation, harmful particles in the air—including germs, allergens and pollutants—can build up inside your home. The best way to avoid breathing in a viral overload is to circulate the “bad” air outside, and let fresh air in. Open the windows (yes, even in the winter), or turn on window fans for a dose of natural ventilation.
No Shoes, Please
To avoid tracking in dirt and extra pollutants from outside, place door mats at every entry to your home, and always take your shoes off at the door. If you have carpets, vacuum them frequently. And make sure to regularly clean your doormats to remove the trapped particles!
Do Some Spring Cleaning
In addition to washing your hands, keeping your home clean is a great way to avoid germs, and maybe even relieve stress. For a better clean, use a vacuum with good suction and a HEPA filter, especially on carpets and fabrics where particles can get trapped. Wipe down dusty surfaces regularly, and make sure to tackle any spots where mold might be a problem. Wash your sheets once a week, and if your pillows are washable, launder those as well. Don’t forget to wipe down ceiling fans, vents and filters!
Many household cleaners actually do more harm than good, with added fragrances and chemicals. Since you’re likely cleaning your surfaces more than usual, switching to all-natural and fragrance-free cleaning products can cut down on your exposure to added toxins. While you’re at it, ditch the air fresheners, too.
Mold, mildew and pet dander can take down even the healthiest respiratory system over time. If you suffer from asthma or seasonal allergies, take extra care of your lungs right now by keeping your home free from aggravating pollutants. If you have indoor plants, check them for signs of mold or insects, which can also be a source of respiratory distress. Investing in a high-quality indoor air filter can also keep allergens at bay.
Now that your air is fresh and clean, it’s the perfect time to practice some relaxing breathing techniques! Find yourself in a comfortable position, and clear your mind with some quick breathwork you can do just about anywhere.
- Resonant breath. Use this breathing technique to refocus and relax. Inhale and exhale through your nose for 5 counts each, pausing at the top of each inhale. The goal is to achieve 5 equal breaths in the span of one minute.
- Cooling breath. Form an O shape with your lips and stick your tongue out just a little, curling the sides up. If you can’t do this, simply purse your lips. Then inhale slowly and deeply through the mouth, as if you’re sipping from a straw. Your breath should feel cool as you breathe in. Then close your mouth and exhale through your nose. Repeat this for a few minutes, until you feel calm.
- 4-7-8 breath: For this technique, it’s best to lie on your back. Start with a few deep breaths, and then begin to count your inhales and exhales: breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 7 counts, and exhale slowly out your mouth for 8 counts. If you can’t reach the full count, use a count that is comfortable for you, and work your way up.