The air you breathe: keeping the air in your home safe

Dry, itchy skin is just one of the problems that dry air can cause. When the air is dry, your respiratory system can suffer as well. Your nasal passages can dry out all the way down to your lungs, leading to a dry mouth and coughing, even if you have no medical problems. If you do have any lung issues, dry air can make them worse. You can raise the moisture level of the air in your home by using a humidifier. A humidifier can help relieve:
• Asthma and allergy flare-ups
• Chronic runny nose
• Dry throat
• Hay fever symptoms
• Nose bleeds
• Sinus congestion
• Cough and flu symptoms

Types of Humidifiers

There are a number of different types of portable humidifiers that provide excellent options that allow you to adjust the humidity in specific rooms where you spend a lot of time, such as bedrooms or a home office.

Cool mist evaporators utilize a wicking filter system to draw water out of the reservoir. A small fan pulls dry air from the room through the saturated wicking filter. Moisture from the filter evaporates and is pushed back into the room by the fan.

Warm-mist humidifiers produce a steam vapour that is up to 95% bacteria-free. This vapour mixes with dry air in a cooling chamber and releases soothing, warm moisture into the room.

Getting the most benefit

In order to get the most benefit from your humidifier, it is important to keep it clean and make sure it is in proper working order:
• Change the water regularly. Bacteria and mould can grow in standing water. And wash any buckets or filter systems every two or three days.
• Follow the manufacturer’s directions about how often to change the filter.
• Check your home’s humidity level every few days to ensure that the air isn’t too humid. Health Canada recommends, the humidity level in your home should be no lower than 30% in the winter and maximum 55% in the summer.

Air purifiers

A humidifier is an excellent option for keeping the humidity in your home at a healthy level, but it may not be all you need to make the air in your home safe. Lack of ventilation indoors can trap pollutants such as dust and pollen. In fact, the air in most homes contains more pollution than the air outside. Air purifiers can help reduce:
• Allergens such as dust, pollen and pet odours
• Asthma triggers including dry skin cells, dirt, perfumes, household cleaners, and smoke from cooking
• Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide
• Fumes and pollutants that come in from outdoors
• Tobacco smoke that can trigger health problems such as heart disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, and ear infections

Air purifiers are an excellent way to reduce allergens, such as dust, pollen and even pet odours, if you’re a pet owner.

There are different types of air purifiers to help capture indoor pollutants:
• True HEPA Air Cleaners are recommended for people suffering from allergy and asthma symptoms. These devices help reduce up to 99.9% of certain airborne viruses and bacteria. Certified Hepa air filters capture up to 99.97% of airborne allergens.
• HEPA-type & ifD® models are recommended for or those who want fresher, cleaner air in their homes. These units capture up to 99.9% of harmful particles and germs.

Air is something no one can live without, so it makes sense to do whatever you can to make the air in your home healthy and safe. London Drugs carries a number of humidifiers and vapourizers that will help provide relief for congestion and ease breathing. If you are unsure of which appliance will best suit your needs, our team of pharmacists will be happy to help you.

5 Ways to Improve the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

How clean is the air in your home?

We don’t always think about the air we breathe indoors, but we should. In fact, NASA has proved the air inside can be 30 times more toxic than the air outside. There are lots of possible air pollutants on any given day — lingering particles from cooking, dust from heating vents and fireplaces, cigarette smoke, perfume or cosmetic residue, and even just good old fashioned regular dirt and exhaust from leaving windows open in summer. It’s enough to send anyone’s allergies and sensitivities into a sneezing fit.

We’ve collected five easy things you can do to keep on top of these allergens and pollutants to improve the air quality in your home.

Now that’s a breath of fresh air!

5 Ways to Improve the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

1. Air purifiers

Air purifiers are an easy way to clean the air in your home for even the busiest families. Once you choose a model that fits your aesthetic, lifestyle, and price range, place the unit in the room you spend most time in. Then simply turn it on and walk away!

Pro tip: Replace the filter more often than 6 months when the air quality is particularly bad. For example, during forest-fire season you should replace it more regularly. Monitor and replace as necessary.

2. House plants

If you’re looking to not only detox the air indoors but beautify your space too, bring the outside, in! In the same study NASA completed about indoor air quality, it also revealed many house plants that scrub and purify indoor air of common pollutants. Each one has different light and water requirements, so pick a few that will do well in your own home, and go green for cleaner air!

Some recommended house plants include:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • Dracaena
  • English Ivy
  • Ficus
  • Flamingo Lily
  • Many palm varieties including Areca, Bamboo, Dwarf Date, and Raphis
  • Peace Lily
  • Snake Plant
  • Spider Plant

5 Ways to Improve the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

3. (De) Humidifiers

Depending on the humidity level in your home, (de) humidifiers can be useful tools!

Keep in mind if too much moisture is released into the air it can stir up dust mites and create mould, making the air quality worse and thereby causing allergic reactions. If it’s too dry, viruses and airborne toxins thrive. So choosing a humidifier or dehumidifier depends on your unique air quality.

Whether you choose to add moisture to the air or remove it, Health Canada recommends keeping your home’s humidity level between 30 and 50 percent. This will also make the air feel warmer during winter months, helping you use less energy to heat your home.

And of course, be sure to clean your unit regularly to ensure it works effectively and safely.

5 Ways to Improve the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

4. Clean

When it comes to indoor air quality, preventing the build-up of toxins can easily be remedied with some good old fashioned elbow grease. That is, cleaning.

With our busy schedules it can be difficult to find time to clean every surface in our homes, but dividing up the house-cleaning schedule among family members can make the weekly chore list easier and faster.

In terms of avoiding air pollutants, there are some spaces in your home that can have a bigger impact on your air quality than others:

  • The air conditioning unit
  • Dryer lint traps
  • Clothes and bed sheets
  • Flat surfaces

By wiping these down with your trusty cleaning supplies, you’ll remove dust mites, dust build-up, and all kinds of pollens that blow in from outside. And be sure to use eco-friendly cleaning products! You’ll not only avoid harsh chemicals, which are common indoor air pollutants, but they’re easier on our systems, our homes, and our planet.

Pro tip: Keep areas cleaner and minimize build-up by removing your shoes at the door so you don’t track in what your soles have brought inside. And if you smoke, go outside and close the door behind you.

5 Ways to Improve the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

5. Aromatherapy and salt lamps

Finally, science has shown aromatherapy and salt lamps can help eradicate airborne bacteria, fungi, and according to some, the flu virus. This is especially true of eucalyptus, citrus, clove, lavender, and tea tree oils.

Simply add the recommended amount to your diffuser, turn it on, and ultrasonic diffusion will disperse essential oils. Within 30-60 minutes you’ll have cleaner indoor air!

Plus, by using aromatherapy and salt lamps, you get the added benefit of not just beautiful smelling air (bye-bye unwanted odours,) but essential oils can help relax your mind and body as well. It’s a win win win!

5 Ways to Improve the Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

If you need help or advice on how to purify the air in your home, we can help! Stop by your local London Drugs and talk to our in-store experts – we’d love to see you!