(ARA) - Warm weather brings sunshine, green grass, blooming flowers and time to enjoy the outdoors. However, during summer, many allergy and asthma sufferers minimize outdoor activity and retreat indoors in search of cleaner air. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, approximately 75 percent of all allergy sufferers have indoor or outdoor allergies as their primary allergy.
Indoor air quality is one of the top five environmental issues. It can be anywhere from two to 10 times worse than outdoor air pollution, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). With Americans spending 90 percent of their time indoors, virtually everyone is affected by poor indoor air quality, especially asthmatics and others who are particularly sensitive to allergens and contaminants in the air.
"The indoor air environment in some homes may be detrimental to the health of their occupants," says Penny Gotteir Fena, national director from American Lung Association Health House program. "With an estimated 36 million Americans suffering from allergies or asthma, air pollution in our homes is a real concern."
There are many sources of indoor air pollution in a home. Some of the most common pollutants include secondhand smoke, household pets and combustion byproducts resulting from indoor fuel-burning appliances, such as gas stoves, gas or oil furnaces and non-vented fireplaces.
"Indoor air quality is becoming increasingly important to the average homeowner," says Eileen Youds, vice president of Honeywell's N.A. Homes business. "Fortunately, there are many tips and products to help reduce air pollutants significantly. Managing your air quality starts in the home."
The EPA recommends three basic strategies to improve indoor air quality: source control, ventilation improvements and air cleaners. Source control is a way to eliminate individual sources of pollution or reduce their emissions. Ventilation improvements involve increasing the amount of outdoor air coming in. Air cleaners collect pollutants from indoor air.
One example of an effective air cleaner is a whole-house filtration system, which can trap and filter up to 98 percent of pollutants that pass through heating and cooling systems, including dust, smoke, smog, mold and dander.
The American Lung Association Health House program and Honeywell recommend the following steps to reduce exposure to home pollutants and improve indoor air:
* Do not smoke inside your home, or allow others to do so.
* Keep the humidity levels in your home at 50 percent or below to inhibit the growth of dust mites.
* Test your home for radon, a colorless, odorless gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer.
* Keep dust to a minimum by dusting and mopping regularly.
* If someone in your home has pet allergies, keep pets outdoors.
* When remodeling or redecorating, avoid composite materials that can be found in cabinets and countertops. Select paints and other furnishings that are low VOC emitters.
* Consider a whole-house filtration system to remove airborne irritants. Courtesy of ARA Content