Beware of Indoor Allergens, Breathe easy this World Asthma Day!

Allergies can be a deterrent in our day to day activities. Most of us who suffered from winter allergies look forward to summers, when the watery eyelids, sniffing, sneezing, swelling of the throat seem to dribble away. But if you think that onset of summer is a respite to allergies, you may have to change your mind. Allergens are still on the rampage and attacking your asthma day

As summer rolls in and the temperature climbs upthe ladder,most children and working professionals prefer to spend their time indoors, nestled within the confines of their homes and offices. More and more people install air conditioners and aircoolers to beat the scorching heat, not knowing that it does more harm than good. On Sundays too, air conditioners keep running all day long, recirculating the same air which contain small particles and pollutants such as molds, smoke, house dust and pet dander. Air conditioners do not filter the air nor purify it. It is true that ACs are technological comforts but it can do little to fight the microorganisms present in the air.

As we spend 90 % of our time indoors during summer, it is essential to examine the air we breathe, and identify sources that cause them.

  • Humidity in homes permit the growth of molds. These microorganism act as irritants in both allergic and non-allergic people
  • Humid conditions foster the growth of dustmites which are usually found in places like mattresses, upholstery, pillows and carpets giving rise to dust allergies. It may cause breathing problems and trigger asthmatic symptoms
  • Constant exposure to air conditioning dries out the mucus membranes, causing sore throat and sneezing, and can lead to upper respiratory tract infections

What precautionary measures can you take?

A few precautionary measures can go a long way in protecting you and your family from allergies andasthmas

  • Firstly, vacuum your home regularly and get it tested by an air quality testing expert to determine the presence of indoor pollutants
  • It’s important to understand that humid or unventilated homes can breed mold and mites
  • Avoid using air fresheners or scented candles in your home as they can trigger allergy symptoms and aggravate existing allergies and worsen asthma
  • Wash all bed linens regularly, using hot water
  • Keep all unrefrigerated food covered; dispose of food waste in a tightly sealed garbage can
  • Consult doctors immediately when experiencing symptoms such as nasal dripping, watery & itchy eyes, constant coughing and circled around the eyes and allergic conjunctivitis
  • Choose an air purifier with ultra-precision purification process that has double the efficiency of purifiers to eliminate sub-micron respirable particles and infection-carrying microbes in the air
  • Regularly change air filters. Preferably switch to a high efficiency particulate air filtration (HEPA) filter
  • Make sure to consider the room size while opting for an air purifier. There are variety of technologically advanced air purifiers available in the market that offer customized solutions. Choose an air purifier with a recommended room size larger than your room dimension
  • Lastly, keeping surroundings clean and clutter freeduring summer

Good Indoor air quality in people’s homes, schools, offices can reduce the negative health effects, reduce the costs associated with illness and improve the quality of one’s life, beginning this World Asthma Day

Dr. Abhay Kumar, Eureka Forbes Institute of Environment

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