November 16, 2017
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and if you’re hosting family and other guests at your house for dinner this year, you’ve probably already begun to prepare for such a busy day. Being the host on Thanksgiving is no small task, and although you’ll be working hard to make sure your guests are comfortable--what if you could be unknowingly harming their health?
It all comes down to how you choose to cook Thanksgiving dinner.
Don’t worry! We’re not talking about your recipes--we’re actually talking about your air quality.
Many of us take for granted that the air we’re breathing is healthy, safe, and won’t have much effect on us since it’s not something we can typically see–but this isn’t the case, especially for air that’s indoors. In fact, indoor air can be 5x more polluted than outdoors, which can affect allergies, asthma, productivity, and more–even our quality of sleep.
Our air is filled with a variety of different factors that determine how healthy it is, including its levels of carbon dioxide, humidity, temperature, chemicals, and Fine Dust.
The type of chemicals typically found in your air are called VOCs: volatile organic compounds. “VOC” is an umbrella term used to describe any organic chemical that evaporates easily at room temperature--and this trait is what helps make VOCs very common. You'll find VOCs in the ingredients list in paint, cleaning supplies, common household products, adhesives--even cribs and other furniture. Exposure to VOCs has been known to cause headaches, nausea, trigger skin conditions like eczema, and heighten asthma symptoms.
Another common component of our air are particles known as Fine Dust. Fine Dust, specifically known as PM2.5, is particulate matter that can be found in the air that is incredibly small–a single particle has a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, which means you can easily fit 40 fine dust particles across the width of a single strand of hair. Fine Dust size renders it practically invisible; it can only be detected with an electron microscope. Although it may be small, Fine Dust shouldn’t be underestimated–in fact, its size is what makes it more formidable. Unlike larger (and more visible) dust particles, PM2.5 are able to bypass your nose and throat and be absorbed by your lungs and bloodstream.
So what does your air quality have to do with Thanksgiving? Much more than many of us realize, since one of the most common activities that increase VOCs and Fine Dust in your home is cooking.
Oil and grease from stovetop cooking will evaporate into your air, sometimes turning into smoke that is filled with Fine Dust. If you use a gas stove, carbon monoxide and other harmful VOCs can also leak into your air.
Since you'll most likely be doing more cooking than usual on Thanksgiving, it's very important to be aware of how it might be affecting your guests. Short-term effects of VOC exposure have been known to cause dizziness, coughing and sneezing, headaches, nausea, sinus congestion, and irritated eyes, nose, throat, and skin. On the other hand, exposure to Fine Dust can have detrimental health effects, and has been known to lead to coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, irritation of the eyes/nose/throat, and can trigger asthma, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems.
How can you keep your guests safe and comfortable this Thanksgiving? The answer is simple: with plenty of fresh air!
One of the best ways to ensure your home is healthy for you and your guests is to maintain healthy indoor air quality. Awair tracks toxins and chemicals in your environment and provides you with the insight you need to take control of the air you breathe. To find out how Awair can help you stay healthier during the holidays, follow the link below.
You dedicate so much time to keeping your home clean, but you could be missing a spot — your air. Unfortunately, that can sometimes be one of the dirtiest parts of your home; in fact, our indoor air can be five times more polluted than outside, which can affect allergies, asthma, eczema, sleep quality, and can cause more serious health problems.
In these pandemic-stricken times, it’s paramount to stay healthy as we prepare for the end of the year. Doing so helps ensure that we can enjoy ourselves and see loved ones safely. One way to stay healthy during the holiday season has always been to ensure your indoor air, whether at home, school, or work, is optimized for health. Now, with the persistence of COVID-19 restrictions, monitoring your indoor environment is even more critical, as is following safety protocols from your local and state governments.
Are you one of those people that can’t stand being in cold weather? Or maybe you find it difficult to focus and be productive if your home or office is too hot. Whatever your preferences may be, your response to certain temperatures actually goes beyond wanting to be comfortable.