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.
How often are school absences due to asthma? Unfortunately, the answer is: it's very common.
Getting your family ready for the new school year can be bittersweet, and as you drop your child off for their first day of school, it’s easy to feel anxious about whether or not you’ve prepared them for success in the upcoming year. Even if you were able to get them everything on their back-to-school shopping list, you know your child’s ability to learn and grow depends on what happens once they enter the classroom--but what if it turned out their classroom was hindering their productivity and overall health?Unhealthy classrooms are much more common than we realize, and one of the main culprits is hiding in plain sight: the quality of air children are breathing in their classrooms. Many of us take for granted that the air we’re breathing is healthy and safe 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, our ability to concentrate, the quality of our sleep, and more. Particularly “unhealthy” or “bad” air can even cause a variety of health problems, including dry skin and eyes, coughing and sneezing, headaches, hives, and nausea.
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.