Spring is the worst season of all if you’re allergic to pollen. You know that, no matter what you do, you have a full season of sneezing, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, and sinus inflammation ahead of you. Antihistamine medications can provide a source of relief, but ultimately, those may not be enough. Allergic rhinitis, commonly called hay fever, is an airborne pain in the neck. But don’t let it fool you. Despite its bad rep, hay fever is the least of your worries when it comes to airborne health hazards. Pollen might be the least of the airborne risks you face everyday!
Airborne risks you need to be aware of in your everyday life
1. Stagnant water
April showers are a common occurrence in the northern hemisphere. Unfortunately, if you’ve failed to keep up with your house maintenance duties, your outside drains (and even floor drain in the basement) might be clogged with dirt and dried leaves, which keeps the water from draining. If a puddle of water forms and stays, it can turn into stagnant water, which is a favorable habitat for bacterial growth.
Stagnant water can release harmful particles in the air, leading to respiratory discomfort and even lung diseases, even if you never come in contact with the water itself. In short, make sure that rainwater can drain from the gutter safely.
2. Your old chimney
Everybody loves a cozy fireplace, especially in early spring when the temperatures can drop abruptly. But did you know that your fireplace can also hold airborne risks? Indeed, a damaged or clogged chimney can result in incomplete combustion. Unfortunately, the results could be devastating, since this incomplete combustion releases a deadly gas; carbon monoxide.
Since it’s invisible, you may not notice it until it’s too late. Ultimately, you should plan yearly maintenance checks on your chimney by hiring a sweeping team who can also spot early issues and do the fireplace repair for you. You can’t afford to keep an unmaintained fireplace at home. Be sure you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home too.
3. Clogged A/C filters
If you find yourself struggling with itchy skin or a dry throat at home, it might be an indication that your indoor air is filled with airborne risks to your health. If you live in town, you’re probably used to keep your windows shut during rush hours. But have you ever considered that your A/C unit could be the cause of your issues? Indeed, dirty air conditioners can release contaminants inside of your home instead of securing them in the filter. Make sure you are changing your filters regularly.
4. Living in a busy town
Last, but not least, urban pollution is not a myth. If you live in a busy city, you’re exposed to high doses of fine particulate matter and black carbon. A study published in Environmental Pollution find that air pollution can affect children’s cognitive development. Exposure to a high concentrate of pollutants reduces the growth of working memory by up to 4.6%. The effects have not been monitored in adults yet, but you can expect they won’t be positive either.
Air pollutants and other airborne particles can be invisible to the naked eye. But they are everywhere around you, at home and in town. Keeping your family safe is a matter of understanding the potential airborne risks of all the things you can’t see. Tricky? Yes. But it’s vital too.