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, from dust, to carbon dioxide, to its levels of humidity, to its most underestimated ingredient–chemicals.
The type of chemicals typically found in your air are called VOC’s: 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.
Unfortunately, it’s very easy to accidentally increase the levels of chemicals in the air in our homes–VOCs are virtually everywhere. You’ll find VOCs in the ingredients list in paint, cleaning supplies, common household products, adhesives–even cribs and other furniture. However, one of the most common activities that increase VOCs in your home is cooking.
You can accidentally add VOCs to your air while you cook in a variety of ways. Oil and grease from stovetop cooking will evaporate into your air, sometimes turning to smoke. 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.
How can you keep your guests safe and comfortable this Thanksgiving? The answer is simple: with plenty of fresh air!
Here are a few quick tips to keep your guests safe and healthy:
- Be sure to have plenty of open windows throughout your home to promote a healthy flow of fresh air, which will help clean out any VOCs that may be lingering.
- If the weather won’t let you comfortably have windows open, turning on a few fans (and exhaust fans in your kitchen) will help pull VOCs from the air as well.
One of the best ways to make sure the air in your home is healthy for you and your guests is by understanding what actually is in your air with the help of an indoor air quality monitor, like Awair. Awair tracks toxins and chemicals in your air and provides you with personalized recommendations to help you stay safe and healthy.