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.
Given these restrictions and after such a tumultuous year, what better present is there than improved peace of mind? You can give the gift of health and safety tips, and empower the people you care about to understand indoor air quality and how to improve it with Awair Element. This way, your family and friends will be better able to manage indoor air quality and optimize it, whether you are together or apart for this year's holidays.
Health Risks of the Holiday Season
The importance of IAQ extends well beyond the current pandemic. Air quality indoors can often be worse in winter. Research even shows that in some cases indoor air can be 10 times more polluted when the house is closed up in the winter.
In terms of the air we breathe, one of the key health risks of the holiday season is fireplaces. We all like to gather around a roaring fire during the cold weather. But burning firewood produces fine dust (PM2.5) which, when inhaled, causes coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, irritation of the eyes/nose/throat, and respiratory ailments.
Another contributor to the worsening of your indoor air is over-humidifying. To counter the dry, frigid winds of the holiday season, people often turn their humidifiers to max. But the build-up of moisture from this activity can trigger mold growth.
Because of this, winter can be the worst season for people with asthma, especially children. Allergies can also be triggered by a lot of other things: spores from hidden mold clusters, VOCs from scented candles and holiday decorations, and the use of heavy cooking oils.
Home Health Tips for Holiday Season
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, it’s a great time to give the gift of becoming Awair this holiday season and empower others to optimize indoor air. Some of the most handy holiday season health tips are as follows:
- Monitor and manage your indoor air. Install an air quality monitoring tool like Awair Element. With an effective monitor, you can track your levels of particulate matter (PM2.5), chemicals (tVOCs), CO2, humidity, and temperature - all factors impacting your indoor air. Armed with this information, you can take fairly easy actions to improve your indoor air.
- Minimize moisture and stay dry. Run your fans, especially in the bathroom. Keep the floor outside of your shower dry after every use. Fix your leaky faucets. Shovel snow away from the sides of your house.
- Check your Christmas decors for toxic chemicals and ingredients. Your old decorations often collect dust, while new decors can off-gas VOCs as soon as you open them. If possible, air out, and clean your Christmas accoutrements outside the house before you decorate.
- Keep your house’s fragrance natural. Just because your scented candle smells good doesn’t mean it’s not releasing bad chemicals into your air. Scented candles and air fresheners often contain benzene and other dangerous chemicals that can cause eye, throat, and skin irritation. Choose natural fresheners for your home, like scented pine cones, cloves, oranges, and other holiday herbs.
- Check and clean everything. And by that, we mean everything that can impact airflow in your house - from your gutters to your chimneys, to your air ducts and your crawl spaces. Check and replace your furnace filters as needed. The more dust and mold you remove from your house, the better your air will be. Don’t forget to wear a mask and gloves while you clean.
Give the Gift of Peace of Mind this Holiday Season
There’s no need for the standard health risks of the holiday season to compound the existing risks of the pandemic. We all need to be vigilant over the next few weeks and a lot of factors aren't in our control. But your air factors can be. Moreover, there is a sense of hope and empowerment in controlling and improving the things you can, such as your own environment.
When it comes to indoor air, we can give the gift of health this holiday season by doing everything we can to mitigate for bad air quality, indoors and outside. Following these holiday season health tips will help you ensure that your indoor air quality is optimized as you head into 2021.