Six tips for ensuring a healthy home environment> KET
Kentucky has consistently recorded some of the highest rates of lung disease in the United States, including lung cancer, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and asthma. The Commonwealth ranked seventh among all states in the percentage of adults with asthma in 2018 at 11.5%, according to data from the American Lung Association.
Asthma can be controlled with drugs and bronchodilators, but people can also reduce the risk of an attack by changing their environment, starting at home.
Here are six ways to improve the living space in your home to ensure better air quality and cleaner breathing. These are taken from sources including the Healthy Homes initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.
1. Eliminate smoking at home. More than any other decision, quitting smoking in your living space will immediately improve air quality for all residents. Tell guests to “take it outside” if they absolutely have to smoke during their visit – or better yet, speak to them with respect to end their habit. Access national / local resources here and watch the KET Calling It Quits documentary for more information.
2. Have your home tested for radon. Radon, an odorless gas caused by the natural erosion of uranium in the soil, is a known carcinogen and exists in high levels in Kentucky (check your county map here). It can get into houses through cracks in the foundation and remain due to poor ventilation. Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer death in the United States. Radon test kits are easy to use and can be obtained for free – visit the state’s Radon program website to find out how.
3. Keep your home dry. Mold can trigger attacks in people with asthma and should be removed as soon as it is detected indoors by following tips 4 and 5. People with asthma should stay outside the home until the mold is removed, if possible. Make repairs as soon as mold is found.
4. Make sure your home is well ventilated. Maintain your heating and air conditioning system (change filters regularly) to circulate fresh air, and make sure kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans are running. Keep the vents for appliances such as the dryer clean and accessible to the outdoors.
5. Assemble your own “Green Cleaning Kit”. There are thousands of cleaning products on the market that claim to be the best at removing allergens, mold, and other contaminants. However, many of these cleansers themselves contain chemicals that are triggers for allergies and / or asthma. Fortunately, you can do a deep cleaning job using eco-friendly products, some of which may already be in the closet. Baking soda and water are a safe and effective cleaner for stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, and vinegar is a very versatile ingredient for kitchen and bathroom cleaning jobs, including toilets and windows (mixed with rubbing alcohol). For branded items, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice list which allows you to search through products and also has a filter for fragrance-free options.
6. Balance your needs and those of your pets. First of all, any signs of harmful animals or insects in your home should be dealt with immediately; hire a reputable pest control expert to get them out. Since animal dander is a common asthma trigger, pet owners can make changes to their indoor living conditions to help reduce exposure. Consider keeping your pet outside as much as possible or, if that’s not an option, keep the pet restricted to certain areas of your home (like areas with hardwood floors instead. carpet) and use a HEPA air filter that removes animal dander in them. areas.
In this 2014 video, we follow Ashland-Boyd Co. health workers on an inspection of the healthy homes of the Sanderson family, whose four sons have all been diagnosed with asthma.
This article is taken from a KET initiative funded, in part, by grants from the Healthy Kentucky Foundation and the Kentucky Medical Association thanks to a grant from the Anthem Foundation.