Indoor air quality and asthma during COVID-19     

Now that people are spending most of their time indoors with the current COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures, exposure to indoor pollution becomes a major health concern

Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
Representative Image (Photo Courtesy: IANS)
user

IANS

Indoor air pollution is a major global public health problem. According to reports, the concentration of indoor pollutants can be many times higher as compared to outdoor, primarily due to poor ventilation.

Now that people are spending most of their time indoors with the current COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures, exposure to indoor pollution becomes a major health concern, points out Dr Prashant Chhajed, HOD-Respiratory Medicine, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi and Fortis Hospital, Mulund.

What are the causes of Indoor pollution?

Particles >10 em are usually removed at the upper airways, whereas those <10 em may be deposited in the airways and alveoli, informs the expert. Some bio-aerosols of concern in homes are indoor allergens i.e. dust mites, pet allergens, cockroaches, molds. Other common reasons of indoor pollution he underlines:

  • Environmental tobacco smoke
  • Cooking using bio mass fuel
  • Cleaning and renovation activities
  • Unvented gas and Kerosene heaters used indoors
  • Smoke from incense sticks, dhoop, etc.
  • Burning of Camphor and mosquito coils
  • These are of major concern for an asthma patient, as they can aggravate their asthma and lead to flare ups.

Decreasing air pollution at home to reduce the likelihood of Asthma flare ups is easy to achieve. Dr Chhajed recommends few ways to reduce indoor air pollution:

  • Stop smoking
  • Use fragrance-free household products
  • Minimize carpeting in the home
  • Use of an exhaust hood while cooking is a must
  • Keep the windows open and keep the house well ventilated
  • Dehumidifiers and air conditioning may help prevent mold and also help to reduce dust mites, which don't survive at humidity levels below 35%
  • Air purifiers or filters may help to take care of the pet dander that is light-weight and floats in air
  • Vacuum cleaning carpets and upholstery regularly can also help to reduce dust mites and dust particles
  • Washing bedding, cushion covers, blankets regularly helps to keep these allergens under control
  • Avoid burning incense sticks and dhoop at home

For all the latest India News, Follow India Section.