April 28 through May 2 is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Air Quality Awareness Week. The EPA has identified indoor air quality as one of the top five growing concerns of today and has designated this week as a time to focus on how we can combat the effects of poor air quality in general. The good news is that you can have a positive impact on the quality of the air in your home or business simply and relatively inexpensively by adding an air filter, UV light or cleaner to your heating, ventilation and cooling system. The average American now spends up to 90% of their lives indoors. Investing in a quality air purification system for your home is step number one towards protecting you and your family from paoor air quality.
Here are just a few ways that you can help improve the quality of the air that you breathe when venturing into the great outdoors. You may even want to print the list and celebrate with your family daily.
Monday: Everyone Contributes. Do Your Part to Reduce Your Affect on Air Pollution. Spend today thinking about and planning alternative modes of transportation for the week. Spring is a great time to dust off your bike or walk somewhere you would normally drive. If you must drive, consider the following ways to cut down on the amount of time your car is running. Something as simple as skipping the drive-thru and going inside a restaurant to order your food or pick up prescriptions will cut down on the exhaust emissions you create. Even gassing up your car after dark helps reduce the effect that hot temperatures and gasoline fumes have on creating ground-level ozone.
Tuesday: Consider Your Age. Poor Air Quality is Detrimental for Everyone, not just the very young and the elderly. Active adults who spend a lot of time outdoors, people who suffer from asthma or cardiovascular disease, children and teenagers whose lungs are still developing and even the middle aged whose risk for cardiovascular and lung diseases is increasing, are all susceptible to the adverse effects of air pollution. Avoid increasing your risk by staying aware of the Air Quality Index (AQI) before you participate in outdoor activities. To find your AQI visit http://www.airnow.gov/.
Wednesday: Don’t Wait to Start Taking Care of Your Heart. Most people don’t consider the impact that air quality can have on their hearts. Air pollution is actually one of the risk factors that have been linked to cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes. Keep an eye on the Air Quality Index as you go about your daily activities in addition to taking care of your heart with a healthy diet, exercise, and by not smoking.
Thursday: Utilize the Air Quality Index to plan your activities outdoors. As the weather heats up, many people begin spending more time outdoors. Look up the AQI for your area that day and adjust the level of your activity accordingly. For example, if the forecast for your area is a Code Orange or above, you would benefit from shortening the time you spend outdoors, or lowering the intensity of your activity. You can still spend time outdoors, but you may want to walk instead of run.
Friday: Don’t Forget About Air Quality When You Travel. We often think to check the weather forecast when we are preparing to travel, but have you thought to check the quality of the air? Air Quality can vary widely, even across counties. You can easily compare air quality between areas and you can also sign up for free EnviroFlash email notifications, or by downloading the Air Now application for iPhones and Android phones. Visit http://www.airnow.gov/ to do so.
Take time this week to be mindful of the quality of the air around you. Do what you can to combat your affect on air pollution, take precautions when spending time outdoors and control what you can. Contact a licensed HVAC professional today to discuss options for improving the air quality in your home.