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Indoor Air Pollution 

Ways to Prevent Indoor Air Pollution

Most of us can quickly recognize the regular causes of outdoor air pollution. But what about inside your home? For some, people indoor air pollution such as pet dander and dust also can cause breathing problems and allergic reactions. Gary Erwin, M.D., a pulmonologist on the medical staff of Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, offers a few tips for minimizing indoor air pollution. 

  • Wash the curtains. “Some people might not think of things like bedding or curtains as culprits, but they can harbor allergens,” Dr. Erwin says.
  • Have your ducts cleaned. Because you can’t see your home’s air conditioning ducts, he adds, you might not realize they’re dirty. But dirt and dust can collect in the ducts, and then come through the vents into your home. Be sure to clean air-conditioning window units as well, Dr. Erwin adds.
  • Vacuum frequently. Dust and dirt from your carpet can find their way into the air. Running the vacuum can help alleviate it.
  • Give Fido a bath. “If you have an indoor pet,” Dr. Erwin says, “you’re going to have pet dander inside.” But give your pet a regular rinse, and you’ll be ahead of the game. And don’t think it’s just dogs, he adds. Birds such as parrots and parakeets are offenders as well.
  • Store chemicals properly. “Chemicals should be stored in a cool, safe environment,” Dr. Erwin says, “to help prevent toxic gases from accidentally leaking out.”
  • Check your home and appliances. “Humidifiers need to be cleaned and sterilized,” Dr. Erwin notes. “They can become contaminated with bacteria or fungus.”
  • Likewise, he adds, indoor hot tubs can harbor a microbacterium as a result of inadequate ventilation. So, make sure you clean and sterilize indoor hot tubs. And check for gas or water pipe leaks, which can be harmful to the air in your home.
  • Get a carbon monoxide monitor. “This is a precaution that people can — and probably should — take,” he says.  

Trouble breathing? If making these adjustments in your home doesn’t help, you may need a referral to a pulmonologist. Learn more about how Baylor Plano’s experts can help you breathe easier.