Home air quality is impacting our health
A survey of over 2,000 Australians shows humid conditions, poor ventilation and a lack of awareness on how to improve air quality at home is impacting the immune systems of millions of Australians, with research commissioned by Daikin Australia finding 52 per cent of Australians have experienced health concerns such as respiratory problems, asthma, allergy symptoms, poor sleep and headaches due to poor air quality at home. According to the findings of the Daikin Australia ‘Understanding indoor air quality in Australian homes’ research, 84 per cent of Australians hold some level of concern about indoor air quality, with COVID-19 contributing to 40 per cent of Australian adults changing the way they think, and manage, air quality in their home to keep the family healthy.
In the cooler months, the risk of poor-quality air in our homes increases. Mould growth, dust mites, poor air circulation, pets spending more time indoors and even the type of heating used in the home all contribute to higher levels of pollution and allergens indoors.
According to Professor van Nunen, while the symptoms of poor air quality in the home can seem mild, the cumulative effect of wheezing and nasal blockage results in poor sleep which can increase the likelihood of catching any respiratory virus, which, in turn, worsen any rhinitis or asthma. It also reduces the ability to perform tasks safely, including driving.
“The key to better air quality in the home for winter is to manage humidity and ensure any ventilation is helping to improve the quality of the air you breathe, not hindering it,” she says.
“Humidity encourages mould growth and allows pests like dust mites to thrive. It’s important to choose heating systems that regulate the temperature and reduce the amount of moisture in the air to make your home healthier this winter,” says Professor van Nunen. Here are her 5 tips to stay warm and healthy this winter:
Be mindful of moisture and humidity in the home as it can encourage mould and dust mites
If you have an air conditioning system, it can assist with this. According to Daikin’s research, only 14 per cent of Australians use the dry and fan settings of their air conditioning system. If the humidity is over 70 per cent, use the dry setting of your air-conditioning system to remove moisture from the air, help stop mould from forming and kill dust mites and other allergens.
Listen to your body and act
Sneezing, runny nose, nasal blockage and wheezing are all signs of allergies that can impact your respiratory health over time.