Is your home making you sick
Health and safety

Is your home making you sick?

Being aware of sources of indoor air irritants and allergens in the home is an important step in improving air quality. Find out how to keep your home air clean.

Is your home making you sick?

Did you know that the air inside your home can be two to five times worse than outside?

The Environmental Protection Agency released a report that 1,200 premature deaths a year can be attributed to poor air quality – that is over three a day. Considering that most of us spend 90% of our time indoors, these are seriously alarming statistics.

The fact is that poor air quality can put your family’s health at risk, so it’s vital to make sure that your home is well ventilated and free of items that cause pollution. Maintaining good indoor air quality in your home is an important aspect of asthma management and it is possible to eliminate or minimise exposure to common asthma triggers.

8 steps to healthier air at home

Is your home making you sick?

 

1. Do not smoke indoors

Never allow anyone to smoke in your home. There is no safe level of second hand smoke.

2. Ventilate your home

Simply keeping the window open whenever possible can ensure that there is a healthy circulation of air at all times. This will help to reduce humidity, which means less house dust mites and mould spores. Opening your bedroom window for 15 minutes each morning can make a big difference.

3. Get planting

House plants can help to produce cleaner, fresher air for your home.

4. Clean your home regularly

Keeping a clean house is a great way to keep your air clean. Giving the walls a regular wipe down can help to remove mould and invisible particles of dust and dirt. To avoid potentially harmful vapours, purchase nontoxic, nonaerosol, unscented cleaning products. Store household cleaners and chemicals securely in their containers.

5. Wash bed linen and upholstery regularly

Large pieces of fabric hold onto dust mites and other allergens. Drapery, shower curtains, and bedding must all be laundered regularly in a hot wash.

6. Dust with a damp cloth

A damp cloth prevents stirring up dust from one place to another.

7. Use an air purifier

Air filters and purifiers clean the air and can reduce the number of asthma triggers such as pet dander (flakes of skin), mould spores, dust and tobacco smoke particles.

8. Keep your pet groomed 

Bathe and groom your pet regularly, wash his bedding as much as possible in a hot laundry cycle and don’t allow pets into the bedrooms.

Did you know?

Ireland has the 4th highest prevalence of asthma in the world – 7.1% of Irish adults suffer with asthma. One in three people suffer from asthma, allergy and hayfever, and this number is growing.

Is your home making you sick?

“Both my boys have asthma and one suffers from allergies too. Last weekend, I decided enough was enough and finally tackled their bedroom. Their usual room tidying technique involves them stuffing everything under the bed and hiding anything left over in their closet. Among the odd socks, sweet wrappers and broken toys that I found under the bed was a mountain of dust. Once cleaned out and vacuumed, I moved on to the windows. Unfortunately, we don’t have double glazing and the rims were covered with black mould that I hadn’t had the time or energy to properly tackle previously. With the help of my boyfriend we cleaned and bleached each and every window frame in the house. It’s early days, but there has definitely been an improvement in the allergy issues.” – Kate Gunn 

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ASK LOUISE

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….

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ASK LOUISE

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….