Have you ever found it hard to breathe in the comfort of your own home? Even if you’re able to get all the air you need, you may feel like the air is stuffy, or find yourself breathing harder than you should. This could be attributable to poor indoor air quality (IAQ) or a number of personal health issues; in any case, there are several steps you can take to improve your breathing.
Identify Sources of Pollution
First, identify any sources of pollution that may be compromising your ability to breathe normally. For example, is someone sauteing onions in the kitchen and filling the house with fumes? Are you cutting wood in the basement and kicking up sawdust spewing into the air? If this is the case, your breathing problems may disappear the moment these activities cease.
If there’s nothing identifiable, you’ll need to move on to the next step.
Use an Air Purifier
Buying an air purifier could be one of the smartest purchasing decisions you make this year. Air purifiers rely on high-quality filters that trap and remove particles from the air, circulating more clean air into your indoor environment. Dust, dirt, dander, and other irritants may be removed from your indoor space entirely, depending on the MERV rating of the filter you’re using, the current quality of your air, and other factors. With the help of an appropriately sized air purifier, your living space should benefit from significantly cleaner air.
Open the Windows
If you’re still struggling to breathe correctly or if you haven’t purchased an air purifier, open the windows. Sometimes, even a small amount of fresh air is all it takes to make your home feel fresher and cleaner. This will help to ventilate the home, remove pollutants and irritants from circulation, and give you a greater feeling of wellbeing.
Invest in a Humidifier
If you live in a dry environment, or if you feel like the air is particularly stuffy, consider investing in a humidifier. Humidifiers vaporize water, distributing it into the air. If you get an appropriately sized and rated humidifier, you can increase the humidity in your living space and (hopefully) start breathing easier. This is also useful if you’re congested from a cold or similar illness.
Sometimes, homes suffer from poor IAQ simply because they aren’t cleaned often enough. You may wipe down the counters on a daily basis, but are you vacuuming your carpets regularly? Are you sweeping the hardwood floors? If you have pets or dust allergies, this is especially important. Cleaning on a regular basis will reduce the amount of pet fur, dander, dust, and other particles in the air, improving your air quality and ideally helping you breathe easier.
While you’re at it, make sure you get to all the nooks and crannies of your home. Hard-to-reach spots, like the areas behind refrigerators and other appliances, are often neglected for long periods of time.
Check Your Cleaning Products
Cleaning is a good thing, but some types of cleaning products may actually make matters worse for you. If you’re using aerosolized sprays or harsh chemical cleaners, you may end up suffering from even worse breathing problems. Instead, rely on simple and natural cleaning products; for example, you can make your own cleaning materials out of household ingredients like baking soda and vinegar, or rely on fragrance-free mild soaps to do the majority of your cleaning.
Get Your Air Ducts Cleaned
Homeowners should have their air ducts cleaned at least once every few years. Ducts stem from your HVAC system and are distributed throughout the house, circulating air to every room. If they end up full of dust, dirt, and other debris, they’ll be circulating those materials into the air, making it harder for you to breathe. If you haven’t cleaned the ducts in a while, hire a professional to tackle the job for you.
Use a Nasal Spray
You can also try using a nasal spray to help you breathe easier if you’re still having issues after taking these other steps. Just be sure to read the label; some nasal sprays discourage regular use to avoid dependency issues.
Talk to a Doctor
If you’re still having breathing issues after trying all the above tactics, it may not be a problem with your home itself – it may be a health concern. If you have a chronic breathing condition, investing in an air purifier and a humidifier will only help you so much.
Talk to your doctor about your breathing issues and the steps you’ve taken to try and correct them. They may have further advice for how to address this problem so you can finally breathe easier.