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May is Clean Air Month

May 15th, 2012 Healthy Living

Did you know that May is Clean Air Month? It's true! What better time to educate yourself on how to improve the air quality both in and out of your home? There are a number of small changes you can make that will wind up having a large impact on your surrounding environment. If you're not sure where to begin, here are some tips to help get started.

1. In the home. Air quality may be felt no more acutely than in your own home. If you aren't diligent about keeping it fresh and crisp, your house can start to feel stuffy and uncomfortable. Luckily, you can make things better just by opening a window. It won't remedy all of your air quality woes, but having a steady current of fresh air blowing into your home is a great way to start. If you feel that your home is too dry or damp, picking up a humidifier or dehumidifier could be in order.

Of course, you should also be diligent about keeping a clean house! Vacuuming all of your carpets and rugs at least once a week can remove allergens from your home, and staying on top of dusting can have a dramatic impact on the air quality as well.

2. In the yard. If you've had guests over for barbecues recently, you may have run into a few potential problems throughout the course of the evening. You're sending a lot of smoke into the air and sprays like insect repellent can irritate people's noses. Even the presence of mosquitoes could be considered an air quality issue.

Luckily, most of these problems are fairly easily fixed. If you're planning on grilling a lot of meat and veggies, make sure your guests can sit and talk far away so that they aren't in the middle of a cloud of smoke. Tiki torches or high-strength bug sprays can be placed on the periphery of the party, eliminating the need to cover yourselves in a film of sour-smelling liquid.

If you're planning to throw a bonfire, you may be able to find special logs that are specifically designed to reduce the amount of smoke that they emitted. This could be a great way to keep the party going well into the night without the discomfort that comes from too much smoke in the air.

3. Beyond the home. Air quality issues outside of the home are easier to deal with, and while you may not be able to solve the world's problems on your own, there are definitely plenty of things you can do to make things a little bit easier. For instance, if you're a smoker, try to take your breaks a few yards away from any building's exit to ensure that you aren't accidentally blowing smoke into people's faces.

If you're concerned about the emissions from your car, it may be time to think about purchasing a hybrid the next time you need to upgrade. You could also make an effort to take public transportation more often or ride your bike to and from work. Car emissions are definitely an issue worth thinking about. With these changes, you can bring down your impact on the environment, which has a direct effect on the planet's air quality.

Whether you're thinking locally or globally, there are plenty of things you can do to help yourself and everyone around you breathe easier!