According to a study conducted by analysts at Children's Hospital of Michigan (Detroit, USA) - which observed more than 25,000 asthma-related clinic visits - even a 10 per cent incr ease in humidity can cause one extra emergency visit at the clinic, and a 10-degr ee ascent in temperature could bring about two extra asthma visits. These findings help explain why asthmatics in the UAE often suffer during the extreme summer time. Humidity over the coming weeks is expected t o touch 80 per cent in the countr y’s coastal areas, even as the hazy conditions ar e set to continue.
Atmospheric moistness levels of over 60 per cent offer the perfect breeding ground for mould and dust mites. Air pollution also increases with a rise in humidity, and ozone molecules, with their detrimental effect on lower lung function, are a particular concern.
Especially in public spaces like offices, malls and schools it is challenging to maintain the indoor air quality. Not only can air-conditioning units harbour up to 1,000 dust mites and 2,50,000 allergenic dust mite faecal pellets, triggering respiratory allergies, but indoor air is up to five times more polluted than outdoor air, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Most people around the world spend 90 per cent of their time indoors and must therefore remain alert to the quality of the air they are breathing. Indoor air pollution is caused by everyday activities such as cooking, use of cleaning and hair products and air fresheners. In addition, outdoor air enters homes and workplaces through ventilation. Exposure to indoor air pollution can lead t o a wide range of diseases including acute and chronic respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia, lung cancer, ischemic heart disease, stroke and cataract. Polluted indoor air can also trigger asthma and allergies.
Besides seeking medical advice, a number of precautionary measures can help improve indoor air quality. These include:
1. Open the window – your indoor air is on average five times more polluted than the outside air.
2. Vacuum frequently and regularly furnishings and other textiles.
3. Reduce or remove carpets, which trap unhealthy particles such as dirt, fungi and dust mites.
4. Avoid unnecessary chemicals – use natural cleaning products instead.
5. Cut down on the use of per fume and hair spray.
6. Invest in plants – according to NASA, English ivy and Peace lily best eliminate indoor pollutants.
7. Put a certified asthma-approved air purifier in the rooms.