May is both Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month and Clean Air Month, and if you are one of the millions of Americans who suffers from asthma or allergies, you are well aware of the connection between these conditions and the air you breathe. While there is no cure for asthma or allergies, Clean Air Month is a great opportunity help improve the quality of the air around you, which may help bring some relief for those affected by these common conditions. Here are a few easy steps you can take to clear the air:
- Understand air quality. The first step toward making a difference is understanding your starting point. The American Lung Association recently released its State of the Air report and has created a tool to help you learn more about the quality of the air in your area.
- Reconsider your commute. If you have the option, walking, biking or taking public transit when you travel to and from work or around your area can reduce the number of cars on the road and minimize the fumes being released into the atmosphere.
- Bring the outdoors in. Depending on what triggers your allergies, adding some plants to your home can help purify the air and remove toxins, improving the quality of the air you’re breathing. If the air quality in your area is acceptable, it may also help to open the windows to improve circulation and help minimize your reliance on air conditioning.
- Check your cleaning supplies. While it may sound counterintuitive, chemicals in some of the products used to clean your home or office may actually exacerbate your asthma or allergy symptoms. As part of its Safer Choice program, the Environmental Protection Agency offers a guide to help find products that are safer for both people and the environment.
- Avoid tobacco smoke. Even if you are not a smoker, being around secondhand or even thirdhand smoke can trigger both asthma and allergies and contribute to other health concerns. Try to maintain a smoke-free environment in your home and encourage your employer to adopt a tobacco-free policy to help improve air quality and protect those who may be at highest risk from exposure to smoke.
Taking small steps to improve the quality of the air around you can not only positively impact the environment but can also help relieve symptoms for the millions of people who are affected by asthma and allergies.
How Health Advocate Can Help
If you are a Health Advocate member who suffers from asthma or allergies, your Personal Health Advocate can help you locate and schedule an appointment with a specialist near you to help you find ways to relieve your symptoms.
Other Helpful Resources
To learn more about air quality and its impact on asthma and allergies, please visit any of the websites below for additional information: