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Why Indoor Air Quality is Vital while Undergoing Chemotherapy

Why Indoor Air Quality is Vital while Undergoing Chemotherapy

Pollution is something most of us associate with traffic, smog, and big cities, yet research by the Environmental Protection Agency has revealed that indoor pollution can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside. It is vital take great care to ensure indoor spaces reduce stress and promote wellbeing, but indoor air quality is also of primary importance. In this post, we discuss the importance of clean air and ways to promote better indoor air quality.

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

Toxic environments are caused by common ‘culprits’ many people are unaware of. These include furniture (which can emit formaldehyde and other chemicals), harsh cleaning products containing bleach and other ingredients, toxic paints, personal care products, moisture (damp and mold), air fresheners, and even paraffin candles, which emit benzene and toluene when burned (both are known carcinogens).

Pressed wood furniture, so common in typical households, contain toxic adhesives. Damp and moisture, meanwhile. can result in environments which are conducive to mold, dust mites, and allergens.

What is the Relationship between Pollution and Cancer

Clean air is vital when battling cancer; one recent study by researchers at the Keck School of Medicine at  USC, found that the median survival of patients with early stage cancers who lived in areas with high levels of pollution, was significantly shorter. The study was based on data obtained from over 350,000 patients, with researchers coming to the conclusion that there is a strong link between pollution and lung cancer incidence.

Why Patients Undergoing Chemotherapy Should Take Extra Care

Indoor air quality is essential for those receiving chemotherapy for various reasons. Firstly, they are likely to remain indoors for longer periods of time as they rest and recover. Secondly, serious systemic infections caused by mold, fine particles, toxic fumes, etc. occur more frequently in those with compromised immune systems. Lungs are often the target organ, thus making inhalation an important source of exposure.

How Hospitals can Help

In health care settings, great importance if given to indoor air quality, since particulates can cause or worsen respiratory conditions and further harm patients’ health. Indoor pollution can also transmit serious infectious diseases, which those receiving chemotherapy and other treatments can be more prone to.

Hospitals use a HEPA filtration system, which is extremely effective at capturing and eliminating airborne contaminants from the indoor environment. Some of the many particles removed by HEPA filters include dust, fibers, viruses, bacteria, mold spores, and other particles which are 0.3 microns or larger.

Ensuring Your Home is Safe

If you are recovering at home, there are many ways you can enjoy optimal indoor air quality. Purchase a standalone HEPA unit, and follow instructions carefully regarding replacement dates. A dirty filter won’t do its job well and may stop working altogether.

Reduce contamination by not burning paraffin candles, cleaning your home with organic, non-toxic products (including essential oil blends) and ensuring your home furniture is made from noble rather than pressed wood if possible.

Reducing indoor toxin levels is vital for all people, but if you are receiving chemotherapy, it is vital to reduce the chances of contracting an infection by purchasing a quality HEPA filter, avoiding toxic cleaning and personal care products, and investing in furnishing that won’t harm your or your family’s health.

By Jane Baker

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