Breathing is an essential life function that most people do not think about, and many take it for granted. It is estimated that the average person takes between 17,000 and 30,000 breaths per day, depending on their level of activity. However, if an individual’s lungs become compromised, infected or diseased, each breath can cause discomfort and pain. There are countless factors that can contribute to lung illnesses such as COPD, emphysema, and asthma. All of these can be expensive illnesses to treat since Medicare Part B pays for only 80% of treatments like oxygen.
Many of these complicating factors may be found in your own home. To keep yourself and your family safe from lung damage, here are a few changes you can make to ensure your home is safe.
Cleaning or Upgrading Air Filtration Systems
If you have ever owned a vacuum cleaner, you know that the bags and filters become clogged with dust after prolonged usage. Air filtration systems in homes and vehicles work the same way. If the filters are never changed or are not cleaned frequently enough, they begin to lose effectiveness. This can in some cases lose their ability to filter air altogether. If your whole-home purifiers, bathroom fans, and single room filtration systems are outdated, broken or simply too far gone to clean, it may be time to look into new technologies to purify the air in your home.
Installing a HVAC Unit at Home
One of the quickest ways to heat homes is via forced air heating, which pushes heat up from a home’s basement or crawl space. However, this once-popular heating method is a nightmare for those with allergies and neat freaks alike. Forced air heating systems push dust and pollen upward along with hot air into every room of your home, which can cause seasonal allergies to run rampant in your family all year long. If you are debating upgrading your home’s heating system, check out a list of pros and cons to make sure you know all the facts beforehand.
Keep in mind that upgrading to an environment and wallet friendly HVAC (Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning) system can be costly up front. However, this will save your family money on air conditioning costs during the warm months, on heating costs during the colder months, and will keep the air in your home cleaner than radiant or forced air heat does.
Updating Your Home’s Insulation
If your home was built before 1970, there is a high likelihood that its insulation contains asbestos. While this fiber was once commonly used for insulation, heat protection, flame resistance, and even in cleaning products, it has since been phased out most places since it is the only known cause of mesothelioma. When asbestos fibers are disturbed, which happens during home construction, earthquakes, electrical upgrades and even when making plumbing fixes, the fibers become airborne and may be ingested or inhaled by you and your family.
The particles manifest in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart, where they will eventually lead to an incurable cancer known as mesothelioma. (The costs for treating cancer while on Medicare can be staggering if you don’t have Medicare supplemental coverage.) The only acknowledged way to prevent mesothelioma is to limit or eliminate exposure to asbestos. If you are concerned that your home may have asbestos insulation, it may be time to upgrade to the modern, safer and more efficient spray foam insulation.
Keeping Out Mold
Mold forms in warm, humid environments when the spores have a “food source,” usually being wood or drywall. This makes homes in damp, humid, temperate climates especially susceptible to mold infestations. Wooden and older homes are also at an increased risk for mold, which is toxic when inhaled. Symptoms usually mimic those of a sinus infection, but can cause irreparable damage to lungs and other vital organs. To keep mold from making you ill, install fans in every room of your home that is exposed to moisture, namely: kitchens, bathrooms, basements, pantries and laundry rooms, and dry any area that is exposed to moisture thoroughly and immediately.
Staying on top of these items could end up saving you thousands in unnecessary Medicare Part D drug costs. Plan ahead and protect your air quality!
Lung Cancer Awareness Month runs every November as a time to raise awareness around the importance of healthy lungs and proper cancer screenings and treatments. Familiarize yourself with common air quality concerns and take this month to consult your doctor about any potential threats to your lung health.