5 household factors that may cause lung damage

The lungs are the central part of the respiratory system. Located in the chest or the thoracic cavity, they make oxygen available to the body and release carbon dioxide. For overall health, good lung function is vital. However, several daily household factors can contribute to lung damage. While some risk factors may be unavoidable, basic knowledge and prevention of these threats can help reduce the risk of lung diseases and promote better health.

Mold
Mold is a type of fungus that reproduces using spores. It releases spores into the air, which can cause severe lung damage for those with mold allergies, COPD, and a weak immune system. People sensitive to mold must fix leaks around their homes and avoid the buildup of leaves and compost piles to discourage mold growth.

Carpet
The little crevices in carpet fabric can trap mold, cockroach droppings, dust mites, and toxic gasses, making them a health hazard. If possible, switch to wood, marble, or tile floors. Alternatively, opt for rugs that can be cleaned outside the home. Vacuum the carpet three times a week, and have it steam cleaned annually.

Gas appliances
Gas appliances such as cooktops, space heaters, and ovens could also contribute to lung damage, as when gas, wood, oil, coal, and kerosene burn, they release nitrous oxide. This can lead to lung inflammation, coughing, wheezing, and asthma attacks in closed spaces. Cleaning and maintaining these appliances properly and using an exhaust fan conscientiously can help reduce the risk of lung damage. Switching to an electric fireplace or using a gas insert may promote better lung health.

Humidifier
Humidifiers are meant to help you breathe easier. However, they can also be a cause of lung damage. The humid environment within the machine promotes fungal growth. Breathing this air in can lead to allergies and inflammation of the lungs. To avoid this, regularly clean and service the humidifier and heating and cooling systems around the home.

Candles
Most candles are made from petroleum-based paraffin wax. When these burn, they release several chemicals into the air. Breathing these in can increase the risk of lung inflammation, allergies, asthma, or even cancer. Instead of these, switch to soy or beeswax candles, and burn them in areas of proper ventilation only.