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Is the air making you sick?

SparkPeopleHello from Sparkguy

Hi SparkFriends

This isn't a fun topic, but it's an important one as we all work to stay healthy. We all know that air pollution isn't good for our lungs. But, there is interesting research coming out that shows the effects of air pollution might go far beyond your lungs to include additional diseases like:
  • Heart disease
  • Nervous system conditions
  • Low birthweight for infants
  • Type 2 diabetes
This is according to a recent policy statement by the American Thoracic Society, an organization made up of 15,000 physicians, research scientists and health care providers.

In addition to outdoor air pollution, many experts talk about how the air inside your home can be just as bad as the air outdoors!

Since I grew up with a smoking parent, lived in a moldy house at one point, and have allergies, I pay a good deal of attention to this issue. Now I also live in an area that was recently rated the 6th-worst air pollution in the US.

As a result, one thing I'd highly recommend all SparkPeople members do on a regular basis is change your furnace filters. Because of our family allergies plus the high-level of outdoor air pollution, I change our filters every 2 months. This is an aggressive schedule. A normal schedule would be every 3-6 months. Another smart habit is to just check your filter every 4 weeks or so to see how often it takes the filter to get dirty. In addition to filtering out allergens and pollution, a clean filter will also prevent potentially costly repair issues for your furnace.

Dirty filters can even be dangerous. The over-heating of a furnace from a clogged filter can lead to cracking of the heat exchanger according to one expert. Cracks in the heat exchanger could allow dangerous carbon monoxide gas into the living space of the house.

Don't let your furnace filter look like this one! I have seen many furnace filters that look exactly like this including at homes of family members when I have them check.

I like sharing this simple task with you because it's a good example of the SparkPeople program in action. By that I mean that this is a good health topic, but it's also a great personal leadership topic as well. That's because it is easy to take leadership on this health issue by creating a calendar reminder to check or change your furncace filters. This can be one part of your overall organizational system.

When you do this combination (health and fitness plus personal leadership) in enough areas of life, it can have a significant impact on your health. As another crisscross effect, this also lowers your stress levels when you have one less thing to worry about.

Let me know on this blog if you will check and/or change your filters regularly after learning about this! I also include links to some articles including ways you can reduce indoor air pollution.

SparkCheers and breathe well!

Chris "SparkGuy" Downie


Chris (SparkGuy)

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