Yes, we are hearing more coughing and sneezing than ever before because the quality of our air is quickly declining. More people than ever are suffering from major respiratory issues. It’s not our imagination. Our world has changed.
This trend promises to continue as the world population increases. The U.S. population grew from 132 million in 1940 to approximately 330 million in 2017. The global carbon emissions from fossil fuels also increased 90% since 1970, which increased carbon dioxide levels by approximately 60%.
It’s a vicious cycle because pollen levels also increase as a result of increased carbon dioxide levels. That’s bad news for those with respiratory issues who suffer from pollen allergies.
Let’s add in the problem of 80,000 or so chemicals that have been invented since World War II. Those chemicals off-gas something called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that damage our lungs. Examples of off-gassing are newly laid carpet or freshly painted rooms. Any chemical that has an odor is causing harm. Off-gassing reduces over time, but it’s still there.
According to the World Health Organization, the fourth leading cause of death in the United States is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). It’s the second leading cause of death in China, which indicates the severity of global air quality issues.
Sorry if this article is a little too shocking for some. The reality is we are facing very serious problems and we need to understand our risks.
When people bring us problems it’s great if they also have solutions. The good news is there are great solutions to improve the quality of our air if we take responsibility and make changes. I call those solutions the “perfect air quality system”.
The “perfect air quality system” solutions are:
- An energy recovery ventilation (ERV) unit that brings in outside air and discharges stale indoor air. It tempers the air that is brought in with a heat exchanger.
- An air filtration system that removes at least 95% of air contaminants.
- An energy efficient heat pump that reduces our carbon footprint.
- An air handler (furnace) that is electric or a high efficiency fossil fuel furnace.
- An AirScrubber Plus device to purify the air by adding molecules of oxygen and hydrogen.
- A “smart” thermostat that can be adjusted manually or by an iPhone.
- A humidifier controlled by a “smart” thermostat to outside temperatures.
Is the “perfect air quality system” cheap? A better question may be, “what is our health worth?” The answer should be, “we can’t put a price on our health.” The “perfect air quality system” will provide properly filtered clean air at the right humidity level.
Proper humidity levels are one of the bigger challenges in Nebraska because our extremely cold winters naturally lower humidity levels. The ideal humidity that promotes good health is 40% to 60%. The challenge is there will be condensation on windows if humidity levels are above 30% when outdoor temperatures are 20 degrees or lower. A “smart” thermostat will automatically adjust humidity levels to those outdoor temperatures and eliminate condensation.
Although there will not be condensation on the windows, this lower humidity level promotes respiratory issues. That’s another reason why there is more sneezing and coughing this unusually cold winter.
Exposure to others increases our risks of colds and flu. That innocent sneeze nearby produces up to 40,000 virus droplets that propel out at speeds of greater than 200 miles per hour. When a virus droplet lands on steel or plastic it can survive for days. Just opening a door or walking across the floor can cause the virus droplets to become airborne again and circulate in the airflow. An air scrubber utilizing NASA technology can kill virus droplets and reduce risks.
The future of world health will rely more every day on air quality technology and improving our environment. Only you can make a difference in your air quality by being proactive and making necessary changes. We are a product of how we live our lives.
The best heating and cooling system will reduce the risks of getting colds or flu but can never completely prevent them. When I get sick it’s time for Grandma Zohner’s cures that were passed on to Mom. Mom’s chicken soup was great. She made me stay home from school to keep from spreading my illness. More people need to do that! It was also time for plenty of rest to support my immune system. Thanks, Mom!