WTF Fun Fact 13239 – Indoor Air is More Polluted

More and more people are worried about air quality. But hiding indoors doesn’t appear to be an option for some people if their indoor air is more polluted. And that appears to be the case for a lot of people.

How can you know if your indoor air is more polluted than outdoors?

You can typically get readings for outdoor air quality with the weather report these days. Air pollution can come from natural sources like pollen or unnatural sources like factories, cars, and other machinery.

Testing your indoor air is another matter. But there are a few ways to get a clue about your indoor air quality. For example, if you experience frequent allergies or asthma indoors, you may have compromised air quality. If you can see or smell mold, mildew, or chemicals from cleaning supplies, your air is compromised.

If you walk into your home and experience irritation of the nose, eyes, or throat, experience skin rashes even when staying home for extended periods, or tend to experience dry skin, unexplained coughing, fatigue, dizziness, or headaches, it may be time to check your indoor air quality. (Of course, these can be symptoms of other issues as well.)

Sources of “bad air”

Indoor air pollution can come from some unlikely places. Obviously, bad air can seep into your home from outside or be tracked in on your clothing, hands, or shoes.

Other sources of indoor air pollution are:

  • Consumer products (like TVs, furniture, or things made of plastic) that tend to emit the chemicals Polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) or Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB).
  • Wood cleaners or sealants and mattresses that contain polyurethane.
  • Carpeting, plywood, and upholstery that can emit formaldehyde.
  • Cigarette smoke.
  • Mold and mildew growing in damp areas of your home.
  • Scent diffusers and candles.
  • Pesticide residue or pollen from your shoes.
  • Dust mites and roach droppings.
  • Fireplaces that emit combustion byproducts such as carbon monoxide.
  • Pets (And there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic, dander-free pet!)

The list goes on, but these are major sources that can sometimes be remediated with air purifiers. If your house has poor ventilation, you may feel the effects of indoor air pollutants more acutely.

Getting rid of your floors and furniture certainly isn’t an option for most people. However, you can prohibit smoking indoors and cut down on your use of chemical cleaners. This is especially important if someone in your home has asthma or allergies.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Indoor Air Quality” — Environmental Protection Agency

WTF Fun Fact 13177 – Nostrils Take Turns

Did you know your nostrils take turns breathing in air? Well, at least they take turns breathing in the most air, meaning one always takes in a bit more than the other. This also helps explain why nostrils tend to trade off on getting stuffy as well.

How we breathe

According to Dr. Michael Benninger, a head-and-neck doctor at the Cleveland Clinic via Live Science (cited below), “At any given time, people do about 75% of their breathing from one nostril and 25% from the other, said The dominant nostril switches throughout the day. This is called the nasal cycle.”

We even have preferred nostrils. Some of us tend to take in more air through the right and others through the left (this corresponds to your dominant hand). But for the most part, our nostrils trade off about 2 hours.

Why do nostrils take turns?

We typically don’t notice one nostril being stronger than the other during the day. We also don’t really notice the trade-off unless we’re stuffy. But, in general, the nasal cycle continues throughout the day, even at our healthier, with one nostril becoming slightly more congested (and therefore taking in less air) than the other.

Why does this occur? No one knows for sure. However, Benninger told Live Science there’s one popular theory: “Some people have speculated that it has to do with allowing moisture to build up on one side so that it doesn’t get too dry.”

You may notice your nasal cycle more when you sleep, especially if you’re a side sleeper. When sleeping on your side, gravity will cause the lower nostril to become less congested. But this plays into the nasal cycle as well. If it’s your right nostril’s “turn” to be less congested, laying on your right side will simply even things out. But if you lay on the side of your more congested nostril, you may experience extra congestion.

Things aren’t quite the same when you have a cold that stuffs up both nostrils. In that case, your nasal cycle will have little influence over congestion.  WTF fun facts

Source: “Why don’t we breathe equally out of both nostrils?” — Live Science