The pollution inside our homes has a far greater effect on our health than the pollution outside. Here are a few tips to make your home healthy and safe for you.
Indoor pollution is hazardous because the pollutants are originating inside our homes, and they get trapped inside with no way to escape. Cigarette smoking; household cleaning products; emissions from a range of products in our houses such as the chemical colours covering our walls; mosquito repellents and burning of fuels like wood, kerosene, coal, etc., lead to indoor pollution.
Globally around three million people cook using inefficient fuels such as on open fires and stoves, and around four million die prematurely from illness attributable to in-house air pollution. Women and children are more affected because they spend more time at home. The use of biomass as a cooking fuel was found to be significantly associated with a high prevalence of active tuberculosis. Due to indoor air pollution in India, about two million premature deaths take place every year. Out of them 44% are due to pneumonia, 54% are due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and 2% because of lung cancer.
Indoor air pollution
Pollutants trapped inside our houses, reduce the oxygen inside homes, leading to respiratory tract infections, asthma, and pneumonia. Prolonged exposure to indoor pollution may also affect endocrine system, and cause issues including diabetes and blood pressure, decreased fertility, a suspected risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy and underweight babies. Air pollution is one of the important risk factors for eye problems like cataract. We cannot really avoid the pollutants but we can surely take care of ourselves while at home. Keeping our windows open throughout the day and avoiding the use of room fresheners are some of the solutions.
We can also complement our health with few homoeopathic medicines. Homoeopathic medicines like Pothos, Silicea, Acid-flour and Grindelia help to cure cough and aggravated asthma. Antim-Ars, Lobelia, Kali-bichrom help in the cases of COPD. For emphysema Antim-Ars and Kali-bi for bronchiectasis are the homoeopathic medicines. In cases like palpitation and high blood pressure medicines like Viscum Album and Lachesis help.
In our houses we use mosquito coils, perfumes and insect repellents. However, the fumes and chemicals can cause aggravated breathlessness, wheezing and cough. A 39-year-old lady suffered from bronchial asthma and was extremely weak as she could barely walk and communicate. Her exacerbation was due to spraying of insect repellent at her home. She was prescribed the homoeopathic medicines that complemented her regular medicines. Her wheeze drastically reduced within two hours of consuming the medicines, when observed at my clinic for a day. At the end of the day, her symptoms were much under control, when she was discharged for home.
Primarily due to impermeability, durability, lightweight and cost effectiveness plastic is the choicest material of the current times – from packaging to storage, from cooking in the microwave to stirring hot and cold food. It has rapidly replaced metal, wooden and earthen items in our homes. However, it has long ago started entering our food as well. Its consumption can cause cancers and endocrine system disruptions.
BPA (bisphenol A) found in plastics affects the thyroid hormone causing ‘hypothyroidism’. In females it leads to early puberty and altered hormone levels, while among males, decreased fertility and aggressive behaviour are the more commonly observed symptoms. ‘Phthalates’ found in toys, baby-care products and cosmetics may cause endocrine disruption. Children between the ages of 6-11 years when exposed to Phthalates show decreased sperm count and motility at later stages in life.
All the hypothyroidism patients are advised to avoid the use of plastic, especially while storing warm food. Reduction in the usage of plastic can help maintain normal thyroid hormone levels. If we supplement this with medicines like Bromium, Lapis Alba, and Calc-carb hypothyroidism can be taken care of. Other medicines are Iodum, Argentum Nit and Aur Met. These medicines are prescribed only on the basis of reports and cases. Hormonal imbalance in females leading to delayed or irregular menses is on an increasing rate. Homoeopathic medicines like Jonosia Asoka, Senecio are useful in hormonal imbalance cases and to restore the menstrual cycle.
Indoor chemical pollution
Chemical fumes emitted by paints and cosmetics is one of the primary causes of indoor chemical pollution. Simply coming in contact with these chemicals or inhaling these fumes, leads to health issues like eye irritation, dermatitis, skin rashes and respiratory tract infections. From skin complaints, eye complaints to rise in alopecia and hair fall, everything can be treated with the help of homoeopathy.
When such chemicals come in contact with the skin, chemicals burn, rawness and scaling of wounds are the usual issues. For these, Causticum, Cantharis, and Sol are used. In case of dermatitis, petroleum and Sulphur can be used. Chemical fumes and vapours lead to eye irritation and redness. This can be cured by Euphrasia, Arg-nit, Merc and Rhus tox. Homoeopathic medicines like Phosphoric Acid, Phosphorus and Wiesbaden are useful for hair fall cases which cannot be attributed to nutritional or emotional causes.
A 17-year-old girl visited my clinic with complaints of rash around her eyes with redness and watery eyes. This was due to the recent bleaching done on her face. I then prescribed suitable eye drops and other medicines. After a follow up of one week, her symptoms were relieved.
Another lady of 37 years complained of her cough and breathlessness. Her history did not reveal asthma or bronchitis. Her cough and breathlessness were because of the recent painting done at her home. The prescribed homoeopathic medicines and a follow up revealed her to be symptom free.
Few alternatives to reduce the effect of pollutants on us:
• Use water-based paints and varnishes in and around homes
• Use of organic fertilisers for home and kitchen gardens.
• Use environmentally friendly, organic cleaning products.
• Use of steel or glass utensils, use of glass utensils for microwave.
• Buy BPA-free plastics, if you must use them at home