South Africa’s air quality is rated as moderately unsafe by the WHO, with the main contributors to poor air quality including the mining and agricultural industry and coal burning. Seasonal variations in air quality exist, with high levels of air pollution during the dry season (January and February) due to forest and veld fires. The WHO said available data indicates that Hartbeespoort, Johannesburg, Vereeniging, Mpumalanga, and Sebokeng have consistently high levels of air pollution.
While there is no cure for asthma, proper medical assessment, the use of controller and reliever inhalers and some practical actions to reduce allergens and irritants can help asthma sufferers cope with their disease.
Indoor air quality is often worse than outdoor air quality, but here are some tips to improve indoor air quality.
- Ventilation. Breathing in old, stale air in your home exposes you to contamination by infective agents as well as allergens. Natural ventilation is considered an effective measure to prevent infections. To prevent inhaling germs spread in the air, keep the doors and windows open; this will reduce the chances of getting sick.
- Specific allergen reduction. Different allergens need different measures to reduce their levels. For example, house dust mite levels can be reduced by efficient vacuuming of carpets, removal of soft, fluffy items, as well as hot-washing bedding.
- Air Purifiers. These devices can eliminate the microbes and allergens that contribute to asthma and other respiratory complications. The Solenco Air Purifier has a H13 Medical Grade HEPA filter with a built-in capacity to filter over 99.9% of allergens, killing germs and bacteria. The air purifier also has a built-in UV light that collects and kills micro-organisms.
- Let nature help. The American space agency, NASA, found that certain plants are capable of filtering toxins from air. All these plants can be found easily in South Africa and include Aloe Vera, Bamboo Palm, English Ivy, Snake Plant, and the Peace Lily.
“By sharing more educational advice and creating awareness about asthma triggers and the impact of our air quality, we hope to see a meaningful change to South Africa’s frightening mortality rate associated with asthma,” concluded Prof Gray.