Breathing Easy

Okay, I have a question: how important is the air we breathe?

I know, I know – it’s a ridiculous question. Look, I’m no dummy, and I know it’s pretty important that we breathe. But how big of a deal is it if, for instance, my apartment has mold? Is it going to give me serious long-term problems, or am I fine just leaving with the weird smell for a semester and then moving into a new place next year?

We humans don’t fare too well when we can’t breathe. Our breathing can be a sensitive thing: we need to breathe rhythmically and regularly, we need air with the right amount of oxygen, and we need our air clear of contaminants and particles.

That may seem like pretty straightforward stuff, but there’s a lot that can go wrong. Take sleep apnea, for instance, say the technicians behind a respected CPAP cleaner. From cases so mild that they barely cause snoring to cases so severe that they require hospitalization, sleep apnea comes down to our ability to breathe regularly when asleep – which is why a CPAP, or “continuous positive airway pressure,” machine is an effective treatment. And it’s not just sleep apnea: other breathing conditions include asthma, which affects 8% of the population.

Even those of us who are lucky enough to breathe normally can’t always count on the healthiness of the air we actually breathe. Studies have shown that pollution in our cities can really do a number on our lungs and can make us ill in the short- and long-term.

But what can we do about this, short of moving into the woods or walking around all the time with a SCUBA tank on? Simple, says this Cumming, Georgia HVAC company: we need to care for our home’s HVAC systems. Proper air filtering and clean vents can go a long way toward clearing our air.

And, yes, mold can be a serious air quality issue. Most molds aren’t toxic enough to put you in serious immediate danger, but it’s not healthy to weather the semester breathing in mold spores, because mold can cause problems over time and can also exacerbate existing health issues that you or your roommate may have. Mold remediation by experts may be necessary in your case, and it’s certainly the safest solution. Some molds can be taken out with bleach or sprays from the hardware store, though experts caution that you should always use breathing protection and gloves, and that some molds may be too dangerous for you to tackle yourself. It never hurts to do what you did here: ask an expert!

“Let the clean air blow the cobwebs from your body. Air is medicine.” – Lillian Russell

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