Health Gem 9/30/2021
"Don't open that window you'll catch your death of cold!" Or will you? Isn't air essential for human life, to all animal life? In one way or another whether fish, insect or mammal (which we are), all need air.
The Bible tells us that God formed man out of the dust of the earth and that his body was filled with life when God breathed into him.
Genesis 2:7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Air brings life to our bodies and boosts our immune systems. Let's take a look at this information from an article entitled To Air is Human: Why Your Body Needs Oxygen on vitalitymedical.com:
Oxygen fuels our cells and helps provide the basic building blocks that our bodies need to survive. Our cells combine oxygen with nitrogen and hydrogen to produce various proteins that build new cells. When oxygen is combined with carbon and hydrogen, you get carbohydrates that provide energy to our bodies that is necessary for us to do what we live. Oxygen is also necessary for constructing replacement cells for our bodies. Every day, about seven hundred billion cells in our bodies wear out and must be replaced. Without oxygen, our bodies cannot build these new cells.
Oxygen is also a particularly important part of our immune system. It is used to help kill bacteria, and it fuels the cells that make up our body's defenses against viruses and other invaders. Air that has passed through (UV air sanitizers) is particularly good for our body's immune system, as it has been cleansed of bacteria and other agents before it enters our respiratory systems. This makes it easier for the body to access the oxygen and keeps it from receiving a fresh influx of germs and particulate matter that comes in the body through contaminated air that has not been sanitized.
Air is so essential to life but it can be harmful to us. It can make us sick when it is full of pollutants and viruses or bacteria. With all the talk about pollution today, one might think that the best thing for us to do is to stay in doors and keep all our windows and doors closed. But you would be grossly mistaken.
Did you know that you, sitting in your home, could be surrounded by air pollution? The University of Rochester Medical Center posted some very interesting information about "indoor air pollution"!
Are you worried about the air you breathe? Don't think you're safe just because you're inside. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that the air in homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than the outdoor air.
Indoor air pollution can cause big health problems. People who may be exposed to indoor air pollutants for the longest periods are often those most at risk to the effects of indoor air pollution. This includes children, older adults, and people with long-term (chronic) illnesses.
Most indoor air pollution comes from sources that release gases or particles into the air. Things such as building materials and air fresheners give off pollution constantly. Other sources such as tobacco smoke and wood-burning stoves also cause indoor pollution. Some indoor air pollutants have been around for years. But they often were weakened by outdoor air seeping into the home. Today's more energy-efficient homes don't let as much outdoor air get inside.
So how then would we get rid of our indoor air pollution? In order for air to be cleaned of bacteria, viruses and pollutants it must be circulated. What is the best way to achieve good circulation in your home? Open your windows.
Did you know that you might sleep better if you have your windows open year round (unless you suffer from allergies)? "Maybe part of the year but not in the winter, you'll catch your death of cold." you say, but that isn't necessarily the case!
An article on countryliving.com (hmmm, nice name!), presented some good evidence for having your windows open at night:
It might be a little chilly, but opening your window at night could help you get a better night's sleep, so says new research. This is because it allows for a better CO2 balance in the bedroom which, in turn, leads to better sleep quality. And we all know that a good night's sleep has a drastic effect on our mood and motivation the following day.
The study, published in the journal Indoor Air, tracked the sleeping patterns of 17 students. To do so, scientists used motion sensors to monitor movement, measured CO2 levels and asked participants to keep a sleep diary.
The results revealed that those who slept with the window open enjoyed a better quality night's kip and didn't toss and turn so much. The scientists found that, when the door was closed, the average CO2 level was 1,150 parts per million, but with the window open, the average became a much lower 717 parts per million - a better balance. The scientists believe this is because allowing air to circulate prevents a build-up of CO2 which is caused by respiration and poor quality ventilation.
"Lower CO2 levels implied better sleep depth, sleep efficiency, and a lesser number of awakenings," the authors said.
So, next time you're struggling to drift off, throw open the window and breath in some crisp winter air - even if you have to add a blanket on top.
Ok, so are there any other benefits to fresh air? I'm so glad that you asked that question! Here are 5 other health benefits from fresh air shared by a student at Cabrini University:
1. Fresh Air Cleans Out Your Lungs
Breathing in fresh air can replenish your body with positive attributes, while you exhale the processed air. Doing this at the beginning or the end of the day can decompress your body, setting you up for a calmer day or settling the body before bed.
2. Fresh Air Makes You Happy
Stimulating both the physical being and the emotional being, fresh air has the powerful capability to revitalize your emotions, even if you've had a bad day, week, or month. Getting outside and taking deep breaths settles the nervous system and garners peacefulness.
3. Fresh Air Can Create Focus
Around this time of year, it is important to get outside so that you can properly work toward finals. Fresh air will help you focus on your responsibilities and help you ignore distractions. Either taking your studies outdoors or simply taking a long walk before you settle down to do your work will help you zone in on what needs to be completed.
4. Fresh Air Gives You Energy
We thrive off of positive energy sources, and fresh air and sunlight are two of the most important forms of a positive energy source. Fresh air helps you naturally wake up, so starting your morning with a walk can be a great way to start the day if you're trying to stay away from caffeine.
5. You Can't Crash From Fresh Air
Many ways of getting energy leave you exhausted by the end of the day, but fresh air is natural and uplifting. This is one of the major perks of getting outside and breathing fresh air, as it lets your body naturally raise to the energy level it needs to perform throughout the day while also gently relaxing the body at the end of the day to wind down.
Making the effort to get outside every day has made me a more focused and successful student, while it has also improved my every day social lifestyle. If you are going to do anything to better your health and wellbeing, I suggest taking a walk every day. Trust me, the results are incomparable.
And finally in light of the current events happening around the world lets take a look at what the CDC has to say about air and ventilation in their June 2, 2021 update:
SARS-CoV-2 viral particles spread between people more readily indoors than outdoors. Indoors, the concentration of viral particles is often higher than outdoors, where even a light wind can rapidly reduce concentrations. When indoors, ventilation mitigation strategies can help reduce viral particle concentration. The lower the concentration, the less likely viral particles can be inhaled into the lungs (potentially lowering the inhaled dose); contact eyes, nose, and mouth; or fall out of the air to accumulate on surfaces. Protective ventilation practices and interventions can reduce the airborne concentrations and reduce the overall viral dose to occupants.
The following tools identify ways to improve ventilation:
Increase the introduction of outdoor air:
--Open outdoor air dampers beyond minimum settings to reduce or eliminate HVAC air recirculation. In mild weather, this will not affect thermal comfort or humidity. However, this may be difficult to do in cold, hot, or humid weather, and may require consultation with an experienced HVAC professional.
--Open windows and doors, when weather conditions allow, to increase outdoor air flow. Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk (e.g., risk of falling, triggering asthma symptoms) to occupants in the building. Even a slightly open window can introduce beneficial outdoor air.
Use fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows:
--To safely achieve this, fan placement is important and will vary based on room configuration. Avoid placing fans in a way that could potentially cause contaminated air to flow directly from one person to another. One helpful strategy is to use a window fan, placed safely and securely in a window, to exhaust room air to the outdoors. This will help draw outdoor air into the room via other open windows and doors without generating strong room air currents. Similar results can be established in larger facilities using other fan systems, such as gable fans and roof ventilators.
I have to say that I agree with the student from Cabrini University, spending time outdoors in the fresh air that God created for us gives us health benefits that are incomparable. Why? Because we were not created to be inside. God created man and put him in a garden (Genesis 2:8). Being outside in the fresh air is the most natural thing in the world for us.
I was raised in the country and it became apart of me. After I was married I lived in the city for a while, but I was never happy. Now that we are back out in the country going into the city is only something I do of necessity. But I know that there are those who live in the city because of their job. If you live in the city you must for your health and sanity take time to get out in nature. In the book Ministry of Healing I found this wise counsel:
To many of those living in the cities who have not a spot of green grass to set their feet upon, who year after year have looked out upon filthy courts and narrow alleys, brick walls and pavements, and skies clouded with dust and smoke—if these could be taken to some farming district, surrounded with the green fields, the woods and hills and brooks, the clear skies and the fresh, pure air of the country, it would seem almost like heaven. MH 191.1
So go, get out there and enjoy all that fresh air!
And if you can't, open the nearest window and let some fresh air inside. Your body will thank you for it!
**These are beneficial health suggestions. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This is not a substitute for speaking with your health professional.