Health Watch -- It's in the Air: The Indoor Environment

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we'll look at the way the air around you — and some of the things in it — can affect your health. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say the indoor environment has a lot to do with allergy and asthma symptoms. Things like dust, mold, tobacco smoke and cockroaches all can make allergy and asthma symptoms worse for people who are sensitive to them.

Dr. Rebecca Gruchalla, chief allergist at UT Southwestern, says you can do a lot to improve your indoor air. Encase mattresses, box springs and pillows in zippered plastic covers. Remove carpeting, especially in bedrooms. Wash sheets and pillowcases weekly in hot water to kill dust mites. Take out the trash and seal wall cracks to discourage cockroaches.

Next: Looking out for the environment in other places.

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February 2006

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