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Monday, February 12, 2007

3 Easy Steps to Avoid Respiratory Infections in Diabetes due to Poor Indoor Air Quality


No one wants respiratory infections, even if they do not have diabetes, but since blood glucose tends to rise when one is ill, people with diabetes need to take additional precautions to stay as free as possible from polluted air.

Allergens and pathogens may lurk in heated and air-conditioned spaces, whether at home or in an office. This is also the case with crowded public spaces, included those in aircraft and trains. There may not be much we can do about air quality in areas outside our control, but every effort to keep air clean in homes and work spaces is worthwhile. Here is a check-list of 3 things to integrate with your diabetes management plan:

1. Reduce smoke: cigarettes, pipes and cigars are obvious health hazards even for people who do not use tobacco, so the general trend towards restrictions on smoking in closed air systems deserves every encouragement. However, fire-places and cooking ranges also need attention because they are often considered to be fashionable, though they may contribute to respiratory distress in covert manner.

2. Carpets: they may look and feel good, but can provide shelter for germs and dirt, if not kept scrupulously clean. Things get a lot worse if there are hairy or furry pets around.

3. The HVAC AMC: it is easy to overlook the annual maintenance contract for your heating and air-conditioning system at home. There may be one for your office, but no one to check that it is done right. Do get certified technicians to climb in to ducts and to keep them looking like new from the insides, and have a microbiologist take spore and related counts of the ambient air your loved ones, colleagues, and you breathe everyday.

Frequent coughs and colds are easy to ignore but can wreck diabetes management plans. It pays to make the efforts needed to keep air clean, at least in areas under our control.


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