Having lived as DINKS for the longest time, we didn’t really care about air pollutants. Actually, let me rephrase that, I didn’t bother much because my immune system is far better (thank god!) than my husband, who has suffered from asthma as a child. He is susceptible to dust, smog and can become sick quite often. Still it never bothered us much, we took it in our stride and as we shifted cities, life carried on. It’s not like we didn’t care about the environment, we did follow the general rules to help maintain a clean environment but we didn’t ever go out of our way to make any substantial changes.

This outlook took a complete U-turn when our daughter was born. Suddenly wanting a safer and pollutant free environment for our child became a strong focus. Having lived in Bangalore for the past six years, we have personally experienced the way the climate in the city has changed. In the initial days, it used to remind us of the weather in London – every day the weather would vacillate between being warm, cold with rain interspersed in between. That has changed now. It becomes scorching hot during the day and the warmer months far outnumber the cooler months.

In fact, just recently, I was walking back from the car park with my daughter. She’s independent and insists on doing everything on her own (which is annoying at times!). Normally she carries her own school bag and lunch box. On this day, she simply dropped them in the middle of the walkway and said, ‘ma it’s so hot. Carry my bags. I’m tired. Can we walk in the shade? My brain is hot!’

I laughed out aloud when I heard her but the irony didn’t leave me. It was indeed very hot and we scurried back home so we could switch on the air conditioner (AC). Her need to have the AC on during the day and night does make me worry. Some days I don’t have a choice but try to avoid it as much as I can. ACs don’t generate fresh air and having it on means keeping all openings for natural ventilation closed. While driving too, we have the AC on to keep the dust and noise at bay and there too we continue to breathe in stale air.

Airing the room immediately after waking up in the morning is a habit I picked up from my father who would begin the day (literally) by opening all the doors and windows. My husband too has the same habit having been brought up in his ancestral home which was four stories high and open on all sides. This meant ventilation was natural and practically uninterrupted all year round. During the summer months, I used to follow this religiously but lately as the AC is on during the night, I take my time to air the room. Keeping the house cool ensures everyone is happy instead of becoming cranky due to the heat!

When you think of it, maintaining a healthy lifestyle today is a constant battle. Regular use of ACs dries the skin, transmits infectious respiratory diseases, and airborne dust causes allergic reactions amongst others. Most importantly, it causes heat intolerance. On the other hand, the air pollutants keep circulating within the home environment without any means of escape.

Our cook insists on serving us masala packed food and although he uses the exhaust while cooking, the smell continues to remain in the air for longer than we’d like. Simultaneously it’s easy to ascertain what the neighbors are cooking since their exhausts direct the air into our house (just like we do to them).

Then there is the pile-up of garbage in the house. Segregation of dry and wet waste does have its advantages but it’s challenging when dry waste gets cleared only twice a week. Although wet waste is cleared daily (in the morning), like dry waste, it has to be kept at home. It’s tiresome to keep the kitchen clear of their stale smell.

I love baking and it’s a pleasure to see my daughter digging into all the goodies that I bake for her. Even though I consciously bake with healthier ingredients, the house does smell like a bakery for longer than I would prefer. In addition, we have an open kitchen which makes it imperative that it’s kept odorless.

For the last year and a half, construction work has been happening adjacent to our apartment which in turn makes maintaining a dust free home a near impossibility.

And then there’s Muffin, our two-year-old golden retriever. He’s my daughter’s playmate and wake-up alarm. He constantly sheds hair and dander which must be cleaned daily without fail. He’s totally untrained, loves sitting wherever he likes and bites into all her toys. He goes for walks thrice daily and although we ensure to wash his paws as soon as he returns home, he’s still a dog and smells like one!

When the doctor mentioned that my daughter’s intermittent cold and cough was an allergic reaction, it did make us wonder if it’s because of the dog. But we dismissed it knowing that Muffin was brought home as a pup, has had all his vaccinations and my daughter never displayed any worrisome symptoms before so we concluded it was just a dust allergy.

All these made us wonder if there was any other way (apart from dusting and sweeping) to keep the air in the house clean and fresh. Our sole motivation was to keep our daughter healthy. That’s when we decided to invest in an air purifier. After all, it’s a proven fact that indoor air is ten times more polluted than outside air. And Bangalore and Tumakuru are the two most polluted cities in Karnataka. Air purifiers enhance the air quality at home to give pure and fresh air which is favorable for health and beneficial for individuals (especially children) suffering from allergies and respiratory disorders.

We looked at the various brands available in the market and narrowed down on Eureka Forbes Dr. Aeroguard. Their product range called SCPR [Sense, Clean, Purify, Revitalize] offers purifiers to suit different spaces. Understanding technology better, my husband focused on their German engineering specifications (PM 10, PM 2.5, Air Quality Index [AQI], High-efficiency particulate arrestance [HEPA] filter, Patented ActiveShield ™ Filtration System, clean air delivery rate [CADR], Dual air flow and Vita-Ion etc.)

For me, aesthetics matter. Keeping just the bare essential furniture at home is important to me especially because we relocate so often. Dr. Aeroguard’s size, portability and design aesthetics matched mine and I knew that it would blend in very well with our décor.

I did worry for a brief moment though if this was our attempt to create a sanitized environment for our child. I feared that her immunity would get effected considering we still lived in a world that went beyond the safety of the home. But then I realized that the summer vacations were just around the corner and she would be spending a considerable amount of her time indoors. Enhancing the quality of air at home would mean reducing the constant irritation of her throat and subsequent runny nose.

But I was still toying with the idea when one morning as I walked into the gym I was aghast. The gym extends across two floors. The first floor has all the cardio equipment while the second floor has the high intensity workout equipment and weights. As I entered the second floor I was hit with the stench of sweat, body odor and stale AC air. I found it very difficult to breathe and that quashed all my reservations. I just knew that we had to buy the air purifier immediately. Our home definitely didn’t smell so foul but it did make me understand exactly how bad things could get.

And as parents, the only thing that mattered was for her to #Breathe Life and for us to make her small world a healthier place to live in, grow and flourish.

(The Home Health Guard That Helps You Breathe In Fresh Air was first published in Momspresso on March 21, 2017)