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Date Night Ideas: 6 Clean Air Tips for a Healthier Evening

When planning for date night this Valentine’s Day, whether it’s a quiet night in or a romantic adventure out on the town, most people consider only what’s for dinner, which movie is playing, and perhaps what type of valentine gift is most appropriate.

However, the gift of good health is the most romantic one of all, especially considering this is the time of year when the air is still crisp and everyone seems to be getting sick.

Love is in the air! Read on for 6 essential clean air tips that are sure to make any outing healthier, more enjoyable, and ultimately more romantic.

Tip 1. Flowers are great, but choose wisely

It’s the classic date move: you knock on the door and when your date opens it, you’re holding a beautiful bouquet. But those flowers have a drawback for people with allergies, asthma, or multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS): pollen and fragrance.

To avoid triggering allergies or asthma in the person you are giving flowers to, choose options that do not release significant amounts of pollen into the air. There are many flower options that are better for people with these conditions, as they produce less pollen:

Better Choices:

  • begonias
  • daylilies
  • petunias
  • roses
  • tulips

Worse Choices:

  • daisies
  • chrysanthemums
  • sunflowers
  • baby’s breath (single-flower variety)
  • marigolds
  • foxgloves

Those who suffer from MCS often find floral fragrance problematic, causing headaches, fatigue, rashes, and other unpleasant symptoms. Even lightly scented flowers can trigger a reaction. In this case, giving the wrong flowers may not be the best of date night ideas.

All flowers emit a scent – volatile organic compounds or VOCs – to attract birds and insects for pollination. So, when choosing flowers, it’s better to choose less fragrant varieties. There are several flowers that should be either preferred or avoided for people with MCS:

Better choices (less fragrant)

  • tulips
  • dahlias
  • sunflowers
  • hibiscus
  • least fragrant rose varieties (such as cherry parfait)

Worse choices (more fragrant)

  • jasmine
  • gardenias
  • hyacinth
  • lilac
  • baby's breath
  • daisies
  • lilies - Stargazer, Casablanca, and lily of the valley
  • highly fragrant rose varieties (such as amoretto)

And if you are the recipient of flowers and have allergies or suffer from MCS, you can still enjoy them in your home while protecting yourself from negative effects.

Tip 2. Optimize air quality in the car

Car rides to and from date night destinations are great opportunities to chat and get to know each other better, but beware: pollutant levels are often higher inside vehicles, as cars take in emissions from surrounding vehicles and recirculate them.

Pollutant levels are often higher inside vehicles.

Vehicle exhaust is a cocktail of dangerous pollutants, including: nitrogen dioxideozone, and ultrafine particles, which is the most numerous of airborne particles and also the most dangerous to your health. And avoiding pollutants is one of the most important date night ideas.

Solutions

  • Maintain a safe distance from vehicles in front of you, particularly diesel trucks.
  • When you’re in traffic or at a stop sign or light, close your windows, keep some distance from the vehicle in front of you, and put your air on recirculate.
  • Opt for less crowded roads with fewer traffic lights, even if it takes a bit longer. Attempt to avoid rush hour traffic on busy roads or highways during peak hours.
  • Avoid car air fresheners or deodorizers. They are full of harmful VOCs and make your air quality worse – not better.
  • Improve air quality in your car by using a car air purifier with HyperHEPA Plus particle filtration technology to trap ultrafine particles and capture airborne pollutants in your car interior.

Tip 3. Enjoy romantic home-cooked meals together but cook with care

Who doesn't love a romantic dinner for two? It’s one of the classic date night ideas. But be careful - gas stoves can add dangerous pollutants to the air, such as nitrogen dioxide, which can be harmful to inhale (1).

Solutions

  • Use ventilation fans when you cook.
  • If you have a gas oven and stove, use electric cooking appliances such as a small oven or microwave when possible instead
  • Use a personal air purifier when cooking to ensure your personal breathing zone is safe

Tip 4. Avoid burning candles, scented or not

Lighted candles are a common way to enhance an amorous atmosphere, but they can add volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ultrafine particles to your air.

In fact, scented candles, which usually use artificial fragrances and dyes, can emit VOCs even when unlit (2).

Solutions

To fill your house with alluring scents without adding contaminants to the air:

  • Simmer fragrant spices like cinnamon sticks, cloves, and nutmeg in a pot of water
  • Diffuse essential oils (try to avoid fragrance oils that contain artificial ingredients)
  • Place containers of potpourri around your home

 

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Tip 5. Using your fireplace might not be the hottest of date ideas

It’s true, fireplaces create a romantic atmosphere and many people enjoy cuddling up with their partner next to a burning fire.

But fireplaces, even gas-burning models, can significantly increase the number of airborne contaminants in your home.

Firewood smoke in particular has been linked to strokes, heart disease, and lung cancer (3) (4).

And wood-burning fireplaces also create dust and ash that not only make a mess, but they can also irritate airways and provoke asthma and allergy symptoms.

Solutions

The best way to prevent a fireplace from harming your indoor air quality is to not use it. But if that isn’t possible:

For wood-burning fireplaces (5):

 

 

Firewood smoke has been linked to strokes, heart disease, and lung cancer.

Tip 6. Take necessary precautions at large-scale gatherings

Most of us enjoy a night out at the theatre, basking in the rare enjoyment of a truly great performance. When it comes to fun date ideas, going to see a movie or attending a concert is often the norm. However, large-scale events with lots of attendees can be problematic.

During the winter months, it’s possible for multiple illnesses to be prevalent at the same time, such as the flu, Covid-19, and RSV. And with flu and RSV risks colliding with reduced COVID-19 immunization and with many not keeping up on boosters, there is an amplified need to be attentive to prevention strategies.

Not to worry, though, you can still be prepared and stay safe during a big night out in public:

  • Practice social distancing by maintaining six feet or greater distance between yourself and others in public when possible
  • Keep up on vaccinations and stay on top of timely vaccination booster shots
  • Wear a mask; ideally, a K95 / N95 / FFP2 respirator in especially congested public spaces
  • Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth.

The takeaway

At first glance, maintaining good indoor air quality for date nights might not seem like the most tantalizing prospect. But, after using a little extra foresight and putting in some effort, you and your loved one will be in great shape to better enjoy your time together. After all, healthier date night ideas create more enjoyable date nights. And when love is in the air (instead of harmful pollutants), the greatest Valentine’s gifts of all are good health and peace of mind.

The number one air cleaning solution for your home.

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