Health Matters

Indoor Air Quality: Why Does it Matter?

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) is air quality within a building. Several factors can affect IAQ. These include biological contaminants, the activities of people within a building, and the number of pollutants present in the air. Poor indoor air quality can negatively affect people’s health, especially older adults, children, and households of lower socioeconomic status.

Sources of Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution can be caused by a variety of sources. These include coal, oil, kerosene, wood, and tobacco combustion. It can also be caused by improperly vented appliances and building materials. These pollutants remain in the air for a long time and can build up to unhealthy levels. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent indoor air pollution by designing buildings to minimize the amount of outdoor air leakage. 

Tobacco smoke is a significant source of indoor air pollution. Tobacco smoke releases many chemicals into the air that remains in the environment for many hours after release. Exposure to these substances can result in many harmful effects, including heart disease, lung cancer, eye irritation, and even asthma. Even children can be exposed to high levels of indoor air pollution. Studies show that exposures to these pollutants are exceptionally high in inner cities and near industrial sources.

Some symptoms of indoor air pollution can be hard to detect. They may be similar to those of a cold or viral illness, making it difficult to determine what may be the cause. Therefore, if you notice any of these symptoms, you must talk to a physician or a health department. You may also wish to consult a board-certified allergist or an occupational medicine specialist to do a mold inspection portland if you are nearby.

Almost every room in the house is a potential source of indoor air pollution. Many of these rooms have poor ventilation systems that do not provide adequate outdoor air. This leads to higher concentrations of indoor air pollution, which can cause illnesses like asthma and hay fever.

Symptoms of Poor Indoor Air Quality

There are numerous ways that poor indoor air quality can harm your health. It may aggravate illnesses, including lung cancer and cystic fibrosis. It may result in weariness, coughing, shortness of breath, and dizziness. It can also damage the tissue in your body and even lead to death. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce or eliminate these problems.

People with allergies may be susceptible to airborne particles. They may experience rashes and itchy skin. They may also experience headaches and congestion. Poor air quality can also cause colds and flu. If you tend to experience these symptoms, cleaning up the air in your home is essential.

If you think your house has poor indoor air quality, clean it regularly. Replacing air filters regularly and cleaning debris will help reduce the number of airborne particles. Another way to improve air quality is to install an air purifier. These units can remove airborne pollutants and reduce the risk of illness.

It might be challenging to recognize health issues caused by poor indoor air quality. However, if you suspect your home has poor indoor air quality, you should consult with your doctor or a board-certified allergist or occupational medicine specialist.

Cost of Solutions

Increasing the amount of outdoor air entering your home is a great way to lower indoor air pollutants. Heating and cooling systems do not automatically bring fresh air into your home. Still, you can increase the amount of outdoor ventilation by opening windows and doors, using attic or window fans, and running window air conditioners with the vent control open. You can also install a local bathroom or kitchen exhaust fan, which removes contaminants directly from the room.

Despite the high initial investment, this method can dramatically improve your air quality. It can inactivate airborne pathogens and viruses and is especially effective in high-risk environments. However, it is not without limitations, and most UV systems are costly to install. Additionally, some air disinfection systems are a scam, so be wary.

Indoor air pollution can be a significant health risk, especially during the stifling summer months. It is estimated that the air inside your home can be up to two or five times more polluted than the air outside. To make matters worse, indoor air pollution can make you feel tired, dizzy, or have other respiratory problems.

Suppose you are concerned about indoor air quality. Indoor air pollution can occur anytime, and human activity is a significant source. Various warning signs indicate indoor air quality problems may exist, including moist condensation on windows, smelly air, and dirty central heating and air conditioning equipment. In that case, you must consult with a health care professional, the health department, or an occupational medicine expert to determine whether you may be exposed to hazardous airborne pollutants.


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