How Indoor Air Quality Affects Your Health?

It’s typical for us to think that pollution outside is the worst air to breathe for our health, but indoor air pollution exists and it’s not any better.

In the past few years, air quality has become a health and safety concern for the majority of us. Especially now that more contaminants and pollutants in the air are rising. It is even more concerning when these breathable harmful particles are found inside our home. Home is our fortress— our safe haven and when we can’t even protect ourselves from sickness and diseases indoors then it is surely threatening and we need to take action. Your kitchen range, fireplace, heater, rugs, walls, furniture, clothing, even the sheets you sleep on, can be significant sources of air pollutants.

Children and elders are the ones that are most likely to stay indoors and they are also the ones that are more prone to accumulating illnesses. Children’s air passages are narrower and they are also more likely to have asthma or other respiratory illnesses, which are triggered by air pollution. For seniors, on the other hand, they tend to have underlying diseases like lung cancer, which puts them at greater risk when inhaling poor indoor air.

This is why having good indoor air quality is necessary for each home. They are plenty of health concerns breathing contaminated air can cause. Some of them are short-term symptoms, chronic diseases, respiratory conditions, or even cancer. The kind of damage it will do to your health will depend on what kind of pollutant you inhaled the most.

Signs and Symptoms of Indoor Air Pollution

Indoor air pollution has been linked to various health problems and most of them are illnesses that are caused by plenty of other factors as well. This makes it harder for people to know immediately that it’s the air that’s causing these problems, and that’s even besides the fact that contaminants in the air are not visible to the eye.

  • Acute headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Dry coughs
  • Nausea
  • Fever and chills
  • Nose, eye, lung, and throat irritations
  • Muscle pain
  • Rapid heartbeat and heart disease
  • Rashes and dermatitis
  • Worsening asthma
  • Depression

Some of these common symptoms are short-term meaning when you move to a place with better air quality, you will eventually feel better. However, some health concerns are more severe than others. Health effects that are long-term might from unresolved breathing of bad air for an excessive amount of time. Poor indoor air quality is not just damaging to the physical body but the mental health as well. Breathing bad air quality may make us irritable and affect the way we think which causes anxiety or depression. Most people who experience this don’t even realize it.

Common Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality

Cooking

When we spend time in the kitchen, we might think that the smell of what we cook is the only thing that is affecting the air that we breathe but it is more than that. When there are not enough cooking vents in a kitchen, it can really damage the air that you breathe by cooking. Gas fires can release indoor air pollutants like carbon monoxide, this is the predominant toxic gas that can be released from gas fires. When inhaled by a person in a dangerous amount, carbon monoxide poisoning can occur which causes several health issues like drowsiness, headaches, brain damage, hallucinations, and even death. If you don’t have cooking vents, consider opening a window while you cook. Whatever you can do to have enough ventilation in your kitchen.

Decorating or Renovation

Most of us like to be creative and customize our home, we do that by painting the walls or installing rugs, carpets, and furniture. These activities are fun and exciting but we have to be mindful of its effects in our indoor air. Some paints release chemicals a few days after its application, this can be obvious by that distinct smell. Thankfully, some brands are releasing
Versions of paint that are less toxic and use fewer chemicals.

Carpet installation has been recently discovered to be damaging to the air quality as well, a few months after the installation of the carpet the glue used to attach it to the floor releases contaminants to the air making it an indoor air pollutant to your room. Since carpets are usually installed in bedrooms, be mindful of this especially if you are sensitive to breathing chemicals. If you have a new carpet in a room, try to spend less time in that room a few days after the installation and make sure to have enough ventilation in that space.

The use of cleaning products

Most cleaning products and insecticides emit toxins in the air when used. You might want to switch to eco-friendly brands or use natural cleaning products like lemon juice, vinegar, and baking soda. If you use natural products around your home, it will be better for your health because you will avoid having indoor air pollutants eventually.

Ways On How To Fix Indoor Air Quality in Your Home

Ventilate

Perhaps the most important tip in keeping a good indoor air quality. It is important in every home to let the fresh air in and not completely have an airtight house. Airflow will maintain the breathability of your indoor air. Remember to open the windows once in a while. The best way of having ventilation inside your home is through a trickle ventilator. This device filters the outside air, therefore it is free from contaminants before it enters your home.

Clean the AC filters

Almost every air conditioner has an air filter in them. If you don’t clean the air conditioner enough, this might be the cause of health problems. If the air filter is clogged with too much dust and pollutants, it won’t be able to operate as well as it did when you first bought it. Having air conditioners requires maintenance in order to keep its functionality. Therefore if you feel like your home has poor indoor air quality, you might want to check your ACs.

Buy a reliable AIr Purifier

If you are someone who is always busy around the house and have no time to manually maintain your indoor air fresh and clean for your health, you may let an air purifier do it for you. Just remember to determine the dominant air pollutant of your house and where it’s coming from. This will help you know the right kind of air purifier to buy.

Air Pollution Detector

Perhaps you are not completely sold to the idea that your air is contaminated and it might cause you health conditions. In order to be certain, you may purchase an air pollution detector for yourself. This device is intended to provide the user with a cost-efficient means of determining air quality. Most of these devices are designed to have a sensor that focuses on the five components of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index: ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide. It also alerts you of gas leaks and the presence of flammable gas.

Conclusion

The air we breathe plays a major role in our health. If you are someone who spends a lot of your time indoors and you experience health problems, you may want to consider this as one of the possible causes. Because it is important to be certain of what is causing the issue first in order to find the best solution for it. It is necessary for everyone in the household to know that air pollution inside the house is a concern. This will make everyone in your family more mindful of their health and surroundings.

About the Author Stacy

Personally, I have always been fascinated with home items. I’ve learned long ago that when buying these products, there needs to be a balance between functionality and creativity. Otherwise, they get old and boring, and I don’t get to use them as much.

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