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How Important Is Indoor Air to Health?

You already know how polluted outdoor air can make you sick. But if you think that indoor air can’t affect your health, think again. Believe it or not, indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air. Owing to the fact we spend about 90 percent of our time indoors, it’s crucial for you to pay great attention to your home’s air quality. Making sure that you’re getting clean air in your home is crucial for ensuring your best health at home, which is why you might want to take a look at the Best Duct Cleaning Companies if you’re concerned about the cleanliness of your air. Read on to learn more about the connection between indoor air quality and your long-term health.

What’s the Importance of Indoor Air Quality?

Breathing in the quality indoor air is important for good health. Exposure to indoor pollutants can cause immediate symptoms like eye, nose, and throat irritation, headache, dizziness, and fatigue. Exposure to the pollutants for an extended period can bring about serious health conditions such as respiratory problems, heart disease, and cancer.

A troubling fact about poor indoor air quality (IAQ) is that you may never know when you’re at risk. You may fail to experience any clear physical reactions. Alternatively, you may feel sick for no apparent reason, a condition known as sick building syndrome (SBS). In general, the preexisting health issues, age, and individual sensitivity determine how your body reacts to indoor pollutants.

What Causes Poor Air Quality?

Let’s take a look at the major pollutants you may be inhaling along with the air inside your home:

  1. Tobacco smoke: Tobacco smoke comes from smoking cigarettes, pipes, and cigars. Unfortunately, smoking doesn’t only affect the smoker. Second-hand smoke can cause breathing complications and aggravate asthma. For children, it increases their risks of experiencing ear infections and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

  2. Dust: All indoor spaces tend to have a certain amount of dust. However, exposure to too much dust can cause itchy or watery eyes, sneezing, wheezing, coughing, stuffy or runny nose, and shortness of breath.

  3. Radon: While smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer, this radioactive gas is the second leading cause. It can get into your home through holes, cracks, and other improperly sealed openings. Older houses are more likely to have elevated levels of radon than newer ones. Radon poisoning can cause chest pains, wheezing, recurrent coughs, coughing up blood, and difficulty in breathing.

  4. Combustion byproducts: These include pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. They’re produced by burning materials and improperly vented fuel-burning appliances like wood stoves, water heaters, fireplaces, and space heaters. Both nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide are colorless and odorless hence hard to detect. Nitrogen dioxide can cause irritation to the throat, eye, and nose, difficulty in breathing, and increase the risk for respiratory infections. Carbon monoxide can bring about fatigue, headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Extreme amounts can be fatal.

  5. Mold: Standing water, wet surfaces, and water-damaged materials serve as breeding grounds for these biological contaminants. They release toxins that can cause symptoms like coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, lethargy, dizziness, fever, digestive problems, and shortness of breath.

How Can You Improve Indoor Air Quality?

Now that you know some of the common toxic particles that degrade your home’s air quality, the next thing to learn about is the steps you can take to control them and enhance IAQ.

  1. Minimize dust: You can significantly reduce the dust in your home by getting rid of carpets, dusting floors and furniture regularly, removing your shoes at the door, and installing an air purifier.

  2. Control moisture: Insulate pipes and seal your crawlspace and basement to protect your property from water splash damage. You should also clean and disinfect the floor drain of your basement regularly. In case your building materials and carpets suffer water damage, be sure to clean and dry them thoroughly within a day. Even better, replace them to eliminate the risk of biological contaminants which can adversely affect your health. And increasing ventilation or using one of the dehumidifiers to lower humidity in the attic, kitchen, and bathroom will also help create a drier environment making the indoor air more health friendly.

  3. Get houseplants: Potted plants can absorb nitrogen dioxide, dust, and other air pollutants, helping boost your home’s IAQ. Some of the best air-purifying plants include aloe, peace lily, rubber tree, English ivy, bamboo palm, snake plant, spider plant, golden pathos, red-edge dracaena, and philodendron. But that’s just half the story. Houseplants also help reduce background noise, reduce stress, and elicit feelings of happiness and calm, creating a peaceful atmosphere and boosting your mood. If you are thinking about getting house plants to help you with your health (or just in general), then you might be interested in checking out a guide about fiddle fig leaves like this one, just to give you some more knowledge about the plants.

  4. Perform regular maintenance on fuel-burning appliances: Poorly maintained fuel-burning appliances could leak nitrogen dioxide or carbon monoxide. Maintain these appliances according to the manufacturers’ recommendations.

  5. Have your A/C system maintained: Your air conditioning system can also harbor harmful contaminants. Be sure to schedule professional A/C maintenance regularly. It is paramount that you insure your duct is cleaned on a regular basis. It might be wise to click here for more details.

  6. Test for radon: Consider investing in a radon testing kit. It will help you establish if your house has a radon problem.

  7. Ban indoor smoking: Second-hand smoke endangers your health. Ask smokers to always smoke outside.

Now that you know the strategies for improving your home’s air quality commit yourself to implement at least one of them right away. By addressing your indoor air quality, you’ll reduce the risk of your family developing chronic health problems, prevent psychological stress, and reduce healthcare costs in the long term.

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