Did you know that indoor air quality is considered to be in the top 5 environmental risks to public health? One of the many risks we face on a daily basis that can be avoided is poor indoor air quality. The health effects of indoor and outdoor air pollution are often underestimated by people.
To live, we must breathe. Therefore, our indoor air that we breathe even more frequently must be of high quality in order for us to survive. While we have limited control over the quality of air outdoors, we have more control over the air inside our homes. In order to ensure the health and safety of your family, it is crucial to measure and regulate the indoor air quality of your home. To learn more about the ways poor indoor air quality can affect our health, read on.
Here are 5 ways poor air quality can affect your health:
- Recurring Common Cold Symptoms
- Long Term Asthma Symptoms
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Risk of Lung Cancer
- Long Term Cardiovascular Damage
Recurring Common Cold Symptoms
The effects of poor indoor air quality can often lead to various health issues. Most commonly, as a result of poor indoor air quality, you and your loved ones may begin to experience symptoms similar to those of the common cold or flu. Some of these short term and easily treatable symptoms may include itchy eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, dizziness, and fatigue.
When homes lack adequate air circulation, contaminants such as dust, pollen, bacteria, viruses, and mites thrive and spread rapidly. Recurring common cold symptoms are often caused by single or multiple exposures to certain airborne pollutants. Additionally, humid air can enhance the survival rate of pollutants in an indoor environment.
Long Term Asthma Symptoms
If any of your family members are suffering from asthma, poor indoor air quality may be to blame. If you begin to notice symptoms such as wheezing, breathing difficulty, coughing, and chest tightness, it may be time to assess your indoor air quality and get treated for asthma.
Symptoms of asthma may worsen and result in an asthma attack, which may require hospitalization or missed work or school. Inhaling polluted indoor air can cause asthma symptoms to develop almost immediately. Airborne particles, ozone, and endotoxins can trigger asthma by irritating your airways and lungs.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
A common long-term condition that can result from inhaling indoor air pollutants is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The symptoms of this lung disease are similar to asthma and can include the following:
- shortness of breath
- chest tightness
- chronic coughing
- respiratory infections
- unintended weight loss
- swelling legs & feet
Symptoms of COPD can vary from person to person. A COPD patient with asthma usually suffers from higher sensitivity to polluted indoor air. Pollen, pet dander, mites, combustible pollutants, asbestos, radon, and secondhand smoke are some of the indoor pollutants that can worsen COPD.
Risk of Lung Cancer
A prolonged exposure to poor indoor air quality can increase the risk of developing lung cancer. It is likely that complex combinations of pollutants contribute to the development of this cancer. Among these can often include volatile organic compounds, combustibles, and even secondhand smoke. However, Radon is often considered to be one of the top leading causes of lung cancer. As a radioactive gas produced in the soil, this contaminant can enter your living space through openings and cracks in walls and floors due to poor insulation techniques.
Long Term Cardiovascular Damage
Indoor air pollution can not only damage your respiratory system, but also negatively impact your cardiovascular system. As a result of dust, soot, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide in your indoor air, your risk of cardiovascular disease increases. These air pollutants can restrict blood vessel movement, cause blood clots, and interfere with your heart’s electrical function, increasing your risk of developing heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
In addition to keeping your living space comfortable, your HVAC system also improves the air quality in your home. Ideally, it should be properly maintained so that it can filter air coming in from outside, maintain a consistent temperature, and reduce humidity. A regular maintenance schedule is extremely important for your HVAC unit.
Old or poorly installed insulation can also release flame retardants and chemicals containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). It is essential to replace the insulation in a home if you are looking to improve its indoor air quality. Throughout the years, technology has advanced tremendously, and a professional insulation company will be able to understand the effects of chemicals and adhere to the new standards, properly protecting your home and the people inside.
Cumberland Mechanical is a family-owned business and is proud to be serving the Middle Tennessee Community. Our team of leaders have over 30 years of experience in the HVAC industry. Let us help you solve your indoor air quality issues.