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The Short- and Long-Term Health Risks of Poor Indoor Air Quality

risks of poor indoor air quality

As researchers learn more about the link between air quality, allergies, and overall health, there has been more of an effort to share this newfound knowledge with the general public. The cleaner you keep your indoor air, the less time and money you will spend treating health issues caused by poor air quality.

In this post, learn about some of the best-known short- and long-term health risks of poor indoor air quality and how you can address them.

Air Quality: Defined

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines air quality as the overall quality of air inside and surrounding any structure. In this definition, the EPA recognizes the unavoidable overlap between indoor air and the transitional air immediately outside a home or workplace.

You may not always be able to control the quality of the transitional air, but you can definitely control the quality of your indoor air, especially in your home.

The Most Common Indoor Air Contaminants

Below is a list of the most common indoor air contaminants:

  • Dust mites

  • Pollen

  • Carbon dioxide

  • Carbon monoxide

  • Mildew and mold

  • Dust

  • Chemical fumes, including smoke and tobacco

  • Pesticides and herbicides

  • Bacteria and viruses

  • Pet dander

Many of these toxins and contaminants are implicated in human allergies, but some are quite literally deadly, especially to very young children and pets. Knowing what toxins and contaminants you are looking for can go a long way towards developing a plan to clean up your indoor air.

Short-Term Health Risks of Poor Indoor Air Quality

In the short term, the effects of breathing in air contaminants or toxins tends to be quick or even immediate. In other words, you may begin to notice symptoms before you even detect any issue with the indoor air quality (if you ever do—some contaminants are silent and odorless).

Here are the most common symptoms of short-term exposure to indoor air toxins:

  • Itchy or watery eyes

  • Itchy or runny nose

  • Sneezing or coughing

  • Irritated or sore throat

  • Dizziness or nausea

  • Headache

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Fatigue

3 Key Pieces of Information You Need

It is critical to remember that not all individuals will respond in exactly the same way when exposed to the same toxins or contaminants. You may have more or less sensitivity to the presence of certain indoor air contaminants than another person in the same space.

  • First, notice what symptoms develop (sneezing? runny nose? headache?).

  • Second, notice when symptoms develop (right away? after 10 minutes? after 30 minutes?).

  • Third, notice where you are when symptoms first develop (in the foyer, in your bedroom, in your boss's office?).

With this information, you can begin to narrow down where the contaminants are most concentrated and also get closer to figuring out what type of contaminants you may be dealing with.

This is also important so you can take action right away and avoid some of the more serious long-term effects of exposure to poor indoor air quality, whether on a one-time or repeated basis.

Long-Term Health Risks of Poor Indoor Air Quality

Long-term health risks from poor indoor air quality are usually more serious, so the best course of action is to become educated and take steps to clean up your indoor air before these can occur.

Some of the most common symptoms that suggest you have been exposed to poor indoor air quality over a longer period of time include:

  • Chronic respiratory issues: This may include more serious allergies, asthma, chronic respiratory failure, chronic sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, chronic shortness of breath, walking pneumonia, sleep apnea.

  • Chronic lung conditions: Lung disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema.

  • Chronic heart conditions: Heart disease.

It is also important to remember that any and all of these conditions can be seriously exacerbated during pregnancy, with risk to both mother and child. At this time, it is not known how frequently or long a person must be exposed to indoor air contaminants for long-term effects to take hold.

7 Steps for Cleaning Up Your Indoor Air

The short- and long-term health risks from poor indoor air quality can be expensive, time-consuming, and uncomfortable to manage. As such, the best approach is to begin cleaning up the indoor air you breathe even before you notice symptoms.

Here are 7 expert-recommended steps for cleaning up your indoor air, starting today:

Step #1: Schedule an indoor air quality assessment.

Step #2: Schedule a duct cleaning service.

Step #3: Install a heavy-duty air filtration system.

Step #4: Begin using U.V. air purifiers.

Step #5: Ensure your indoor air has the proper percentage of humidification.

Step #6: Ensure adequate air circulation and ventilation.

Step #7: Schedule regular mattress cleanings.

By following these 7 steps, you will begin to immediately notice the difference that clean, pure indoor air makes in your health and in the health of your loved ones.

Contact Clean Air Solutions for Assistance

If you need assistance with assessing and purifying your indoor air, Clean Air Solutions is on call for you! We are a family-owned business that has been serving families in the Hamilton and surrounding areas since 1924.

From performing mattress and duct work cleanings to installing heavy-duty filtration and purification systems, we are here to help. You can contact us for a free consultation at 905-544-2470 or on our website at www.cleanairsolutionshamilton.ca.

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