Health Impacts of Poor Indoor Air Quality

When people strive to live healthier lives, they usually change behavior to eat better and exercise regularly. However, they might be overlooking an issue with the indoor air quality of their homes. Poor air quality can have several negative short-term and long-term effects on health.

Short-term health impacts of poor air quality

A wide variety of different factors, such as dust, pet dander, mold, smoke, or even chemicals from cleaning supplies, can cause poor indoor air quality. If you enter an area with poor indoor air quality, you may begin to experience symptoms that resemble those of a cold. For example, you may experience headache, fatigue, dizziness, sneezing, congestion, and irritated eyes, nose, and throat. After leaving the area, you’ll probably start to feel better, and the irritation will go away. Although such symptoms may be temporary, you shouldn’t ignore them. If you spend large amounts of time inside, you may suffer these symptoms for long durations if you don’t try to improve the air quality of your home, such as improving ventilation, replacing air conditioning filters, vacuuming and sweeping regularly, dusting regularly, and using natural cleaning products.

Long-term health impacts of poor air quality

Not all air pollutants display immediate noticeable symptoms in people who are exposed to them. In some cases, the negative health impacts of poor indoor air quality don’t emerge for an extended period. Examples of severe long-term health effects that can occur as a result of exposure to poor indoor air quality include lung disease, difficult or painful breathing, heart disease, cancer, or even death. In addition, prolonged exposure to air contaminants could also lead to sick building syndrome, a condition that involves feeling unwell without the presence of an identifiable illness. Symptoms can include chronic headache, eye, nose, and throat irritation, fatigue, and dizziness and nausea. Sick Building Syndrome may be caused by issues with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, including dust, mold, excessive humidity, or excessive dry air. High-rise buildings often have increasingly uncomfortable and symptom-causing dryer air at each elevation to higher floors. Other causes of Sick Building Syndrome have been connected to contaminants produced by outgassing of some types of building materials, volatile organic compounds (VOC), molds on walls or inside walls, improper exhaust ventilation of ozone (byproduct of some office machinery), indoor use of light industrial chemicals and cleaning chemicals, or lack of adequate fresh-air intake/air filtration. Some of these issues could affect home offices as well, especially when people work many hours at their own homes while self-employed or telecommuting.

Due to the many negative short- and long-term effects of poor indoor air quality, finding ways to improve your home’s indoor air quality is important. Examples of some of the most effective methods to achieve good indoor air quality are improving your home’s ventilation, vacuuming and sweeping regularly, dusting regularly, inspecting for mold with any necessary eradication, using natural cleaning products, and using a ductless Air Conditioner Heat Pump system.

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