Indoor air pollution in your Atlantic Beach, Florida, home can cause a host of health issues. Some are relatively minor, while others are more severe. Here are six health risks stemming from poor IAQ:
Coughing, Sneezing and Watery Eyes
Coughing, sneezing and watery eyes are among the most common health issues associated with poor IAQ. Since these symptoms are similar to those experienced with common illnesses such as colds and the flu, it’s important to pay attention to them when they occur. If you experience symptom relief upon leaving a particular room or building and symptoms return when you come back, indoor air pollution is likely to blame. Pet dander, dust and pollen are common irritants that cause these types of symptoms. Changing your HVAC system’s air filter regularly, using an air purifier and cleaning can often help.
Indoor air pollution can trigger severe asthma symptoms, and volatile organic compounds are often to blame. VOCs are harmful gases released from many common household items, such as furniture, paint, carpet and cleaning supplies. You can decrease the levels of VOCs in your home by:
- Painting with low-VOC paint.
- Cleaning with natural products like vinegar and essential oils.
- Allowing new furniture to off-gas before bringing it inside.
- Improving your ventilation.
Keep in mind that even people who don’t suffer from asthma will benefit from reducing their exposure to VOCs. This is especially true for young children.
Severe Respiratory Congestion
Poor IAQ can cause significant respiratory congestion that can lead to a host of issues, including severe respiratory infection. Surprisingly, one of the most common causes of respiratory congestion is cooking on a gas stove. This is due to the fact that gas stoves release high levels of nitrogen oxide. However, good kitchen ventilation can remedy this problem. A range hood is the most effective way to ventilate, but exhaust fans work too. Just remember to turn on your ventilation system every time you use your stove to get the most benefit from it.
Eczema, Colds, and Flu
Humidity plays a big role in indoor air quality, which is why it’s important to maintain humidity levels between 30% and 50% in your home. Low humidity is most often a problem in the winter and can exacerbate skin issues such as eczema. Low humidity levels also dry out your mucous membranes, one of your body’s most important lines of defense against colds and the flu. As a result, they make you more susceptible to illnesses.
To ensure adequate humidity levels in your home, measure them with a hygrometer, an inexpensive device you can purchase at most home improvement stores. Then, depending on your findings, use a humidifier to increase your home’s levels.
High humidity levels affect indoor air quality by creating a breeding ground for common allergens like dust mites and bacteria. These allergens often create problems for people without diagnosed allergies, but they can make life miserable for those who are allergic to them. While using exhaust fans in the laundry room, kitchen and bathrooms is often enough to control humidity, homes with more significant issues may require a dehumidifier. A portable dehumidifier is a good choice to use in individual rooms. But if you want to correct humidity levels in your entire home, consider installing a whole-home dehumidifier.
Long-Term Health Issues
Poor indoor air quality is associated with a variety of long-term health issues, such as heart disease, respiratory issues, ADHD and cancer. It’s difficult to determine exactly what types and amounts of pollutants cause these issues since they affect people in different ways and symptoms may not appear for years after exposure. However, enough evidence exists that scientists have classified indoor air pollution as one of the most significant environmental issues in the United States today.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to improve your indoor air quality and avoid the associated health risks. If you need help improving your home’s IAQ, give Ocean State Air Conditioning & Heating a call. We’re glad to help.
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