Can Indoor Air Quality Trigger Allergies?
It is a common misconception that air pollution only occurs outdoors through smoke, haze, and smog in the air. But the fact is air inside our homes, and basically within any building contains the same toxins as those present outside. Air quality inside our homes may be contaminated with formaldehyde, lead from house dust, radon, fire-retardants and even explosive chemicals that can be found in fragrances used in common cleaners. The pollutants can either be tracked directly from the inside or can be transported through new furniture and other house fixtures.
Poor Indoor Air Quality Causes Health Concerns
It is a known fact that most people spend more time indoors than outdoors. This means that toxins in the air indoors can cause greater adverse effects on one’s health. According to the EPA or Environmental Protection Agency, poor air quality indoors cause or worsen medical conditions like asthma and related respiratory problems, allergies, eyes and skin irritations, headaches, depression, sore throat, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, dizziness or even memory loss. Long-term exposure to dangerous airborne particles may also cause heart disease, serious respiratory ailments, cancer or even reproductive disorders.
What are common pollutants indoors?
These pollutants can be found through dust mites, mold, pet dander and secondhand smoke. These triggers can cause symptoms which include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightening of chest. Asthma attacks occur when symptoms worsen. This condition must be carefully monitored since it is life threatening. People who are diagnosed with asthma should keep medication readily available and also actively find ways to reduce asthma triggers at home.
These pollutants come from burning materials. Major sources of combustion pollutants are unvented or improperly vented fuel-burning appliances like water heaters, fireplaces, dryers, space heaters, gas stoves or wood stoves. These appliances must be properly maintained to avoid any problem.
This radioactive gas is formed in the soil and can get indoors through openings and cracks in walls or floors that get in contact or connected to the ground. Radon is considered as the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer and the main cause of lung cancer for people who do not smoke.
One of the leading causes of lung cancer is secondhand smoke. Unfortunately, children are most vulnerable to this. It can even increase the risk of SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and ear infections.
Volatile Organic Compounds
VOCs can be found in numerous products found in homes. These products include the following:
- Air fresheners
- Building materials and furnishings
- Cleaning supplies
- Dry cleaned clothing
- Moth repellents
- Office equipment
- Paints and lacquers
- Paint strippers
- Varnishes and waxes
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