What happens when you drink polluted water? Just like it is crucial to know the quality of the water you drink, it’s vital to know the quality of the air you are breathing when indoors. In simple terms, this is called the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
Unknown to many, IAQ is very critical because it has direct effects on your short or long-term health. For instance, poor IAQ has been associated with immediate health implications such as eye, nose, and throat irritation, fatigue, or even headaches, as well as dizziness (EPA). Similarly, for people with pre-existing conditions like asthma, the conditions may worsen or flare-up!
Noteworthy, some adverse effects of poor indoor air quality are not recognizable or evident until later in life. Ideally, the pollutants cause consistent but subtle damage to the body, only to be noticed when damage is caused already. For example, drawing from EPA, poor IAQ could cause respiratory problems, heart diseases, or even cancer.
A Harvard Medical School article, published in 2018, noted that many things that trigger problems indoors are odorless, hence having no alerts to the resident. Consequently, it is worthy of finding ways of determining the quality of the air you breathe while in your house.
There are several ways of determining whether the air that you breathe is of the right quality:
- Adequate ventilation- Checking whether your house is well ventilated. Is there enough natural ventilation? What about the structural, mechanical design of the building or room? Does it allow the necessary air exchange rate?
- House Cleanliness- how clean is your house? Drawing from the Harvard Medical School, indoor hygiene is crucial in cutting down on a variety of pollutants like dust as well as animal dander. Approaches for maintaining hygiene include vacuuming carpets with equipment equipped with HEPA filters, regular cleaning of house items, including bedding and drapes that could act as a reservoir for allergens from pets. Finally, it would help if you cleared the clutter that usually traps or holds dust that could be a pollutant.
- Exposure to hazardous gases- Do you live in an area exposed to dangerous gases like carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, radon, or even excessive moisture?
- Changing Filters- Do you change your filters regularly?
- Air Purifiers- Have you invested in an air purifier? Essentially, cleaners help you maintain the required air quality, especially if you have pets, by enhancing the air exchange rate in your house.
What is the sure bet in ensuring IAQ?
Adopting and observing the measures provided above goes a long way in ensuring you breathe the quality air you deserve for your health. Even so, EPA indicates that “determination of IAQ involves the collection of air samples, monitoring human exposure to pollutants, collection of samples on building surfaces, and computer modeling of airflow inside the buildings.”
Ideally, EPA shows that it is crucial to work with experts in IAQ to help you fully determine the quality of the air you breathe. That way, you will guarantee your safety and good health both in the short-term and long-term, without worrying about any adverse outcomes.
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Introduction to Indoor Air Quality. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/introduction-indoor-air-quality
Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School). Easy ways you can improve indoor air quality. (2018). https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/easy-ways-you-can-improve-indoor-air-quality