Many seasonal allergy sufferers find relief in winter months, but there are millions of others who have indoor allergies. Since most individuals spend most of their time indoors, indoor air quality is of paramount importance, but air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than outdoor air.
Sources of indoor air pollution include combustion sources (oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood, tobacco products), building materials and furnishings, household cleaning/maintenance products, central heating and cooling systems, and more. Inadequate ventilation and high temperature/humidity levels can also decrease indoor air quality.
Exposure to indoor air pollutants can cause a number of symptoms, including eye/nose/throat irritation, headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. Age and pre-existing medical conditions are two major influences for the likelihood of an immediate reaction to indoor air pollutants. Other health effects can appear years after exposure occurs or after long and repeated periods of exposure. These include some respiratory diseases, cancer, and heart disease.
It’s a good idea to try to improve indoor air quality in your home, even if you and your loved ones are not experiencing noticeable symptoms. The federal government recommends measuring the level of radon in your home, because without measuring there is no way to detect the presence of radon. There are inexpensive devices available for this purpose.
When it comes to improving indoor air quality, it’s often most effective to remove individual sources of pollution or reduce their emissions. Improving ventilation increases the amount of outdoor air coming indoors, which can help lower the concentration of pollutants indoors. This is especially important when you’re painting or working with other household materials that can generate high levels of pollutants.
You can learn much more about improving indoor air quality with this resource from the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.
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