Last updated August. 28, 2020
When we talk about air pollution, most people think about industrial plants releasing fumes into the atmosphere and poorly maintained motor vehicles doing the same thing.
Most people only picture the outdoor environment and how the atmosphere can be polluted. We hardly think about our indoor air and how its quality can be compromised.
As unfortunate as it may sound, it has been found that the indoor air quality of most households is worse than the outdoor air quality within their localities.
This means that indoor air pollution is severe and affects us more than outdoor air pollution.
It is important, therefore, that we understand what indoor pollution is doing to our health and what we can do about it.
Indoor air pollution is associated with general discomfort of the occupants of the building and a whole lot of health hazards.
The best way to discuss the health implications is to categorize them into immediate effects and long-term effects.
There are issues that will arise immediately after a single exposure or a repeated exposure to a pollutant in the indoor space.
The commonest ones are in the form of general discomfort. You may experience irritations of the eyes, nose, and throat, as well as headache, dizziness, and fatigue.
These issues can be mild or severe but occur immediately after the exposure.
The immediate effects of indoor air pollution are usually short-lived and treatable. In many instances, you can feel better by leaving the polluted space, finding the source of pollution, and removing it.
Mild treatments also work fast in relieving these symptoms.
Besides these regular symptoms that seem to have few serious consequences, some immediate effects of pollution can be severe.
Asthma symptoms, for instance, can be aggravated by exposure to indoor air pollutants.
When immediate medical attention is not provided in some instances, the problem can become life-threatening.
It is important to state that there are different factors that affect the likelihood of the immediate effects of air pollution setting in.
Age and preexisting health conditions are the most significant factors. These and other factors are responsible for an individual's sensitivity to indoor air pollution.
Some people assume that since they are not experiencing any discomfort or obvious symptom of indoor air pollution, they are very safe.
This is not really the case. Prolonged exposure to some of the commonest indoor air pollutants has been linked to several long-term health problems.
Some of the prominent problems include respiratory diseases, heart diseases, and cancer. These are some of the deadliest diseases we should all strive to prevent.
When we are dealing with the long-term effects of certain issues, people are skeptical. This is primarily because the problems arise several years after the harm has been done.
In the case of the long term effects of exposure to air pollution, they may not sure up for several years after the individual has been exposed continuously.
This means we have to be more vigilant with our indoor air quality, to ensure there are no pollutants that can ruin or health in the long run.
Again, it is not very clear if the long term effects of pollutants occur after exposure to higher concentrations that occur for short periods, or if the health effects occur after exposure to the average pollutant concentration found in homes.
Whichever is the case, it is advisable that we always take relevant steps to tackle indoor air pollution at all levels.
Knowing the possible health consequences of indoor pollution is not enough to keep you safe. You have to understand what you can do about it. Here are some of the things to keep in mind:
When you smoke indoors, you risk your life and that of every other person in your household.
Make a ‘no smoking indoors’ rule and enforce it. It is even better that you quit smoking entirely and encourage those around you to do the same.
Poor ventilation encourages indoor air pollution. When your home is properly ventilated, some of the common air pollutants will be removed. Improve ventilation by all means possible.
Every part of your home is important, but there are some areas you need to pay serious attention to when it comes to indoor air pollution.
For a start, you need to ensure that your bedroom is always clean. You also need to ventilate your kitchen properly and ensure that you don’t have moisture issues.
This is related to the point above. Water leaks lead to increased humidity in your home, and this can easily lead to mold growth.
Fix all water leaks in the kitchen and bathroom as early as possible and keep these rooms ventilated.
Some of your home appliances release a lot of greenhouse gases, which can hurt your indoor air quality. You have to opt for green appliances like air coolers and other home appliances with an energy-star rating.
Air fresheners contribute to indoor air pollution. Yes, they may make your home smell better, but they do that by releasing some gases that may be harmful to your health.
Carbon monoxide is one of the most dangerous indoor pollutants. It is odorless and colorless, so you have to be proactive about detecting it.
When your detector indicates the presence of carbon monoxide, find the source, and remove it immediately.
You need to take care of your home properly to keep the indoor air quality at the right level.
Dust contributes to indoor air pollution, and getting it off surfaces will help tremendously. Dust surfaces and vacuum frequently.
We've mentioned earlier that you need to take good care of your bedroom. This is because you will spend so many unconscious hours of the night, breathing in the air in the room.
You need to make sure that such air is free of pollutants. You should also wash your beddings often to ensure that they are clean and without dust, pollens, or other pollutants.
Like air fresheners, scented candles introduce some pollutants into your indoor air and compromise its quality. Avoid them as much as possible. If you must use scented candles, keep a lid on them.
If you have any further questions, contact us and we would be pleased to help you.