Indoor air pollution can cause severe health problems for many inhabitants. Children and the elderly are especially at risk. The sources of indoor air pollution are extensive. Oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood, and tobacco smoke are combustion sources of air pollution in homes. Building materials and furnishings are other sources for poor air quality. Improper insulation and venting can cause bad air to enter or the air inside the house to remain stagnant. Wet or damp carpet can grow mold, which releases spores into the air and cause a new set of health problems for those that breathe it in.
Poor venting can keep too little outside air from entering the home. If this happens, pollutants may build to higher levels that pose health concerns. This is often seen in homes that are not built with the special mechanical specifications for ventilation. However, even homes with proper ventilation may create higher levels of pollution than those without due to drastic weather conditions.
These poor air quality conditions can cause both immediate and long-term effects. Immediate effects of poor indoor air quality may be experienced after the initial exposure or after a few exposures. These effects include irritated eyes, nose, and/or throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. They are usually short-term and treatable. However, they can contribute to humidifier fever, asthma, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Long-term effects may not show up until years after exposure or are created after long, repeated periods of exposure. Long-term effects include respiratory diseases, heart disease, and even cancer. These long-term effects can be debilitating and fatal.
Different people can react differently to indoor air conditions. It is important to keep an eye on children and the elderly to note if they exhibit any abnormal symptoms that may be cause for concern.
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