Sometimes, the things that harm your health the most aren’t entirely visible. They could be present for years without you even realizing it! This is exactly the case with poor air quality, especially air contaminated with pollutants, a problem that plagues 9 of 10 people on earth.
There are a wide variety of health problems caused by air pollution and poor air quality. Keep reading to learn what poor air quality can do to your health, and how to protect yourself from it.
The Negative Health Effects of Air Pollution
Poor air quality is a worldwide issue that comes with some very serious negative health effects. On the “less deadly” end of the spectrum, it can cause allergic reactions. This includes sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and a soar throat. These symptoms may get worse as time goes on, eventually leading to more serious issues.
As harmful airborne particles continue to plague your lungs, they may cause asthma, bronchitis, and even increase your chance of a heart attack. Many airborne toxins are carcinogens, which means an increase in the possibility of cancer.
Poor air quality is especially dangerous to those with diseases, illnesses, and to children in general. It can cause impaired brain development in kids, and lead to learning disabilities. This can even happen in the womb if a pregnant mother is exposed to poor air quality. The longer you’re exposed to it, the worse your symptoms may get. The problem is especially worrying if your indoor air quality is poor.
Poor outdoor air quality is usually unavoidable, but indoor air quality is very important and easier to manage.
What Causes Poor Air Quality?
Poor air quality is a big problem that can affect anywhere at any time. It’s not only an outdoors problem – your whole house could have poor air quality, and you may not even know it! So, how does air quality get so bad?
Causes of Poor Outdoor Air Quality
When it comes to the outdoors, air quality is mostly affected by pollution. Cars, factories, and airborne contaminants lower the quality of otherwise good air. The more pollutants in the surrounding area, the worse the air quality might be.
If you live in a big city, your air quality is likely much worse than in the country. What’s worse, these pollutants may come into your home through windows and doors, and even by the people and stuff that enter the house affecting the quality of your home air! That’s not all that affects your indoor air quality, though.
Causes of Poor Indoor Air Quality
As mentioned before, outdoor pollutants can easily seep into your home and negatively impact your indoor air quality. Beyond that, though, there are a lot of factors you may not even realize harm your air quality.
If you have a gas or wood fireplace, furnace, or a gas water heater, your air quality may be affected by extra carbon monoxide, NO2, and Volatile Organic Compounds(VOCs). Smoking cigarettes in the house can also put more carbon monoxide and formaldehyde in the air. The more you smoke inside, the more of these lasting chemicals may be present.
If you’re an artist or woodworker, the different chemicals (such as paint and varnish) will add unwanted chemicals to the air. Mold, house dust mites and animals dander can substantially harm air quality, as well as bad ventilation and cleaning products. Even cooking adds unwanted pollutants to the air, especially if you use a gas stove.
As you can see, it’s just about impossible to avoid all air pollutants in your home. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to protect your indoor air quality.
How Can I Improve Air Quality?
Now that you know the dangers of poor air quality, it’s important to know how to improve air quality both indoors and outdoors.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
According to EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency), the main actions to take are:
- source control (eliminate the source or reduce their emission)
- improved natural and/or artificial ventilation for the house
- Use an Air Cleaner
Other actions you can take:
- change frequently filters from air equipment and HVAC systems
- check and clean the air ducts
- vacuum your carpets and mattresses
- Regularly wash and brush your pets to reduce pet dander
Consider buying an Air Purifier
One of the best ways to improve your indoor air quality is with an air purifier. It can lessen impurities that worsen infectious diseases. For example, if you’re looking to protect your home from the new Coronavirus, you may want to invest in an air purifier. Having the cleanest air possible will surely increase your chances of avoiding the disease in your home!
Also, If you’re looking to remove indoor allergens, bacteria, and mold from the area, you’ll want to invest in an air purifier. This works great if you’re suffering from diseases such as bronchitis and asthma.
Improving Outdoor Air Quality
Improving outdoor air quality is a much larger task.
The only real way to improve outdoor air quality worldwide is to decrease pollution. That means more solar and wind energy, less gas-guzzling vehicles, and more green technology. While many countries around the world are attempting to lower their carbon footprints, many individuals are still taking part in non-green practices that harm air quality.
If you want to do your part for the world’s air quality, get involved. Pay attention to your carbon footprint and try to reduce it every day. Support green industries and try to practice living green!
Killing the Silent Killer
If you’ve constantly noticed any symptoms like coughing, wheezing, or worse, you might live in a poor air quality environment. In this case, it’s important to get on top of the issue as quickly as possible. In addition, if those symptoms come suddenly and with a fever and shortness of breath, you should seek medical help immediately.
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