Many people think that staying indoors is the best way to avoid air pollution. However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the air in some indoor spaces may be more polluted than outdoor air. If your home in Sumter, South Carolina, has poor indoor air quality, you can expect to see your family members experiencing a variety of health problems. Learn about these five health problems that can result from bad indoor air quality.
Common Cold Symptoms
Poor indoor air quality can cause health effects that are similar to those of common cold or influenza. These symptoms include itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, dizziness, and fatigue. They’re often short-term and easily treatable.
Symptoms of the common cold can occur following a single exposure or multiple exposures to certain airborne pollutants. Biological contaminants such as dust, pollen, bacteria, viruses, and mites thrive and spread rapidly in crowded conditions with limited air circulation. Humid air can also improve the survival rate of these pollutants in an indoor environment.
If any of your family members are suffering from asthma, bad indoor air quality can increase their chances of experiencing asthma symptoms, such as wheezing, breathing difficulty, coughing, and chest tightness. If these symptoms get worse, they can lead to an asthma attack, which can result in a medical emergency, hospitalization, or missed work or school.
Asthma symptoms can appear soon after exposure to polluted indoor air. Airborne particles, ozone, and endotoxins are some of the common causes of asthma symptoms in an indoor environment. Ozone is formed when sunlight comes into contact with certain air pollutants. It can trigger asthma by irritating your airways and lungs. Endotoxins, on the other hand, come from bacteria in the soil, so they’re virtually everywhere outdoors. Human beings, pets, pests, and outdoor air can carry these harmful substances into your home.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is one of the common long-term conditions that can result from inhalation of indoor air pollutants. This lung disease is similar to asthma in that it causes wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness, but it may also involve chronic coughing, respiratory infections, fatigue, unintended weight loss, and swelling legs and feet.
The factors that trigger COPD symptoms may vary from one person to another. COPD patients who have the asthma component in their symptoms are usually more sensitive to polluted indoor air. Some of the indoor pollutants that can worsen COPD include pollen, pet dander, mites, combustible pollutants, asbestos, radon, and secondhand smoke.
Long-term exposure to poor indoor air quality can increase your risk of lung cancer. Many different types of pollutants can contribute to the development of this condition, including volatile organic compounds, combustible pollutants, secondhand smoke, and radon. Radon is one of the leading causes of lung cancer. This radioactive gas is produced in the soil and can enter your living space through openings and cracks in walls and floors that are in contact with the ground.
Besides causing damage to your respiratory system, indoor air pollution can also have a negative impact on your cardiovascular system. It can hinder the movement of your blood vessels, cause your blood to clot, and disrupt your heart’s electrical functioning, resulting in an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. Dust, soot, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and sulfur dioxide in your indoor air can all increase your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Your HVAC system does more than just keep your living space comfortable; it also helps improve your indoor air quality. When it’s properly maintained, it can contribute to better air quality by filtering the air that comes in from outside, maintaining a consistent temperature, and reducing humidity. It’s essential to service your HVAC unit regularly.
You can also avoid health problems that result from poor air quality by investing in an air purifier or humidifier. If you’re looking for effective ways to improve the indoor air quality in your Sumter home, contact Air Solutions Heating and Cooling at 803-753-4830.
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