Sunday, 24 January 2016

Indoor Air Pollution: How You can Protect Your Family

Heads of state of many countries, including President Obama, attended a recent international conference held in Paris; they highlighted the dangers of climate change and air pollution, and what crises lie in store for us all. A global initiative to tackle these issues will, hopefully, emerge soon.

In the meantime, you need to do what you can to protect your family from these dangers. You can’t do much about the outdoor situation, but you can certainly take a few steps to control indoor air pollution. It is a serious issue that could have serious implications on your family health. Some may be felt almost immediately, while others a few years later.

The immediate effects

The most common of the immediate effects of indoor air pollution may be felt affecting your eyes, nose and throat; you may experience bad irritation, recurring headaches, fatigue and dizziness.  These are usually short-term in nature, and could easily be cured.

However, if left untreated or if the indoor air quality remains poor for a long time, chronic conditions like asthma and bronchitis and other respiratory diseases can develop. In addition, prolonged exposure to pollution can cause severe eye strain and, over time, affect your vision.

The effect of indoor pollution varies from person to person. Some people may show symptoms almost immediately after being exposed to the pollution. For others, the symptoms may occur after some time. The severity will also vary from person to person. However, just because symptoms are not visible in someone, it does not mean that their health is perfect.

Colds and viral diseases may be caused by infection, but pollution could be either a cause or at least a major contributing factor. If any members of your family regularly fall sick presumably due to infections, it would be worthwhile to pay attention to the times and places where the symptoms become obvious. If it is related to a particular part of the home and whenever the affected person happens to be there, it is probable that the air quality of the spot is bad.

The long-term effects

Years of constant exposure to poor quality indoor air can lead to respiratory diseases, coronary problems, cancer or other debilitating, or even fatal diseases. Living a few years in a home with poor indoor air quality can cause these conditions years after the family has moved to a new location.  Ongoing research has linked poor indoor air quality to an ever-increasing list of major health issues.

You have two possible ways of ensuring the air quality in your home: 1) an awareness of the indoor air pollutants and constant effort to eradicate them; 2) prevention of outdoor pollutants entering your home and complicating the situation indoors.

The former is much better and safer and provides a long-term solution; however, it is more challenging and time-consuming. The latter, though not complete, is easier and more immediately practicable. The ideal thing to do is to combine both these ways and attack the problem.

Domestic HVAC system is a major shield for your family health that prevents outdoor air pollution. Just because it cools or heats adequately, it does not mean that the air indoors is clean. Regular cleaning and maintenance of the HVAC equipment is quite necessary.

Cleaning filters is something you may be able to do yourself; but regular inspection and servicing of other parts by qualified professionals is essential to keep your home as healthy as possible.