When you think of air quality, the quality of the air outside your home is probably the first thing that comes to mind. However, the EPA has found that the levels of pollutants found inside the home are around two to five times higher than levels found outside. Unhealthy indoor air quality in your Calhoun, GA, home poses several risks, but there are solutions.

Short-Term Effects of Unhealthy Indoor Air Quality

The short-term effects of unhealthy IAQ are the symptoms that typically disappear after you leave home for half an hour or longer. In most cases, you may not even realize that it’s your indoor air quality that’s causing the problem. Short-term effects of unhealthy IAQ include:

  • Asthma or allergy flare-ups.
  • Dizziness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Headaches.
  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, or throat leads to itchy eyes, sneezing, and coughing.

There are more severe symptoms to watch out for, too. However, people typically don’t associate the symptoms with unhealthy indoor air quality. These severe symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Vomiting or nausea.
  • Fever or chills.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Wheezing or worsening asthma.
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose.
  • Lethargy and muscle pain.

Since most of the severe symptoms are also symptoms of something else, you may not even realize that the quality of your home’s air is the culprit. Not many people who experience hearing loss would ever think that their IAQ is to blame.

Long-Term Effects of Unhealthy Indoor Air Quality

The people who are most susceptible to the long-term effects of unhealthy IAQ are those who vigorously exercise indoors, pregnant women, children, middle-aged people, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. The long-term effects of unhealthy indoor air quality include:

  • Developing or worsening asthma.
  • Chronic bronchitis.
  • Decreased lung function or loss of lung capacity.
  • Accelerated lung aging and shortened lifespan.
  • Emphysema.
  • Heart and respiratory disease.

Secondhand smoke is one cause of the symptoms listed above, but there are other causes such as radon, asbestos, bacterial growth from wet or damp carpets, leaks from HVAC systems or even cleaning supplies. One way to keep the indoor air quality in your home at healthy levels is to have your HVAC systems and other appliances properly maintained.

Sources of Unhealthy Indoor Air Quality

You may wonder about the source of unhealthy indoor air quality in your home. One of the more obvious sources is secondhand smoke from tobacco, but what about if nobody in your home smokes? Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that’s completely colorless and odorless.

Inhaling radon over time increases your risk of lung cancer, and among non-smokers, it’s the number one cause of lung cancer. Other sources of unhealthy indoor air quality include dust, dirt and other particles trapped in carpets, such as lead. More sources include VOCs from cleaning supplies as well as fumes from fireplaces and bacterial growth from high humidity in the home.

What to Do

There are several steps you can take to maintain healthy indoor air quality in your Calhoun, GA, home. Aside from regularly changing the filters in your HVAC system and other systems that collect particles, other options include:

  • Investing in a radon detector and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Getting a humidifier and/or dehumidifier to keep humidity levels in the home between 30% and 50%.
  • Having air-cleaning plants to help clean the indoor air (just make sure they aren’t poisonous or toxic to household members and pets).
  • Only using natural scents and not using aerosol sprays.
  • Leaving shoes by the front door.
  • Placing air purifiers and ventilation in the bathrooms and kitchen.

If you’re worried about the air you breathe in your home, we’re here for you. Once we’re finished, you can breathe easy knowing you’re protecting the health of your family. Contact Dalton Heating & Air today for our indoor air quality solutions.

Image provided by iStock

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