Unfortunately, air pollutants are all around us and can cause health problems such as burning in the nose and throat, sore eyes, headaches, and general fatigue. Other pollutants (especially this time of year) can cause or worsen allergies, respiratory issues, cancer, and heart disease. It’s important to understand what pollutants are present and how to prevent them.
- Radon is a radioactive gas formed in soil. It can enter your home through cracks and openings in the floor and walls that are in direct contact with the ground.
- Fast Fact: Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer in nonsmokers
- Secondhand smoke comes from burning tobacco products and can cause cancer and serious respiratory illnesses.
- Fast Fact: secondhand smoke is linked to increased risks of ear infections in children
- Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas and interferes with the delivery of oxygen throughout the body causing headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, and death.
- Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is also a colorless, odorless gas that causes nose, eye, and throat irritation, shortness of breath, and increases the risk of a respiratory infection.
- Volatile organic compounds are found in paints, lacquers, strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, and much more and irritate the eyes, nose and throat, cause headaches, nausea, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system, some of them can even cause cancer.
- Asthma triggers include mold, dust mites, secondhand smoke, and pet dander. These triggers can cause coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and breathing problems and can easily bring on an asthma attack.
- Molds are living organisms that produce spores that float in the air, land on damp surfaces, and grow and can create hay fever-like symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and rashes and can easily trigger an asthma attack.
Now that you’ve learned about the most common air pollutants, here are a few easy things you can do to improve the air quality inside your home, school, and office and preserve health, especially to small children and those with chronic health problems.
Control the sources of pollution:
- Now that spring has sprung, open the windows and doors to let in some fresh air to reduce the number of pollutants lurking inside your space.
- Run your air conditioner with the vent control open.
- If you have kitchen and/or bathroom exhausts, turn them on to help remove pollutants.
- Change filters regularly! Filters trap and harbor dust and other pollutants, so make sure to clean or change these out often in order to reduce the flow of them back into your home, school, or office.
- Keep an eye on humidity. High humidity in the air increases the likelihood of mold.