Indoor air quality is an important thing to monitor no matter your environment. It’s safe to say that no one wants to willingly breathe in air that could be detrimental to their health. And this is especially true if poor indoor air quality is present in a high-risk environment, like a medical building.
The issue is that many environments, including these high-risk ones, often don’t know that the air quality is below the acceptable standard. With some education, though, more people can become aware of this and learn more about the warning signs of poor air quality and how to regularly monitor air quality.
In this post, we’ll guide you through some essential information related to this. As you read below, you’ll learn about not only how to evaluate your indoor air quality but also what air quality entails and why evaluating this is so important.
Why is indoor air quality important?
It’s important to have good indoor air quality because having poor quality can affect anything and everything from a person’s health to their comfort to their ability to work. Because Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors, it’s important that where they are spending their time is safe. When pollutants are trapped indoors, often people don’t know they are present and continue with their daily lives. Not addressing these concerns is determinantal to their health, especially if these individuals are older, younger, or have cardiovascular or respiratory disease.
As you look at indoor quality, it’s important to consider the temperature, humidity, the presence of outdoor air, any mold present from water damage, and if there has been any exposure to other chemicals. Since OSHA currently does not have indoor air quality standards, it’s important to monitor your quality regularly.
What are the causes for concern?
If indoor air quality is a new concern for you to manage, there are certain pollutants you want to be on the lookout for. For starters, you’ll want to look at the presence of any combustion byproducts like carbon monoxide, particulate matter, wood and coal heating, cooking appliances, fireplaces, and/or environmental tobacco smoke. Additionally, look out for any natural gas substances or biological agents like radon, pet dander, and mold. Other causes of concern for your indoor air quality are the presence of pesticides, lead, asbestos, cleaning supplies, paints, and more. A safe rule of thumb is if something looks, feels, or smells abnormal, seek professional guidance.
What are the signs of poor indoor air quality?
The first signs of poor indoor air quality are usually effects on human health. Early signs often include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and even fatigue. If left untreated, more severe health concerns such as respiratory diseases, heart disease, or cancer can develop. Depending on the cause of the poor indoor air quality, additional health concerns may be present as well.
How can you improve your indoor air quality?
As soon as you encounter a cause of poor indoor air quality, it’s important to seek out professional guidance to treat it. As noted, the causes are widespread ranging from outdoor conditions, natural gases, and indoor factors. In many cases, you’ll need to improve your infiltration and ventilation system to improve the airflow and overall quality, but there is more to that.
If you aren’t sure where to begin with improving your indoor air quality or aren’t sure how best to evaluate your indoor air quality, then you’ve come to the right place. Download our complete infection control guide to get started on improving this to ensure that any high-risk environment is the safest it can be.