Everyone understands outdoor air pollution and the effects that smoke, smog and dust can have on our respiratory systems – but there is also harm in the effects of indoor pollution that can be just as bad for our health, and especially for the health of our children.
Children are more vulnerable to poor air quality indoors. Some examples of pollutants within our four walls include that of cleaning products, paints, chemicals within furniture, particulate matter from wood burners and open fireplaces, as well as dreaded mould spores.
When a home has a lack of efficient ventilation, poor indoor air quality can lead to headaches, dizziness, coughing and sneezing, runny noses, suffering with difficulty breathing, dry skin, throat and eyes. It may be more difficult to spot these early symptoms in small children, especially infants. But, over time, air pollution can be extremely harmful to health, leading to breathing issues, allergies, asthma and chronic lung disease.
How does indoor air pollution affect a child’s health?
Air pollution even has an impact on pregnancy and on the health of the baby. The developing lungs of the unborn baby are susceptible to the effects of air pollutants and it is possible to cause health issues for the baby once it is born. If you have noticed that you feel unwell when you’re inside your home, you should have your home tested for air pollutants and the overall air quality.
When a premature baby is born, it is usually more at risk of respiratory issues than a child who was born full term, as its lungs are likely under-developed. Good indoor air quality is even more important to these little babies. Polluted air can also cause respiratory problems such as croup, which can also be harmful to young children and babies; which quite often results in trips to the hospital emergency room.
When children are exposed to toxins in the air through poor ventilation over a long period of time, they can develop respiratory issues such as asthma or bronchitis. Children who contract bronchitis regularly are more likely to suffer from asthma as they grow up.
What about mould?
One of the telltale signs of ineffective ventilation is condensation on your windows. Excessive moisture and dampness within the home can lead to mould growth. Not only is mould ugly, smells putrid, and damages soft furnishings, it is also a leading cause of respiratory and skin conditions, such as asthma and eczema, and very harmful to a child’s health. The impact of mould spores on health is significant and this is why the air quality and ventilation inside a house should be checked.
How can I improve the air quality and reduce toxins within my home?
Check what ingredients are contained within cleaning products before you buy them. It is better to use products that are scented with essential oils rather than chemicals. Scented candles, unless scented naturally and similar items, such as wax melts can also be problematic. Sourcing cleaning products which are environmentally-friendly is the way to go. These will work in exactly the same way as regular cleaning products, but without causing damage to a person’s health.
When drying washing indoors, ensure your machine is ducted to vent the hot moist air outside. Otherwise condensation can build up and cause humidity levels to rise due to excess moisture. Bathrooms should also be well ventilated for an efficient ventilation system in order to remove hot moist air when showering.
It is a good idea to have the air quality of your home tested, even more importantly if you have children. You can do this yourself with an air quality monitor or you can have a professional do a survey. It is also a great idea to have a professional such as Zephyr Ventilations do a ventilation assessment of your home. Our team can work out the right systems for your individual property and family needs. An effective ventilation system will improve air quality and prevent future mould infestation through keeping condensation and air moisture under control
Many homes suffer with problems caused by condensation and mould and may not realise the harm this is doing to themselves, their children and even their pets! Good quality indoor air is giving your family the best chance of improving their health. A competent effective ventilation system will reduce the concentration of VOC levels, moisture and mould, with many positive health benefits.