Indoor air quality is just as important as outdoor air quality. Outdoor air can contain harmful pollution. But indoor air can actually be worse than outdoor air. When you’re managing asthma and allergies, you should take steps to make sure your indoor air quality is healthy.
The following can affect indoor air quality:
Dust mites are tiny creatures that can be found in many homes. They thrive in furniture, carpets and bedding.
People with pet allergies are usually allergic to proteins in the pet’s urine, saliva, or dander (dead skin cells). Pet allergens can collect on many surfaces. Sometimes the allergens may remain at high levels for several months and cling to walls, furniture, clothing, and other surfaces.
Dust mites and pet dander can be found on:
Mold is a fungus that can be found both indoors and outside. Outdoors, you can find it on rotting wood, damp leaves, and on grasses and grains. When a mold source is disturbed, it can send spores into the air where they can make their way into your sinuses and lungs.
Inside, mold can be found:
Cockroaches can cause asthma and allergy symptoms year-round. They like warm conditions, damp places, and food sources. Even dead cockroaches can cause reactions.
Scents, both good and bad, can affect your indoor air quality. Any kind of scent could trigger asthma symptoms. These can include scented candles, potpourri, perfumes, wax warmers, and cleaning supplies.
Some other items in your home can release gasses called VOCs. This is called offgassing. VOCs can be 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors.1 VOCs can have some short-term effects, but experts aren’t sure yet of long-term effects.
Sources of VOCs can include:
Other sources of indoor air pollution include:
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Outdoor air pollution is caused by particles and gasses that are not normally part of the air. This can come from pollen, smoke, dust, ozone, and emissions from cars and factories. All of these can create poor outdoor air quality.
Bad outdoor air quality can make asthma and allergies worse. And bad air can easily enter your home. No home is completely air tight. Outdoor air can come in through leaks around doors and windows. It can also come in every time you open a window or door. You can bring pollen and smoke particles inside on your clothing.
Allergens, scents, chemicals, and outdoor air in your home all work together to affect your indoor air quality.
1. Volatile Organic Compounds’ Impact on Indoor Air Quality. (2017, April 19). Retrieved September 14, 2017, from www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality