As cold weather and holiday gatherings bring us indoors this winter season, it is important to keep an eye on indoor air quality. This year during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have become increasingly aware of the air around us and the risks associated with contaminated indoor environments. Yet airborne disease transmission is just one of the consequences of poor air quality and filtration. Polluted indoor air can lead to health issues ranging from mild irritation to the development of serious diseases.
Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors, and this number is often higher during winter months. The concentration of pollutants found in indoor air is 2 to 5 times higher than outside, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
During the winter there are several culprits that lead to poor indoor air quality and can seriously affect health if left unaddressed. These include
- Fire and combustion. A cozy fire may seem appealing on a cold night, but burning materials indoors can release combustion byproducts such as carbon monoxide and tiny pieces of particulate matter into the air.
- Poor ventilation. During the winter, windows and doors typically remain tightly shut which reduces cross-ventilation and the amount of fresh air circulating through a building. This can lead to odor; stuffy air; irritation of the eyes, nose and throat; and even respiratory conditions.
- Household chemicals. Doing a bit of winter cleaning or prepping the house to host friends and relatives for the holidays? Commonly used household chemicals, such as cleaning supplies, paints, and insecticides, can release irritating or even toxic fumes into the air.
- Dry air. Cold air holds less moisture than warm air, which causes wintertime humidity to be low. If left untreated, this can cause cracking of the skin or exacerbate existing skin issues.
- Airborne disease. Some infectious viruses and bacteria can spread through the air in small particles that are breathed into the lungs. During winter, immune systems are typically lower, which can make individuals more susceptible to illness.
Life Balance Technologies helps hospitals and other companies easily analyze air quality conditions and effectively manage their HVAC systems. By streamlining the process for compliance, auditing, and reporting, we help reduce costs and save lives.