Indoor Air Quality Could be Affecting Your Health

Indoor Air and Your Health

From A Guide to Indoor Air Quality 
by Consumer Product Safety Commission and Environmental Protection Agency

Health effects from indoor air pollutants may be experienced soon after exposure or, possibly, years later.

Immediate effects may show up after a single exposure or repeated exposures. These include irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. Such immediate effects are usually short-term and treatable. Sometimes the treatment is simply eliminating the person’s exposure to the source of the pollution, if it can be identified. Symptoms of some diseases, including asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and humidifier fever, may also show up soon after exposure to some indoor air pollutants.

The likelihood of immediate reactions to indoor air pollutants depends on several factors. Age and preexisting medical conditions are two important influences. In other cases, whether a person reacts to a pollutant depends on individual sensitivity, which varies tremendously from person to person. Some people can become sensitized to biological pollutants after repeated exposures, and it appears that some people can become sensitized to chemical pollutants as well.

Certain immediate effects are similar to those from colds or other viral diseases, so it is often difficult to determine if the symptoms are a result of exposure to indoor air pollution. For this reason, it is important to pay attention to the time and place the symptoms occur. If the symptoms fade or go away when a person is away from the home and return when the person returns, an effort should be made to identify indoor air sources that may be possible causes. Some effects may be made worse by an inadequate supply of outdoor air or from the heating, cooling, or humidity conditions prevalent in the home.

Other health effects may show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which include some respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable. More information on potential health effects from particular indoor air pollutants is provided in the section, “A Look at Source-Specific Controls.

While pollutants commonly found in indoor air are responsible for many harmful effects, there is considerable uncertainty about what concentrations or periods of exposure are necessary to produce specific health problems. People also react very differently to exposure to indoor air pollutants. Further research is needed to better understand which health effects occur after exposure to the average pollutant concentrations found in homes and which occur from the higher concentrations that occur for short periods of time.

The health effects associated with some indoor air pollutants are summarized in the section “Reference Guide to Major Indoor Air Pollutants in the Home.”

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Beat Heat-Related Illness with These Tips

Tips to avoid heat-related illness
» Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after practice or games.
» Schedule workouts and practices earlier or later in the day, when the temperatures are cooler.
» Start activity slowly and pick up the pace gradually.
» Wear loose, lightweight and light-colored clothing.
» Monitor a teammate’s condition and have someone do the same for you.
» Provide proper rest periods during and between practice sessions.
» Minimize the amount of equipment and clothing worn by players in hot and humid conditions, particularly during the acclimation period.
» Provide shade.
» Have ice baths available.

Signs of heat-related illness
» Muscle cramping.
» Heat rash.
» Heavy sweating.
» Weakness.
» Fast, weak pulse.
» Cold, pale and clammy skin.
» Nausea or vomiting.
» Fainting.
» Hot, red, dry or moist skin.
» High body temperature (above 103 degrees).
» Possible unconsciousness.

Sources: National Athletic Trainers’ Association (www.nata.org),www.cdc.gov

To read the original article, High school football: Heat, drought put emphasis on hydration, click here.

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1625 W University Dr
TempeAZ 85281

(480) 377-0777