As you’ve lived and worked in the Wasatch Front, you’ve learned how to recognize days with bad air quality. You may even have specific routines that you adopt when you notice heavier smog on your morning commute.
But air pollutants don’t always stay outdoors. In fact, many everyday activities in your home can spread airborne contaminants, from aerosol fumes to dust mites. Over time, normal living circumstances and heavy outdoor pollution can contribute to poor indoor air quality in your home.
Air quality can have a significant impact on your family’s health and comfort. In this blog, we list nine common warning signs that you have an air quality issue.
Cough and Congestion
One of the biggest factors in whether or not air quality is considered poor is the concentration of particles it contains. You encounter countless airborne particles every day. However, in a home with poor air quality, these particles become overwhelming.
As you breathe in more particles, you may develop a cough or congestion as your body attempts to expel the foreign bodies.
Fatigue and Dizziness
Chemical and gaseous air contaminants, such as fumes or carbon monoxide, can affect cognitive functions. One of the first symptoms that these pollutants cause is a feeling of sleepiness, fatigue, or dizziness.
If these symptoms appear suddenly or at a particularly high intensity, leave your home until you can have a professional inspect for a gas leak or similar problem.
In addition to particle concentration, humidity plays a big role in air quality. When the air in your home becomes overly dry, airborne illnesses move more freely. This freedom of movement is the real reason you get sick more often in the winter than in the summer.
If your family experiences frequent cold, flu, or cough symptoms, you may need to check your air quality.
Exposure to chemicals or even strong odors can result in headaches. Pesticides, household cleaners, and even standing garbage can contribute to poor air quality and subsequent headaches.
You may also experience sinus headaches as a side effect of air quality-related congestion.
If you suffer from airborne allergies, you know the symptoms well. But if your allergies appear out of season or with unusual frequency, air quality may be to blame.
If poor air quality is causing your hyperactive allergies, you may not notice any changes when you clean more, take medication, or eliminate known allergens. Some individuals do not get allergy relief until after they install an air purifier.
Mucus Membrane Irritation
Contaminants and dry air irritate the most vulnerable parts of your body, starting with mucus membranes.
You may notice itching, watering, running, or burning sensations that affect the following areas:
- Mouth and tongue
You may also begin to have more frequent nosebleeds, especially if your poor air quality stems from lack of moisture.
In some extreme cases, exposure to airborne contaminants can cause nausea. However, vomiting or prolonged nausea that doesn’t abate when you leave the home result from one of two sets of circumstances.
Either nausea and vomiting stem from another cause for which you should seek medical attention, or the symptoms result from a serious air quality threat.
When airborne contaminants enter your body, they can cause more than a cough. Poor air quality, especially when caused by pollutants, can also contribute to respiratory infections and irritation.
Often, poor air quality affects the most vulnerable members of your household. This type of air quality deficiency can cause respiratory issues in young children, individuals with compromised immune systems, individuals with asthma, or household pets.
Skin Dryness and Irritation
Poor air quality doesn’t just affect your mucous membranes, it also irritates your skin. If you live in a home with poor air quality, you may notice dryness, peeling, flaking, rashes, or redness on any portion of your skin.
If you suffer from eczema, acne, or another skin condition, poor air quality may exacerbate your symptoms.
If you or any member of your family experiences acute respiratory symptoms, especially difficulty breathing, contact emergency medical services. While these symptoms can result from poor air quality, it’s important to rule out airway obstructions, food allergies, and other causes which can result in serious medical emergencies.
Should you notice any combination of the signs listed here, discuss your options with an HVAC contractor. He or she may recommend a localized or whole-home air purifier to alleviate your family’s acute symptoms and improve your home’s air quality in the long run.
Poor air quality can become intensified by moist or particularly dry environments. If your home exhibits poor air quality and humidity level problems, your HVAC contractor may also recommend installing a humidifier or dehumidifier.
Look for these warning signs to ensure that you address any air quality issues in your home and prevent long-term health complications.