How Indoor Air Quality Affects Asthma Sufferers

September 28, 2017

How Indoor Air Quality Affects Asthma Sufferers

According to the CDC, around 25 million Americans suffer from asthma, with the figures on the rise. Many people understand the significant effects outdoor air pollution can have on someone with the condition, but poor indoor air quality can also exacerbate symptoms. Wearing an ID bracelet wherever you go will alert others to your condition, whether you are out in public or within a public building, such as a school. However, what indoor triggers for asthma attacks should you be aware of and how can indoor air pollution be reduced?

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

Common causes of indoor air pollution include dust mites, smoke, fuel from household appliances or chemicals and these, combined with poor ventilation, could result in higher risk of an asthma attack. Trace amounts of chemicals on clothing can also be released into the air and can combine with other elements to form irritants which cause the symptoms of asthma to worsen.  Mold is another common trigger for asthma attacks and can delay symptoms of the condition showing the importance of ventilation and dehumidifying the home.

Can Air Pollutants Cause Asthma?

The body’s immune system causes the inflammatory response seen in asthma sufferers and this is exacerbated by irritants in the air. Airways swell up causing difficulty breathing, wheezing and coughing and an asthma attack can occur if medication is not available or the response is particularly severe. More incidents of asthma were found in children exposed to small amounts of tobacco smoke in one study, therefore the risk of developing asthma symptoms may increase among families with a smoker. A 2007 study by Zock and colleagues showed the incidence of asthma increased among adults who used household cleaning sprays, with adults displaying symptoms and need for medication. There appears to be some correlation between indoor pollutants and the incidence of asthma symptoms.

How Can Indoor Air Quality Be Improved?

Better ventilation in the home and in public buildings could help reduce the risk of asthma attacks. A Swedish study showed that improving ventilation in schools resulted in fewer reports of asthma symptoms or attacks among children, likely due to the reduction in pollutants causing irritation. Measuring air quality could also help to identify when air pollutants are at their highest. According to the EPA, levels of 101-150 on the Air Quality Index are unhealthy for sensitive groups such as asthma sufferers. Home air check kits can be used to ensure the home is safe for children and adults with the condition.

The air quality cannot always be controlled in public places or in schools which is why it is important to keep your ID bracelet close to you. This will ensure people are aware of what is happening should you suffer adverse effects of asthma.

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