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Sunday Scaries: Air Sensitivity and Airborne Diseases

What is Indoor Air Quality?

Indoor Air Quality or IAQ, relates to the quality of air within a home or building. It contributes to the health, comfort and overall well-being of those within a building. It is important to recognize the quality of air within an indoor space to reduce any risks to germs and toxic pollutants that may get concentrated by the lack of ventilation.

Immediate and Long-term Effects on Immunity:

Poor air quality within a building may present itself in immediate or long-term effects, ranging from mild allergy symptoms to severe respiratory concerns. Showing immediate reactions is dependent on the person and their level of sensitivity. Those with preexisting respiratory issues or of older age are the most likely to react to these pollutants. However, those with repeated exposure to pollutants may not show any short-term signs of irritation due to their body being more accumulated to the environment.

When exposed, an individual may notice health effects immediately with irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Other common signs of air pollution include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and increased sickness. Those with predisposed signs of asthma and respiratory issues may notice an increased frequency or difficulty in symptoms.

Since many of these abnormalities are linked to other diseases or disorders, it is important to note when symptoms are occurring to determine if it is related to the Indoor Air Quality. Ignoring these signs may lead to long-term effects on the immune system.

Sometimes health effects of poor air quality are not prominent until years after exposure. These effects can be shown through various forms of respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer. While it is understood that indoor air quality can produce these fatal or life-threatening conditions, research has yet to show the concentration or period of exposure that produces these results.

With these unique indications, the National Institutes of Health have recognized this wide array of symptoms to be its own disease called Sick Building Syndrome or SBS. This is followed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission releasing that up to 30% of new and remodeled commercial building occupants are complaining of significant and health threats relating to indoor air quality. Until more information is available, it is important to ensure that indoor air quality is up to standard regardless if symptoms are noticeable or not.

Airborne Diseases:

Increased indoor circulation is especially important for decreasing the transmission of airborne diseases. When someone spits, sneezes, laughs, coughs, or is in close contact, pathogens are released into the air. Stagnant air creates a sustainable environment for pathogens that suspend themselves on dust particles, respiratory and water droplets. These pathogens are either then inhaled and encounter mucus membranes or touched and exposed to the skin. Once a person is contaminated, they are at risk of developing diseases such as influenza, whooping cough, tuberculosis, measles, or COVID-19. While many of these diseases are not fatal, they can cause severe sickness for certain, sensitive groups.   

While there is no control for airborne diseases, maintaining a healthy diet, getting sunlight, taking vitamins, washing hands, cleaning your space, and monitoring circulation patterns is efficient in combating these diseases.

How to Improve Circulation Patterns:

FAMCO offers a variety of products that can help aid the Indoor Air Quality and circulation patterns of a home. Dampers act like a lifeguard, waiting to go into action for when there is imbalance within a home or building. Indoor air quality often shifts up or down, causing the IAQ system to make adjustments.  The damper system helps manage these changes in air traffic. This management acts as a gated system for the home, turning on and off according to changes in the Indoor Air Quality within the space.

Our dampers come in a variety of styles to help adjust the air pressure, temperature, or humidity in a room. Once a predetermined target value is reached, the damper will open or shut to ensure the desired air quality condition . FAMCO offers motorized dampers, backdraft and inline butterfly dampers, and pressure relief dampers. See how FAMCO can help you find a damper to improve your Indoor Air Quality by visiting the website at: famcomfg.com

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