You protect your car from salt and damaging hail. You likely don’t leave that expensive bike in winter snows. But we frequently expose our most precious possessions, our family, to the discomfort, debilitating effects, or even life-threatening impact of poor indoor air quality (IAQ). How can IAQ impact the health of your loved ones, and what can you do to minimize this risk?

How does poor IAQ impact your health?

Here are some of the health risks associated with the many things impacting poor IAQ – pollutants, mold, dangerous gasses, asbestos, lead, and secondhand smoke:

These risks vary from simple irritation to life-threatening issues, and they put some people more at risk than others. As anticipated, children and seniors, and anyone with heart or lung disease find themselves more susceptible to these health issues.

Some of these health effects are immediate too. The EPA explains “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.” Other risks have long-term effects. Chronic exposure to indoor pollutants may prompt cancer, lung maladies or heart disease.

What’s the solution?

As noted above, the immediate symptoms of exposure to poor air quality can mimic the common cold virus, masking the underlying problem. To protect the health of your family, consider testing your IAQ. You can perform some home air quality tests by purchasing air quality monitors, at-home radon test kits, or installing carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home (a recommended practice). But, what do you do if your IAQ fails the tests? How do you detect if the other pollutants like mold, asbestos, and lead are present in your home? 

Addressing some IAQ issues can be as simple as changing your furnace filter. But major problems threatening your family’s health require immediate and professional attention. Consider calling professionals who can test your IAQ, and then advise you on safe and effective ways to improve the quality of your indoor air and professionally remedy the problems for you.