Since indoor air quality (IAQ) is closely tied to productivity, we are bringing you five ways to improve your home environment.
Is the indoor air quality at universities impacting student health and academic performance? Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that the answer is yes. A big reason for this is the widespread presence of mold in classrooms.
I have been managing my asthma my entire life. As a child, I spent many nights in the ER. Gasping for air in the middle of the night has become a consistent experience. The most alarming aspect of having an asthma attack is that it can be almost impossible to predict. I’ve learned to anticipate the awful dread that comes over me, while asleep, when I wake up in a panic as my body alerts me to the fact that I must do something because I am not able to inhale enough oxygen.
While it’s easy to visualize “air pollution” as images of cars idling or toxic gases coming out of smokestacks, the indoor environment can also be impacted in subtle ways. Since air quality is largely invisible, it’s crucial to monitor its effects at home and in businesses because pollutants can come from inside sources, such as household cleaning chemicals and upholstery polishes, or outdoor air can enter buildings and impact human health. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has said that “Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.” Everything from aerosol sprays to building materials can play a role in releasing harmful byproducts that pose threats to health, safety, and comfort.
While it can be easy to view extreme weather events as only impacting the outdoor space, this is far from the truth. When natural disasters hit, they affect our indoor air quality (IAQ) and can increase the risk of health conditions. In fact, in 2020, “36 counties in Washington, Oregon, and California experienced very unhealthy air quality ratings due to particulate matter from wildfire season,” according to NPR’s analysis of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data.
As the summer months roll on, some teachers and parents have back to school on their minds. Earlier this year, there were a mix of K-12 classroom dynamics as the vaccine was being distributed across states. Many schools reopened in some capacity, but others were in a completely remote or hybrid format. Now, as younger age groups are waiting for the “green light” for the vaccine, school officials are faced with classroom health and safety questions.
If there’s one lesson that employees and employers have learned over the last year, it’s to never take health for granted. One factor that continuously contributes to individuals' daily health and wellness is indoor air quality (IAQ). Whether at work or at home, IAQ can impact sleep patterns, productivity levels, and overall comfort.
How often are school absences due to asthma? Unfortunately, the answer is: it's very common.
It’s been a tough year for parents and school kids. Both have endured a historic disruption of the education system, and rapidly shifted to virtual schooling. Many parents set up a place to work from home, whether at the kitchen table, on the couch, or creating an office in an extra room, while also creating space for their children to learn remotely. The kids have not had it easy either and are well aware that they are missing many traditional rites of passage during lockdown, such as proms, sports, and extracurricular activities.
In these pandemic-stricken times, it’s paramount to stay healthy as we prepare for the end of the year. Doing so helps ensure that we can enjoy ourselves and see loved ones safely. One way to stay healthy during the holiday season has always been to ensure your indoor air, whether at home, school, or work, is optimized for health. Now, with the persistence of COVID-19 restrictions, monitoring your indoor environment is even more critical, as is following safety protocols from your local and state governments.
Every year on Thanksgiving we find ourselves in the same pattern: eating much more than we promised we would, then spending the evening fighting the expected wave of fatigue. As we struggle to keep our eyes open, we’re reminded of the common myth that the big meal or turkey dinner is to blame--especially since we’ve been told that turkey contains tryptophan, which is a chemical responsible for making us feel tired.
We know. It's difficult to believe the winter solstice and the holiday season are already here. Unfortunately, the cold season is one of the worst times of year for indoor air quality, either at home or at work. People huddle inside tightly-sealed buildings and trade ventilation for heating. This traps pollutants and moisture in, which is a recipe for bad air.