Shipton's CleanAir Solutions Blog
When your child wakes up sick, you know it is only a matter of time before you do too. Not only are you worried about your child’s health, but now you are feeling lousy on top of it.
On average, children do tend to get sick more frequently because their immune systems are still developing. Even ill, they continue sharing. What this amounts to is that the smaller, younger people in your household are a virus’s best friend.
But while you can expect a certain amount and regularity of illness in your child’s life, chronic coughs, respiratory infections, headaches, asthma or allergy attacks may be a sign of a more urgent problem—with your indoor air quality.
How can you know for sure what is causing your child’s repeated illness? Read on to find out!
How Bad Is the Indoor Air Pollution Problem?
Indoor air toxicity is on the rise throughout North America and it is outpacing outdoor air toxicity scores as well.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that our indoor air is up to five times more toxic than our outdoor air.
Recent data from the EPA also tells us that most children, like most adults, spend up to 90 percent of the average day indoors.
This basically means your child is spending the vast majority of their immune-building years dealing with an overtaxed immune system.
While you may not be able to exert as much control as you like over the quality of the indoor air at your children’s school, the one place where you can have total control is at home.
How to Know Indoor Air Quality May Be Making Your Child Sick
To get a sense of how much toxic indoor air may be influencing your child’s overall state of health, it helps to learn more about the most common symptoms of exposure to toxic air.
Eye, nose and throat irritation
Fluid buildup in the inner ear
Shortness of breath/wheezing
For expectant parents, the risks are potentially much higher.
With exposure to common indoor air toxins comes an increased risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), low birth weights, slow growth rates, neurological abnormalities, lung abnormalities, developmental delays and cognitive impairments, including lower IQ.
What Is In Toxic Indoor Air?
The types of toxins your child breathes in can definitely correlate to the specific health symptoms they are experiencing.
But answering the specific question of which toxins your child may be breathing in can get quite complex very quickly. There are more than 4,000 known toxins present in just a puff of secondhand tobacco smoke!
These are the top seven major categories of airborne toxins your child is likely to encounter.
Secondhand tobacco smoke is one of the most common and damaging of all airborne toxins. Nitrogen oxide, or NO, is one of the best-known of the more than 4,000 known toxins contained in secondhand smoke.
Volatile organic compounds are found in many products today, from furniture and furnishings to home cleaners and crafts adhesives. Perhaps the best-known VOC is formaldehyde.
Common allergens include pet dander, pollen, mould and mildew, bacteria, viral germs, insects and dust mites.
4. Carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide, CO, is called the “silent killer.” This by-product of incomplete combustion is odourless and colourless.
Radon is a naturally occurring byproduct of decaying uranium, a naturally occurring metal with radioactive properties.
Lead is a potent poison that can cause permanent damage even in small amounts.
Pesticides, herbicides and insecticides are poisonous to people as well as insects.
How to Find Out Which Toxins Are in Your Indoor Air
Cleaning up your indoor air begins with figuring out what is toxifying your indoor air. For this, what you need is a simple, quiet, 72-hour professional indoor air quality test.
The test will take air samples from key areas throughout your home and collate the results by toxin and percentage. Tested areas including common living areas, kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, garage, attic and the surrounding yard.
At the end of the test period you will receive a detailed full-color report as well as air quality cleanup recommendations.
Indoor Air Quality Cleanup ASAP
If you already know your indoor air is toxic (for example, because someone in your household smokes regularly), you may not need to do the full 72-hour indoor air quality test to know additional details.
In this case, you can skip ahead to the remedies. This is what we recommend doing, in this order, to permanently repair your indoor air quality.
1. Have your indoor air ducts professionally cleaned and sanitized
If your home has central HVAC, air duct cleaning is a must. Without removing the toxins trapped inside your air ducts, the rest of the remedies are at best a band-aid against the larger problem.
2. Install a HEPA air filtration system
HEPA is still used in hospitals and laboratories today, but now there are residential units as well. HEPA filtration systems filter out tiny toxins as small as 1/100th the width of a single human hair.
3. Add a U.V. air purification system
Ultraviolet light purification is the most powerful deterrent to airborne liquid and gaseous toxins.
4. Install a heat recovery ventilator
The heat recovery ventilator will keep your indoor humidity balanced, ensure constant ventilation and recycle heat to lower your energy bills.
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