For individuals recovering in the home, it is important to monitor environmental factors such air quality. In certain locations such as Southern California’s Victor Valley, dust and other airborne debris can easily accumulate in the home making breathing difficult for patients. Poor indoor air quality can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat as well as bronchial passages. If the air quality is especially bad, it can even lead to chronic heart and lung problems.
There are many sources of home air pollution and can manifest through various ways including tobacco smoke, gas burning appliances, radon emissions, mold, and other allergens. Home air pollution and subsequent breathing problems can be exacerbated by poor ventilation, high heat, and high humidity. The most common respiratory problem experienced by home health patients, especially children is asthma.
Asthma acts on the lungs as an inflammatory process and can occur along the entire airway from the nasal passages to the bronchial airways. Once the airway swells due to this inflammation, it becomes narrow and a lower volume of air passes through to the lung tissue. Symptoms of respiratory distress due to environmental factors include wheezing, coughing, and tightness in the chest. During an asthma attack, the muscles that control airway movement tighten up making symptoms worse than usual. Besides dust, mold, and other allergens pet dander can contribute to problems in home air quality.
In fact, a study done by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 100% of U.S. homes had detectable levels of dog and cat allergens, even though pets were present in only 56% of the surveyed homes. The study concluded that the majority of homes had high levels of pet allergens that exceeded the threshold for allergic sensitivity, while approximately 33% had allergen levels high enough to produce asthma symptoms.
Installing air filters and detectors with battery backups are an effective way to monitor airborne toxins and allergens in the home environment. This is essential if someone in the home is recovering from a respiratory illness or suffers from asthma. These detectors can alert you to the presence of dangerous environmental elements including radon and carbon monoxide. They are easily accessible at most home improvement centers and install in a matter of minutes.