The primary causes of indoor air quality problems are pollution sources that release gases or particles into the air. Inadequate ventilation traps the pollutants in the home. Once in the air, these pollutants can be inhaled and may trigger allergic attacks like asthma and rhinitis in susceptible individuals.
The most common indoor pollutants are:
- Allergens from house dust mites
- Allergens from pet (dog and cat) dander
- Mould spores
- Cigarette smoke
Allergens from insect and animal pests (cockroaches, mice and rats)
High temperatures and humidity levels in the home can also help to increase concentrations of some biological pollutants such as dust mite allergens and mould spores. Improved ventilation in the home can help reduce these effects. Simply improving the flow of air through the house by opening windows can aid the removal of allergens.
The use of dehumidifiers can help to control moulds and dust mites, which need humid environments to thrive. Some dehumidifiers incorporate electrostatic or HEPA filters, carbon filters and anti-fungal or anti-bacterial filters to prevent build-up of microbes in the dehumidifier.
Air purifiers, which filter the air of harmful pollutants, can help improve air quality. The critical factors affecting performance are capacity in relation to the room and the use of HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, which remove very fine particles such as allergens.
Cleaning disturbs dust. When cleaning, try to avoid making allergens airborne. Vacuum cleaners with high-filtration HEPA filters prevent fine particles escaping to the air, and commercially available electrostatically charged dusters bind dust particles to prevent them being redistributed. Wet dusting will have the same effect, although this will increase the humidity in the home and may make dust mite problems worse.
Acaris is a private healthcare company taking a leading position in the provision of innovative solutions for the control of allergies.