COVID-19, Indoor Air Quality, & Health!
In our efforts to educate you about COVID-19, our last article provided you with answers to the top 7 questions.
One of the questions we are often asked relates to indoor air quality, which has become even more important today because of social distancing and other measures.
Now that we are spending more time indoors, indoor air quality is even a higher priority to help your family stay healthy.
This article has two distinct goals.
First, we provide you with 7 tips to safeguard your home from COVID-19.
Second, we outline some of the concerns about indoor air quality that you should be aware of.
If you have any questions or need some help, don’t hesitate to reach out to Flood Response. In addition to our COVID-19 cleaning service, we also offer mold removal, carpet cleaning, and air duct cleaning, just a few services designed to ensure that your home or business has the cleanest air possible. Peace of mind is just a phone call away, (760) 343-3933!
Top 7 Tips To Prevent COVID-19 Spread In Your Home Or Business!
- Clean Touch Points: It’s wise to first tackle common touch points, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets and sinks. These touch points are where you will find most of the contaminants, and that’s where you’re going to have a recurring problem.
- Use Stronger Cleaning Products: We also recommend that you use stronger cleaning products that have higher concentrations of germ-killing substances. Homemade cleaning products are usually not as effective as chemical-based ones. Dish soap and water is going to be 50 times, if not 100 times better than vinegar and water.
- Read Labels: Please read the labels and follow instructions on cleaning products. You want to look at the label, you want to look to make sure it is certified. Instructions need to be followed precisely in order for products to work properly. If you don’t apply the product according to label directions, you are not going to get the promised kill and the only way you’re going to be able to find that out is by reading the directions.
- Follow A 2 Step Process: Step one is to clean. Step two is disinfect. One of the reasons that disinfectant wipes are so sought after is they accomplish both steps all in one.
- Don’t Cross Contaminate: We advise people to wear disposable gloves and masks while cleaning and to change them frequently to avoid cross-contamination.
- Disinfect Laundry: We recommend using the warmest settings approved for garments during laundry and adding a disinfectant.
- Wash hands: Washing hands frequently for over 20 seconds at a time is very important.
If you have significant cleaning needs or just need some help, please contact Flood Response. We offer a deep cleaning process.
When our technicians arrive at the job site they do a quick walkthrough to ensure that the area is ready for cleaning services. Then, they determine the ﬂow of the work to do the work as efﬁciently as possible.
Our cleanup technicians wear a full-face respirator plus filter cartridges to guard against splashes coming in contact with the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, or eyes. They also wear Biohazard protective coveralls, shoe covers, and Nitrile gloves.
The cleaning products we use include EPA-registered hospital-grade disinfecting products, including towelettes, containing pharmaceutical ingredients that meet OSHA’s bloodborne pathogen standard against diseases like the coronavirus and other disease-causing bacteria, viruses, tuberculosis, mold, and mildew.
If you have any questions about the COVID-19 cleaning services we offer, please call us, (760) 343-3933!
Now that you understand how to keep your home or business clean and safe from COVID-19, let’s explore the impact that indoor air can have on health.
Indoor Air Quality Stats!
Most people are unaware that their indoor air could be polluted.
We spend 90% of our time indoors, relying on our HVAC systems to create a constant stream of healthy air. According to the EPA:
- Indoor air quality is one of the top environmental risks to public health.
- 60% of all homes and buildings have poor air quality.
- Pollution indoors is approximately 2 to 5 times worse than outdoors.
- 1 out of 10 Americans never change the filters on their heating and air conditioning units.
- Particulate matter in indoor pollution inflames the airways and lungs, causing allergic reactions and impairs breathing.
- Babies inhale the equivalent of four cigarettes a day crawling on the floor because they are inhaling chemicals from carpets, mildew, fungi, dust mites, and mold.
- 80% of Americans are exposed to indoor allergens, including dust mites and pet dander that causes allergic reactions.
- About 1 million people in the world die each year from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease caused by poor indoor air quality.
- About 2 million people in the world die each year from illnesses attributable to indoor air quality.
- Nearly 3 billion people in the world are at risk because of indoor air pollution.
Your health is dependent on the the quality of the air you breathe.
Indoor air pollution is not visible to the naked eye, meaning the quality of your air could be making you sick without you even knowing it.
Despite your efforts to maintain a clean and healthy household, you still may be getting sick because of indoor pollutants.
Top 10 Causes Of Poor Indoor Air Quality?
Contaminated air can seep in from the outside or could be caused by indoor sources like construction materials, consumer products, mold, insects, and pets. The effect of pollutants is compounded by poor ventilation which allows pollutants to accumulate to unhealthy levels.
Poor indoor air quality in your home or business could also be caused by factors such as the building design, heating/cooling design, and/or previous water damage.
Other potential causes of poor indoor air quality include the following:
- High humidity levels which is a common cause of mold growth.
- Airborne dust problems from poorly maintained ducts or other sources in the building.
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) which are chemicals released by building materials and furniture.
- Inadequate ventilation caused by mechanical or building issues.
- Combustion problems leading to high levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) or Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
- Sewer gas leakages, leading to odors.
- Recurring water damage, causing growth of mold and other bacteria.
- Radon, the second highest cause of lung cancer, most likely seeping through the foundation in your basement.
- Radioactive marble or granite in the home.
- Air borne asbestos, a cause of mesothelioma.
Clues Your Indoor Air Is Making You Sick!
Our bodies are designed to rid ourselves of toxins and pollutants, this is one of the reasons that we get sick and experience colds and flus.
However, if you or other’s in your family always seem to be sick, the air you are breathing could be the cause.
Do you consistently have these health issues?
- Respiratory issues such as asthma, sinusitis, and other respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia;
- Excessive coughing and/or a breathless feeling;
- Dizziness, confusion, malaise, trouble concentrating, and other cognitive disorders;
- Skin irritation, itchiness, and rashes;
- Ear and/or eye infections
If you consistently experience these symptoms, the air you are breathing could be the cause.
A simple test is to record how you feel when you are away from your home or business. If you feel sick when you are in your home or business, but feel much better when you are away, then this could be a clue that the air is making you sick.
8 Ways To Improve Your Indoor Air Quality!
If you are concerned that your property is causing health concerns, then here are some actions that CEO of Wonder Makers, Michael Pinto, recommends you can take to improve the indoor air quality in your home or business:
- Do a thorough house cleaning. Properly identify and dispose of containers of old chemicals, pesticides, paints, fuels, deodorants, firewood, scrap lumber, and other materials that could harbor biological growth or become a source of chemical contaminants.
- Identify and correct all water intrusion problems. The primary cause of mold issues is moisture and water. To prevent mold, you need to check the home for leaks in the roof, pipes, under appliances, etc. Exterior water intrusion can be caused by seepage, dirty eaves, downspouts directing water towards the home, etc. Goal is to prevent moisture from entering the home. If you live in an area prone to floods and sewer back ups, install a sump pump.
- Check appliances for proper functioning. Furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, water heaters, and other appliances, particularly gas or propane fired appliances, should be checked on a regular basis by a trained professional. These checks should include measurements for carbon monoxide and natural gas/propane to minimize the chance of explosion or asphyxiation. Install carbon monoxide detectors for extra peace of mind.
- Improve filtration on furnace and air conditioning systems. Use pleated paper filters, combination paper and charcoal filters, or install an electronic air filter to dramatically improve air quality. Improved filtration will not only stop particulate matters such as mold, dust, fibers, etc. but will also trap the bacteria and viruses that “hitch a ride” on such particles as they make their way through the air.
- Replace standard vacuums with high efficiency filtration models. Many vacuum manufacturers now have models that have HEPA filters. These high efficiency filters trap the finest dust particles that normally are propelled out of a bag or canister style vacuum after the heavy debris is deposited inside.
- Consider having your ductwork cleaned. The ductwork is the circulatory system for the home’s air. In new homes the ducts are often contaminated with debris from the construction process while older homes could suffer from buildup of contaminants over time.
- Utilize portable room air cleaners for individuals that have asthmatic symptoms or significant allergies. The use of room air cleaners, particularly in the bedroom, can create a zone of relief for individuals that are sensitive to indoor and outdoor pollutants. Eight to ten hours of exposure to clean air in the bedroom is often enough time for many people’s bodies to recover from the assaults that occur outside, in school, or in the workplace.
- Consider a professional inspection if symptoms persist and do-it-yourself measures are unsuccessful. The easiest way to determine if the air you are breathing is making you sick is to call an indoor air quality specialist to test the air. Indoor air quality professionals have specialized equipment that can test the air for radon, mold spores, and other pollutants. If the tests show mold or other contaminants are in the air, take steps to deal with the sources of contamination.