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What Are The Typical Symptoms Of Poor Indoor Air Quality?

• irritations of eyes, nose, and throat

• dry mucous membranes and skin

• erythema (reddening or flushing of the skin); rashes

• mental fatigue, headache, and sleepiness

• airway infections, cough

• hoarseness, wheezing

• nausea, dizziness

• unspecific hypersensitivity reactions

Exposure to poor air quality may not result in a rapid, acute onset of symptoms; instead, there may be slow, subtle effects. The symptoms are often subjective, and other problems or stressors (including heat stress) may aggravate the problem. Some individuals may be particularly sensitive. Since people exposed to poor indoor air quality frequently experience subjective symptoms, they are often viewed as over-emotional or simply complainers – so it is important to place this problem on a scientific basis so as to be able to take a more constructive, problem solving approach.

In this image you can see 3 Major Office Problems with Poor Indoor Air Quality

What Can You Do To Correct Poor Indoor Air Quality Problems?

If ventilation is inadequate, increase the fresh air supply to meet the recommendations. Check to make sure that the air intakes and exhausts for each room are functioning. Ventilation adequacy can be verified by measuring the air concentration of carbon dioxide during occupancy.

If indoor sources are the problem, choose alternative products or eliminate the use of troublesome products. Schedule product usage or construction/remodeling for times when it will have the least impact on occupants; consider changing schedules or using flextime or time off for sensitive individuals such as those who are pregnant, those with allergies or those who have respiratory, cardiovascular, or other problems that the exposure could adversely affect. Provide better ventilation or local exhaust ventilation for specific contaminant sources.

If outside sources are the problem, separate air intakes from exhausts or raise exhausts higher to prevent exhaust air from being drawn back inside. Prevent vehicles from idling for long periods of time near air intakes; some states or cities have health or environmental regulations which forbid idling. Separate a garage’s part of the ventilation system from that servicing the rest of the building. Verify air pressure in the building relative to the outside; a building that is under negative pressure could cause drains, sanitary stacks, or exhaust vents to run backwards.

If biological contamination is the problem, make sure there is adequate cleaning and maintenance of air intakes, filters, and ductwork. Fix leaks, condensation, and standing water in the building or the ventilation system. Send the condensation from coils or air conditioners to a drain. Discard water damaged items and those with porous surfaces. Disinfect nonporous materials. If building fabric is the problem, baking-off may help. Check insulation to verify its proper installation, and conduct air monitoring.

Contact an expert in the field of ventilation to assist you with the testing of your air quality. Curvent International (PTY) Ltd is a leader in the field of Ventilation & Fire Ventilation. Contact them on 011 826 5959 to arrange for an expert's advice.

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