How Mother Nature Can Affect Your Indoor Air Quality
During natural disasters, such as the California and Australian wildfires or Hurricane Dorian, people’s first priority is the well-being of their families. Once everyone is safe and the disaster has passed, it becomes a matter of picking up the pieces and returning to “normal” daily life if not forced to relocate elsewhere. Beyond repairing the physical damage, many are unaware that these disasters can also impact their air quality. Thanks to the growing availability of at-home air purifiers, there are tools that can help you remove dangerous particles in the air after a natural disaster.
Natural disasters may be extreme and bring huge problems, but smaller elements from Mother Nature can also affect the quality of air that you’re breathing. Heavy nuances of rain, extremely windy conditions, or fires in very populated areas can bring some of the same problems, such as moisture in houses resulting in mold, or winds carrying unwanted elements from industrial sites.
However, these larger natural disasters seem to be happening more frequently, so educating yourself on the dangers they have on the air quality can help protect your family during these unexpected times.
- Wildfires: Smoke from wildfires is made up of gases and fine particles produced when wood and other organic materials burn. These microscopic particles can not only get into your eyes and respiratory system, and cause problems such as burning eyes, runny nose, and illnesses, but also aggravate chronic heart and lung diseases.
- Droughts/Dust Storms: During a drought or in areas where dust is prominent, dust storms produce tiny solid particles that can get into your lungs and cause serious health problems or worsen existing conditions. If dust gets into your lungs, it can cause irritation and trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks, in addition to coughing, wheezing and runny noses.
Hurricanes/Storms: While debris and dangerous particles can get into the air and your home during these storms, one of the most common problems is flooding. Water can get into your house and seep into the walls and furniture, which can cause dangerous mold. Mold produces allergens and irritants, and if inhaled or touched, can cause allergic reactions including sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash.
- Volcano Eruptions: Volcanoes can emit ash, gases, and rocks into the air for miles downwind of an eruption. Exposure to the volcanic ash can be harmful to people with respiratory conditions such as asthma, emphysema, and other chronic lung diseases, and these small particles can even scratch your eyes. While most gases can blow away quickly, heavy gasses such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, and sulfur dioxide can remain and irritate the eyes, nose, and throat.
Managing Your Indoor Air QualityWhile some of these natural disasters might not be common in the area you live, they are impacting the quality of the air you and your family are breathing. When you aren’t able to eliminate exposure to pollution, there are ways you can improve the indoor air quality in your home. If you live in an area where natural disasters are common, having a solution in place to clean your air quality is a necessary part of your family’s emergency preparedness.
Changing air filters regularly or installing a portable air purifying device in your home can help reduce the impact of dust and allergens year-round, but is particularly important after a natural disaster. These typically work by pulling in the air in your home, passing that air through various filters or other purification methods, and then releasing the cleaner air back into your home. Over time, this process filters out dangerous elements in the air, resulting in a cleaner overall environment.
It should be noted that not every air purifier is the same, as some can only filter down to 300nm. As some of the most dangerous particles are between 5 and 300nm in size, this is something to consider when looking for the right device for your home. Additionally, certain methods of purifying release harmful outgasses as a byproduct and should be avoided. Using a combination of three manual filters, the G200 is the world’s only portable air purifier to emit cleanroom-quality air. This allows you to reduce the number of ultrafine air particles until 99.99999% of particulate matter is removed, protecting the lungs of those you love.
Removing mold, smoke or other dangerous particles from the air in your home is an essential step to recovering from a natural disaster. By using an at-home air purifier, you can ensure you’re protecting your family and creating the best environment possible as your lives return to normal.