Coronavirus, Indoor Air Quality, & Health!
First and foremost, our prayers to everyone. Stay safe and follow protocols.
Currently, the number of COVID-19 cases is growing in the District, Maryland and Virginia. To stop the spread, health officials are asking people to stay home and self-isolate.
Now that we are all asked to spend more time indoors, indoor air quality is even a higher priority to ensuring that your family stays healthy.
This article has two distinct goals.
First, we explain how you can prevent contracting coronavirus and provide you with 7 tips to safeguard your home from COVID-19.Second, we explain why you should be concerned about the indoor air quality of your home.
How Can I Prevent Contracting COVID-19?
“Coronavirus” is an umbrella term for many types of viruses. This group of viruses has been known for decades and can cause respiratory diseases in both people and animals. What has been most publicized lately is the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — COVID-19 (previously 2019-nCoV), which is a new strain. According to the World Health Organization, this strain had not been previously identified in humans.
The COVID-19 has infected hundreds of thousands of people, starting in China December 2019. Since then, it has spread to Iran, Italy, and the rest of the world. This has resulted in a public scare of a global epidemic.
Those infected with COVID-19 show varied symptoms. They can be mildly sick or severely ill. The death toll continues to rise with more cases worldwide.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 symptoms may include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath and may appear after exposure in as little as 2 days or as many as 14 days.
The CDC believes that the virus spreads similarly to influenza pathogens. That means it is possible to contract it by being in contact with an infected person that’s coughing or sneezing or simply by touching contaminated surfaces.
Currently, there’s no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection, so follow these tips to avoid being exposed to the virus:
- Restrict Travel – Avoid travel until the virus has ran its course. Given the fact that the virus has already made its way into more than 60 countries in a matter of a few months, it’s best to stay home and try to avoid contracting the virus.
- Wash Your Hands – By washing your hands, you are keeping the germs at bay and preventing them from spreading from one person to another. Washing your hands for a few seconds isn’t sufficient either. You need to spend about 20-30 seconds washing both the front and the back of your hand with a nice lather. This will help reduce the chances of any germs hanging on and causing illness.
- Cover Your Face – If you feel a sneeze or cough coming on, cover your face to prevent germs from spraying in the air and potentially infecting others. You want to contain your own germs as much as possible.
- Stay Away from Large Gatherings – Large social gatherings are a breeding ground for sickness and illness. Maintaining your distance from others is the best way you can keep your family safe. Try to maintain a distance of around six feet if possible. Because this isn’t possible at large gatherings and events, it’s far better to forgo attending the event and staying home for the time being.
- Use Hand Sanitizer – If you are out in public and unable to get to a restroom where you can wash your hands, the best thing you can do is to use a hand sanitizer with a 60%+ alcohol content. However, that doesn’t mean that you should use sanitizer as the go-to solution. Once you are able to find a place where you can wash your hands with soap and water, you should do so to keep yourself as safe as possible. While it’s a good temporary solution, it should only be used when there isn’t a better alternative.
- Keep Surfaces Clean – How often do you clean the surfaces in your home? Many people only clean their surfaces when something is spilled on them and can’t just be wiped up with a paper towel. One of the best things you can do as a family is to clean the surfaces in your home at least a couple of times per week. This will help minimize the chance of germs forming and spreading from one surface to the next. The cleaner you can keep your space, the less chance that the disease can spread between rooms or from one person to another through contact. Use disinfectant wipes to clean sinks, counters, light switches, door handles and any other frequently touched surface.
7 Cleaning Tips To Prevent COVID-19 Spread!
- 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.
The Impact Of Indoor Air On Health!
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.
- According to the EPA, 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.
- 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.
How Do I Know If My Indoor Air Is Making Me 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.
Top 8 Actions You Can Take To Improve 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. As we have written about before, 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.
Got Coronavirus, Indoor Air Quality, & Health Questions?
Valor Mold is here to help! We are indoor air quality cleaning specialists and know exactly how to clean the air in your home and get rid of pollutants such as pollen, mold, lead, dust mites, fire retardants, phthalates (plastics), carcinogenic carbons from soot and cooking (Polynuclear aromatics), and pesticides. Call 703-897-7121 or send us an e-mail if you have concerns about your indoor air quality. Peace of mind is just a phone call away. We look forward to serving you! 🙂
Keeping Your Family Healthy During #COVID19 https://t.co/Fox9jvnZi4 explains how you can prevent contracting #coronavirus and provides you with tips to safeguard your home. We also explain why you should be concerned about the indoor air quality of your home. PLEASE RETWEET pic.twitter.com/OIVIzNxsxa
— Valor Mold (@ValorMold) April 15, 2020