Dust is common in all indoor spaces; you’ll find it in your office, home, and almost every building you enter. But just because it’s common, it does not mean we should ignore its potentially harmful effects on our health. Let’s take a closer look a what dust is, its health effects and how we can improve our indoor air quality by better managing dust.
Sources of Dust
Some of the most common sources of dust include:
- Outdoor Pollutants: Pollen, dirt, and other outdoor pollutants can easily make their way into our homes through open windows, doors, and ventilation systems. In areas with high pollution levels, these outdoor particles can be a major source of indoor dust.
- Human and Pet Dander: Skin cells, hair, and other organic matter shed by humans and pets can contribute to dust in the indoor environment. Even if you don’t have pets, your own skin cells and hair can add to the amount of dust in your home.
- Pollen: Pollen from plants can enter our homes through open windows and doors, as well as on our clothing and shoes. If you suffer from allergies, this can be a significant source of indoor dust, exacerbating your symptoms.
- Everyday Products: Cleaning products and air fresheners can release chemicals and particles into the air that contribute to indoor dust. These products can include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can have adverse health effects when inhaled.
Dust mites are tiny arachnids (not insects) commonly found in household dust. They are microscopic and cannot be seen with the naked eye. Dust mites feed on dead skin cells shed by humans and animals, which are commonly found in household dust. They thrive in warm and humid environments, making bedding, upholstered furniture, and carpeting ideal habitats. Dust mites are not harmful to most people, but some may experience allergic reactions to their waste products, which can cause symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes.
Here are some additional facts about dust in indoor spaces:
- An average person sheds 1.5 grams of skin flakes daily, which may not seem like a lot, but that’s enough to feed a million dust mites.
- The excrement of dust mites is recognized as a significant indoor allergen that can trigger allergic reactions and asthma symptoms in people.
- Roughly four out of five homes in the United States have detectable dust mite allergen levels in at least one bed.
Inhaling dust can have various negative health effects, particularly for those with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems. Dust particles can be small enough to enter the lungs and cause irritation and inflammation, leading to various respiratory symptoms.
Here are some of the specific health effects associated with inhaling dust:
- Allergies: Dust is a common allergen and can trigger allergic reactions in some people. Symptoms of dust allergies can include sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, a runny nose, and congestion. In some cases, dust allergies can even trigger asthma symptoms.
- Asthma: Inhaling dust can trigger asthma attacks in people with asthma. Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterized by inflammation of the airways, which can lead to symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
- Respiratory Problems: Inhaling dust can also cause other respiratory problems, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
There are several ways to manage dust in the indoor environment. Here are some tips:
- Regular Cleaning: Regular cleaning is one of the most effective ways to manage dust accumulation. This includes vacuuming carpets and furniture, dusting surfaces, and wiping down counters and floors.
- Vacuuming: Use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust from carpets and upholstery effectively.
- Dusting: Use a damp or microfiber cloth to dust surfaces, which helps trap dust instead of spreading it around.
- Air Purifying: Consider using an air purifier with a HEPA filter to remove dust particles from the air.
- Changing HVAC Filters: Regularly changing HVAC filters prevents dust and debris from accumulating on the filter, ensuring the HVAC system is performing effectively.
Can Air Purifiers Help With Dust?
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters effectively remove small particles from the air, including dust, pollen, and pet dander. A true HEPA filter is rated to capture particles at 0.3 microns in size with 99.97% efficiency, but it can also capture much larger and smaller particles. Although an air purifier cannot remove particles altogether, with regular use, it can provide a significant reduction in household dust.
The Blade HEPA air purifiers go a step further by incorporating an active carbon filter to absorb unwanted odours, VOCs and organic compounds, creating that crisp, fresh air feel. Engineered to maximize clean air delivery rates, our air purifiers feature a comprehensive multi-stage filtration process to ensure a completely clean air environment in any deployed indoor setting.