Air quality at home: What you should know

by | Feb 13, 2023 | Health and Wellness

During the winter months, many of us spend more time at home, or gather with friends and family indoors. While we continue to do so, it’s important to make sure that we take steps to maintain and improve the quality of the air indoors.

Air quality matters inside too
Even if your home is vacuumed, dusted, scrubbed and polished, there may still be pollutants in your indoor air. This can have an impact on your health. For some, dust, mould and chemicals from cleaning products can trigger allergic reactions, or cause other health symptoms. Spending more time indoors with others can also make spreading respiratory viruses like COVID-19 and the flu easier.

Replacing stale indoor air with outdoor air is one of the simplest ways to improve indoor air quality. In addition to reducing the amount of indoor air pollutants, good ventilation also helps to prevent the build-up of indoor moisture, keeps air flowing through your space, and reduces the spread of infectious particles.

What you can do to improve it
There are plenty of simple ways to get better air quality at home:

  • Open windows and doors whenever possible, even if only for a few minutes at a time.
  • Run a kitchen or bathroom exhaust fan at low speed and open a window for replacement air.
  • Use an air purifier, sized correctly for the room, with a high-efficiency particulate air filter.
  • Regularly clean or replace the filters in your ventilation system.
  • If your home has a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy recovery ventilator (ERV), run it continuously.

Better indoor air can help reduce the spread of illness
Gathering in closed and crowded indoor spaces can make it easier to spread respiratory viruses, like COVID-19, the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Some respiratory viruses can spread from person to person through the air by small particles called aerosols. For example, when someone who has COVID-19 breathes, talks, sings, shouts, sneezes or coughs, they can release respiratory particles with the virus into the air and spread it to others. Good ventilation can reduce the buildup of these infectious particles in your home and help you stay healthier this winter, especially when combined with other measures, like staying home when sick, wearing a mask in crowded indoor spaces and regular hand washing.

Find more information on continuing to protect against COVID-19 at canada.ca/respiratory-viruses.

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