Now that summer is over and cold weather is gripping Monterey and many other parts of the country, children and adults are spending more time indoors. People often think that being outside in cold weather causes illness and consider a warm indoor environment a refuge. The reality, however, is that spending the majority of the day indoors can actually make people sick, which can affect all aspects of life.
What Causes Poor Indoor Air Quality
During the winter, people understandably want to keep cold air out. The problem is that lack of ventilation can keep pollutants inside a building, where people breathe them in all day. The issue is particularly widespread in schools, which are often decades old and not ventilated as well as modern businesses.
Many types of pollutants are found in schools. Academic supplies, cleaning products with phthalates, mold, and allergens students carry to school on their clothes can affect the air quality inside the building. Outdoor air pollution can also make its way into schools. If buses idle outside in the morning and afternoon, the exhaust can affect the air quality around and inside the school. Without proper ventilation, students can be exposed to airborne contaminants day in and day out.
How Poor Air Quality Can Affect Students’ Health
Chemicals in cleaning supplies can aggravate allergies and asthma. If a room or building is warm and damp, that is the perfect breeding ground for mold, which can cause dizziness, headaches, and asthma attacks. School supplies can produce odors and release volatile organic compounds that can irritate children’s noses and throats. Dirt and dust on students’ shoes, chemicals used in the manufacturing of clothing, allergens from pets, and environmental contaminants from children’s homes can affect them and their classmates in a variety of ways.
How Students Can Suffer Academically
Repeated exposure to airborne pollutants for hours a day can have significant and lasting effects on students. In addition to obvious symptoms, such as worsening of allergies, asthma attacks, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, there may be other problems that are not immediately apparent. Students may have trouble concentrating, and their memory, attention span, and response time may suffer. This can lead to declines in academic performance. A child who falls behind may struggle to catch up or may have to repeat a grade. Children may also become frustrated and display behavioral problems.
How to Improve Air Quality in Schools
If you are a school administrator, now that students are spending more time inside, you should think about air quality and how it might affect children’s health and ability to focus. Use cleaners and academic supplies that do not emit harmful chemicals and improve ventilation in the building. Preferred HD can inspect and clean your air ducts and HVAC system to keep your students healthy and ready to learn. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.