Biological Air Pollutants and How to Avoid Them

Did you know – the air we breathe indoors can be more polluted than the air we breathe outside? And, with more and more people choosing to  spend most of their time inside, the risks these pollutants pose to their health are becoming impossible to ignore.

Indoor pollutants can be placed into two groups, biologic and chemical. This blog will examine some of the most common biological pollutants and what you can do to prevent them from taking over your building.

 

1. Watch out for cockroaches

The droppings, body parts, and saliva of cockroaches can be asthma triggers. As a facilities manager, ensure that cleaning is a priority after eliminating the presence of cockroaches. This will help to get rid of the presence of any allergens left behind that can be asthma triggers.

 

2. Get rid of dust mites

Dust mites thrive in spaces that provide food and shelter. Mites are also known to prefer high humidity levels. Most mites are found inside bedding and furniture, where they can spend up to a third of their lives.

Carpeted floors also pose a problem, especially long, loose pile carpets. This is because they provide a microhabitat, with food crumbs and moisture creating the perfect home for the little critters.

A good microscope and a trained eye are essential in detecting mites. They can also be detected using diagnostic tests that combine collecting dust samples from various places with indicator reagents.

For facilities such as hotels, care homes and other healthcare institutes, we recommend taking the following precautions if mites are detected in your building:

    • Use synthetic pillows instead of feather and down pillows.
    • Dust the plastic mattress cover daily with a damp cloth.
    • Make sure bedding is changed regularly. Vacuum the bed base and mattress weekly.
    • Avoid wool. Choose nylon or cotton cellulose blankets.
    • Ensure water is hot (120°F–130°F [49°C–54°C]) when washing bedding and curtains.
    • Where possible, use wood, tile, linoleum, or vinyl floor covering rather than carpet. Carpets must be vacuumed regularly with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum or a household vacuum with a microfiltration bag.
    • Use fitted sheets to reduce the amount of human skin that accumulates on the mattress surface.

 

3. Prevent the spread of mould

Some moulds are linked to a variety of health risks such as asthma, histoplasmosis and, in extreme cases, even liver cancer.

Mould growth can be caused by excess moisture. This could be as a result of   rain leaks; surface and groundwater leaks; plumbing leaks; and stagnant water in appliances.

Other causes of mould may be; overcrowding, inadequate insulation, a lack of air conditioning, and even poor heating.

We suggest using the following methods to address mould problems:

    • Ensure that heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems are maintained.
    • Keep gutters and downspouts in working order and ensure that water is being drained away from the foundation.
    • Check, clean and dry drip pans in air conditioners, refrigerators, and dehumidifiers regularly.
    • Increase ventilation by using exhaust fans or opening windows when cooking, showering, or using the dishwasher. This will remove humidity.
    • Locate and remove sources of moisture.
    • Clean or remove mould-contaminated materials.

 

4. Get an air quality audit

Voltix Services is accredited to carry out regular swab testing and maintenance, as well as an audit of your air quality, in order to assist your facility in maintaining the highest levels of health and safety and ensuring compliance with all relevant legislation. Contact us today. 

 

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