Carbon monoxide (or CO, for short ) is known as “the silent killer” because it is a gas that is undetected by smell or sight. Sadly, it takes the lives of Canadians at a rate of 50 per year, as reported by Camille Bains of The Canadian Press via TheStar.com. She reveals that this information comes courtesy of the director of the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, Pierre Voisine, who notes that Canada has no official database to house such statistics.
Voisine, who is also the fire chief in Cornwall, Ontario, believes that that not enough is being done to protect Canadians against carbon monoxide poisoning. He points out that homeowners aren’t required to install detectors the way they are smoke alarms. Bains reports that, in 2010, a national building code made it mandatory for new homes to come equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, but homes built before that year are susceptible to undetected exposure.
Because of its odourless and colourless nature, carbon monoxide is a gas that often kills people while they’re sleeping. Naturally, mandatory CO detectors would save a lot of lives. “It’s very difficult for a community to try to enforce something that’s not mandated,” Voisine is quoted as saying in the article, “Until that happens everywhere it’s very challenging.”
There is, however, hope for the province of Ontario. In 2014, Voisine explains, Ontario updated its fire code to include carbon monoxide detectors in both new and old homes. The amendment was inspired by the 2008 deaths of a police officer and her family who were killed by CO poisoning due to a blocked chimney in their Woodstock home.
Not only is carbon monoxide undetectable by the nose or the eyes, but it’s difficult to tell if the symptoms associated with exposure to the gas are actually being caused by exposure to the gas. Raynald Marchand is the general manager of the Canadian Safety Council. In Bains’ article, he explains that people exposed to fumes can experience headaches, dizziness and nausea. Considering the commonality of these symptoms, it’s not surprising that most people don’t associate them with a possible CO problem in their homes.
Carbon monoxide, however, is more common than most people think. It can be produced any time fossil fuels are burned. Furnaces, stoves and fireplaces are most commonly guilty of this. Marchand, himself, was saved by a CO detector in his home in December of 2014. While experiencing a mild headache, the detector started beeping. He and his teenage daughter left the home, likely saving their lives in the process.
Briana Koop of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan also owes her life to a carbon monoxide detector. It alarmed her and her family as well as her daughter’s friend during a sleepover on an early Sunday morning in January. “For sure our whole family would have been gone if that didn’t happen,” Koop recalls, “The thing that was really most haunting to me was picturing these friends coming to pick up their kid in the morning and finding all five of us in the home.”
Clearly, protection against carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious matter for all Canadians. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that detect indoor air quality problems including CO. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also known as CO, carbon monoxide is an odourless, tasteless and colourless gas that is made when substances such as oil, coal, wood, gasoline, propane and natural gas are burned. It is also found in second-hand smoke from cigarettes. CO is known as the “silent killer” because of our inabilities to detect it without the help of carbon monoxide detectors. Its nickname is apt. CO is known to cause illness and death.
Many of our homes contain appliances that run on fuel. They include furnaces, wood stoves, water heaters and boilers. Especially during the winter months, when our homes require heating from within, these appliances are put to greater use. As a result, the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning increases.
There are also a number of items that we tend to keep in our garages that can also be sources of carbon monoxide. When kept in such an unventilated area as a garage, generators, charcoal grills and vehicle exhausts can create concentrated amounts of CO that may seep into our homes. Chimneys are also known for housing carbon monoxide.
On NewsCanada.com, a tragic story about retired Ontario firefighter, John Gignac’s family highlights all too well the dangers of having a blocked chimney vent. In late 2008, Gignac lost his niece, her husband and their two children due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Their chimney vent was blocked and the family didn’t have a carbon monoxide alarm. A national charitable foundation was set up by Gignac in the family’s memory.
He has made it his mission to protect other families from suffering the same fate. Gignac highlights the fact that you don’t need a chimney or a fireplace to be at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. As mentioned, there are a number of gas-burning appliances that are known culprits for emitting the deadly and undetectable gas into our homes.
“People need to take this threat seriously and realize that it comes from sources beyond just furnaces and fireplaces,” Gignac is quoted as saying, “Year-round we use gas stoves and water heaters and park vehicles in garages and attached carports. Never let down your guard…People think they don’t need a carbon monoxide alarm because they have electric heat and no fireplace. But when I ask them if they have a gas stove or water heater, or attached garage or carport, they realize their families have been at risk for years.”
It’s important to look out for the symptoms. When we breathe in carbon monoxide, it reduces our bodies’ abilities to carry oxygen in the blood. Shortness of breath, therefore, is an obvious symptom to watch for. At low levels, the symptoms of CO poisoning also include fatigue, headaches and muscle weakness. At higher levels, symptoms include dizziness, chest pain and problems with vision and concentrating.
Getting a carbon monoxide detector is highly recommended. Smoke alarms only alert you to the presence of smoke, not CO. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is to take measures to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. We offer Air Quality Services that detect any indoor air quality problems including CO.
For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Let’s be honest. We all take the air we breathe for granted, don’t we? We know that it’s there, but we rarely ever pay attention to it. It’s safe to say that that is because we usually can’t see it or smell it. But that can actually be a problem. Just because nothing out of the ordinary is detectable, it doesn’t mean that the air we breathe is free of contaminants. Air pollution, unfortunately, is all around us.
And this is certainly true in our homes. Even for the most meticulous of “neat freaks”, poor indoor air quality is a factual concern. Everything from contaminated air from outside seeping in to pet dander to the growth of mould and mildew due to humidity can make our homes susceptible to housing air that is bad for our health. This is why an indoor air quality inspection is so important. Most often, poor indoor air quality is undetectable without one.
Here are three important reasons to test your home’s indoor air quality:
1. Undetectable gases. Not all gases have colours or odours. Carbon monoxide and radon are among them. And they often find themselves in our homes. CO, for example, is often emitted from such household items as furnaces, gas stoves, fireplaces and water heaters. “CO causes an array of symptoms — from headaches and nausea to confusion and unconsciousness,” explains Russell McLendon of Mother Nature Network.
Radon enters our homes by seeping in through cracks and other openings. It is emitted from nearby soil that contains low levels of decaying uranium. While generally harmless in the outdoor air, it can become a health hazard when concentrated. As Joseph Loiero of CBC News reports, “radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in Canada after smoking.”
2. Volatile organic compounds. Also known as VOCs, these are the types of air pollutants that we actually invite into our homes. We may not have done so purposely, but if you’ve ever installed new carpeting, painted your furniture, hung a new shower curtain or used cleaning products, you have subjected yourself to VOCs. You’ll know because of the smells that are emitted from these items and tasks.
“Countless products in your home emit VOCs, from cleaners to paint to furniture,” explains Michael Rosone on Aristair.com, “Even through you can’t smell all of them, they’re present in most homes at least at “background” levels, and can cause short-term health symptoms including headaches and nausea. Longer term (and scarier) health effects are also possible with repeated exposure.”
3. Asbestos. Over the past few months, we have been paying particular attention to a controversy in Canada over its intention to propose a complete nationwide ban on asbestos. Although the federal government made promises to do so a few months back, we continue to await any official word on an official ban. By now, it should be needless to say that asbestos in an incredibly hazardous material.
Especially if you live in an older home, there may be asbestos in your insulation materials. When disturbed by renovations, for example, asbestos can release airborne fibres that are known to cause deadly diseases such as lung cancer and mesothelioma. “Given the risks involved, DIY asbestos remediation is rarely a good idea,” advises McLendon, “Even taking your own samples for testing isn’t recommended.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer expert services to detect and inevitably do away with the causes of poor indoor air quality. Please don’t hesitate to contact us in order to learn more about our Air Quality Services, Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services and Radon Services among many others. Give us a call at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. That isn’t just a flashy nickname. It’s an unfortunate truth. Because it is an odourless, colourless gas, it cannot be detected without carbon monoxide detectors. An inability to recognize the presence of the deadly gas quickly after it makes its way into your home can lead to death. This is an all-too-tragic fact, as reported by Mariam Matti of CTV Toronto.
In March of 2014, she reported on the death of a Brampton, Ontario family that had died of carbon monoxide poisoning. “The family had been using two portable propane heaters indoors to keep the house warm after their furnace broke, according to police,” reports Matti, noting that all fuel-burning appliances and wood stoves can serve as culprits to the emission of carbon monoxide gas. As such, they should be professionally serviced.
“Carbon monoxide comes from the burning of various fuels — propane, natural gas, wood burning appliances and gas barbeques,” she quotes Raynald Marchand, the general manager at Canada Safety Council, as saying. Matti goes on to insist that generators or oil-based heaters never be operated in enclosed spaces. “Marchand said a common mistake people make is bringing appliances meant for outdoor use inside their home,” reveals Matti.
What are some of the early warning signs of carbon monoxide? Because it is so difficult to detect the presence of carbon monoxide in the home, it’s of vital importance to be mindful of the symptoms that surround its exposure. They include fatigue, headaches, disorientation, shortness of breath, nausea and impaired motor functions, Matti lists. She also notes that chest pain, poor vision and dizziness can arise due to exposure to low levels of the gas over time.
What makes carbon monoxide so dangerous? “If allowed to accumulate, it can fatally starve the human body of oxygen,” reports The Canadian Press, courtesy of CityNews, “Hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in the bloodstream, normally has a spot reserved for the oxygen molecule. Carbon monoxide binds to that spot instead, preventing oxygen from being effectively carried to the rest of the body. High exposure to carbon monoxide can be fatal.”
The Canadian Press also reports that in January of this year, a 15-month-old girl was credited with saving the lives of her parents and pets after carbon monoxide entered their Kamloops, British Columbia home. According to the report, “the toddler was crying in the middle of the night, which alerted her parents.” Thankfully, this family was able to avoid joining the list of the 380 people who died due to accidental CO poisoning between 2000 and 2009, as reported by Statistics Canada.
What precautions can be taken to prevent CO from entering the home? “Health Canada says every home should have at least one carbon monoxide detector installed to warn if CO levels pose a threat,” says The Canadian Press, “An ideal location for a detector would be hallways outside bedrooms, since noise from the alarm could potentially wake up occupants in case of emergency.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take the issue of carbon monoxide poisoning very seriously. As such, we offer Air Quality Services among many others that work to pinpoint any problem areas in the home that may be negatively impacting its indoor air quality. For more information about our services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
In our last couple of blogs, we revisited the topic of radon and its ability to seep into our homes through cracks and other inconspicuous openings. While not particularly dangerous in the open air, radon can be the cause of some very serious health problems if concentrated in confined spaces. This is why it’s so vitally important to prevent it from entering your home and detect its presence if it has made its way indoors.
Detection, however, isn’t all that easy. After all, radon is both colourless and odourless. And it’s not the only gas to have these qualities. Carbon monoxide (CO) has long been known as “the silent killer”. In fact, it’s the leading cause of fatal poisonings in North America. Needless to say, carbon monoxide poisoning should be avoided at all costs.
But if carbon monoxide can’t be smelled, seen or tasted, how will you know if it’s around you? According to James Carey and Morris Carey, “having a working CO detector in your home is critical.” In their book, Home Maintenance For Dummies, they insist that “if you don’t already have a CO detector, you should buy one.” Courtesy of Dummies.com, an excerpt from the book explains just how a CO detector should be used.
“The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that every home with fuel-burning appliances of any kind be equipped with a least one CO detector,” inform Carey and Carey, “Place your CO detectors anywhere from 14 inches above the floor to eye level, and never where there is a draft (such as near a window, doorway, or stairwell).”
What creates carbon monoxide gas? “Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas that is a by-product of appliances, heaters, and automobiles that burn gasoline, natural gas, wood, oil, kerosene, or propane,” informs HealthyChildren.org. As a result, it’s important to inspect such appliances regularly. “Don’t mess around with CO,” insist the Careys, “Once a year, have your heating system, vents, chimney, and flue inspected (and cleaned if necessary) by a qualified technician. And make sure that your fuel-burning appliances always are vented.”
What are the symptoms of CO poisoning? As listed by HealthyChildren.org, they include headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue, confusion and fainting. Such symptoms, however, indicate that there may have been a low concentration of exposure to carbon monoxide. The effects of CO exposure in higher concentrations can result in personality changes, memory loss, severe lung injury, brain damage and death.
How can carbon monoxide poisoning be prevented? Firstly, you should have all of your fuel-burning appliances checked by a professional, at least once a year. They include gas water heaters, gas stoves and gas clothes dryers. It’s also important to not use gas cooking stove tops and ovens for supplemental heat during the winter. Fireplaces and woodstoves should also go through annual inspections. Fuel-burning space heaters need regular check-ups too.
The Air Quality Services provided by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. seek to detect and therefore, eliminate any air quality problems that can lead to health problems for you and your family. We maximize our inspection processes so that no potential area of concern is missed. If the possibility of CO poisoning is present in your home, we’ll find it! For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re just a couple of days away from a brand new year! And with 2016 right around the corner, most Canadians (along with the rest of the world) have come up with New Year’s Resolutions they hope to stick to. In most cases, these annual resolutions have to do with breaking bad habits. And in many cases, eliminating these bad habits can improve one’s health. Quitting smoking is the perfect example.
But what other New Year’s Resolutions can improve your health? Many of the bad habits we have are carried out in our homes. And, as a result, we are causing the air we breathe to be a lot more harmful to our health. How can we protect ourselves and our families from poor indoor air quality? Breaking bad habits that impact the air you breathe will go a long way in improving the health of all of your loved ones.
Here are four:
1. Cigarette smoking. It only makes sense that we start with the most obvious bad habit that most people attempt to quit at the beginning of each new year. As Health Canada reminds us, cigarette smoke emits a long list of chemicals that include carbon monoxide (CO), formaldehyde, benzene and other volatile organic chemicals (VOCs). Arguably, the single most important thing you can do to improve your home’s indoor air quality in 2016 is to eliminate all cigarette smoking.
2. Heating the home with gas-burning appliances. Canadian winters insist upon heated homes. But it’s important to heat your home without using methods that add harmful elements to the air. Health Canada reminds us that gas and wood fireplaces, gas or oil furnaces and gas water heaters all emit such gases as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as well as other VOCs and particulate matter.
3. Operating gas-powered machinery in the garage. It should probably go without saying that you should never heat your car up in the garage. The emissions from your muffler are deadly. However, you should also bear in mind that machinery such as gas-powered lawnmowers, snowblowers, generators and barbeques should all be operating in the open air. Health Canada points out that they emit CO, NO2, VOCs and other particulate matter that can enter the home.
4. Renovating without a thorough inspection of your home. Renovations aren’t generally considered bad habits. But making changes in your home without inspecting for asbestos is certainly a bad idea. By itself, asbestos is harmless. But when it is disturbed, its fibres can become airborne and lodged in your lungs if inhaled. This has been known to cause serious health effects such as lung cancer.
“Asbestos was used as an insulator and fire retardant for many years,” explains HealthLink BC, “It is sometimes still found in insulation around older hot water pipes and boilers. It is also found in old flooring material and some types of insulation used in attics and walls. Asbestos does not cause a health risk unless it is frayed or crumbling and releasing fibres into the air that can be inhaled.”
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services and Asbestos Containing Materials Services, among many others that serve to improve the indoor air quality of your home. This new year, have us inspect your home to ensure that you and your loved ones are enjoying life in a very healthy environment. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
Happy new year!
On behalf of the entire team, here at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we would like to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and the absolute happiest of holidays! It will come as no surprise to readers of our blog that our company believes strongly in giving the gift of health to your loved ones all year long. So this Christmas, consider how you may offer that gift to your family members and friends.
How can you go about giving the gift of health? To be honest, sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest differences. For example, changing the type of cleaning products you use can go a long way in making the air that you breathe in your home a lot purer. Doing away with products that include volatile organic compounds goes a long way in improving indoor air quality.
On CottageLife.com, Sara Laux champions this view. “While you’re on a cleaning kick, don’t re-pollute your air with artificial scents, which can be irritating to many people,” she recommends, “Look for cleaners with natural ingredients or, better yet, make your own for a fraction of the cost… Go aerosol-free completely, and look for unscented products wherever possible.”
What other gifts can improve indoor air quality? In our last blog, we highlighted the fact that houseplants have a cleaning effect on the air you breathe. Many of them have the ability to filter out air pollutants and remove chemicals from the air. In another article on CottageLife.com, Samantha Sexton reveals which houseplants are most effective in improving the indoor air quality of homes.
Among them are spider plants, English ivy, Boston ferns, peace lilies (which “neutralize toxic gases like carbon dioxide and known carcinogens such as formaldehyde”) and aloe vera. In addition to providing cooling and healing agents for the skin, the aloe vera plant also “filters gas emissions and toxic materials such as benzene, which can be a by-product of household cleaners and paints,” says Sexton.
Is getting your home tested necessary to guarantee the good quality of its air? At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we definitely believe it’s a good idea. Our Air Quality Services, in addition to many other services that we provide, help to pinpoint problem areas in the home that could be impacting the health of your family. Laux agrees that getting your home tested is important as there are many gases that are undetectable by sight and smell.
They include carbon monoxide and radon. “Both lead paint and radon, an odourless, colourless radioactive gas, can contaminate your indoor air,” she points out, “If your house was built before 1960, have your paint tested for lead. If you do have lead-based paint, keep your house dust-free and have an experienced contractor sand or remove wall coverings or ceilings contaminated with lead.”
Give your family the gift of health this Christmas! Ensuring that your home’s indoor air quality is at its highest will be a great way to welcome in the new year and the many years to come. For more information on our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In our last blog, we pointed out that carbon monoxide is not alone in being a “silent killer”. Radon is another colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that has been known to have very negative effects on our health when trapped in confined spaces. As a result, it’s important to significantly limit the amount that seeps into our homes. Of course, this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t all be mindful of carbon monoxide at all times.
With summer about to make its official exit and the weather about to dramatically cool down, Canadians are bound to find ways to keep warm indoors. And that often entails making more use of the furnace and even firing up the old fireplace. Both of these heat-inviting practices are also causes for carbon monoxide to escape into the environment. And when that environment is your home, you’re not doing your health any favours.
How exactly is carbon monoxide produced? According to Canada Safety Council, the “silent killer” comes from the incomplete burning of fuels. “It can be released by gas furnaces, hot water heaters, cars, fireplaces, wood stoves and kerosene heaters,” informs their website, “Faulty burners or clogged chimneys are often part of the problem.” With autumn nearly here and winter to follow, it will be important to take measures not to invite CO into your homes.
How can carbon monoxide gas be limited or avoided altogether? “To avoid the production of CO, you should have your chimney, furnace and gas-fired appliances checked by professional technicians every year,” recommends Canada Safety Council. Of course, it’s also wise to have carbon monoxide detectors in the home. According to CBC News, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs insists upon it.
Chris Harrow is the organization’s vice-president. “We’re a strong advocate of that,” he is quoted as saying, “These devices do and can save your life. It’s a small investment to have that protection for your family in the house.” CBC News also points out that people should ensure that their homes have good ventilation. When the winter comes, it’ll be a good idea to check to make sure that snow and leaves aren’t blocking any vents.
But what is it about carbon monoxide that makes it so dangerous? Health Canada’s website puts it best: “When you breathe in carbon monoxide it binds with a protein in your blood called haemoglobin and reduces the ability of the blood to carry oxygen throughout the body. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poising get worse as CO levels and exposure time increase.” They go on to report that headaches, fatigue and shortness of breath are just a few of the symptoms.
CO is also very dangerous because it can’t be detected. Remember that it can’t be seen, smelled or tasted. The more people unknowingly breathe it in, the greater its ability to absorb oxygen. And this can cause any or all of the above mentioned symptoms. Not to mention, its worst side effect is death. CBC News reports that there were 380 accidental deaths in Canada due to carbon monoxide between 2000 and 2009. The numbers are based on Statistics Canada findings.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take the issue of carbon monoxide poisoning very seriously. Our Air Quality Services provide our clients with meticulous inspections of their homes in order to seek out and eliminate any air quality problems that could lead to severe health issues. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.
In our last blog, we explored a few of the ways that cold weather can impact air quality. We noted that the colder air keeps pollutants closer to the ground, making it harder for many of us to breathe. This is especially true for asthmatics. As well, we noted that warming up the car – a common cold weather practice – serves to emit more carbon monoxide into our air than normal. But does cold weather also impact indoor air quality?
According to Senior Life Newspapers, it sure does. They report that the American Lung Association finds that “while cold weather is not often thought of as an asthma trigger, the cold, dry winter air does affect people with asthma.” And while asthma sufferers are most likely to be impacted by colder weather, it’s important for everyone to take precautions during the colder months of the year – even when they are inside.
Here are three ways that cold weather affects indoor air quality:
1. It encourages fireplace use. Naturally, we all wish to stay warmer during the colder months of the year. The idea of snuggling up on the couch underneath a blanket is a welcome one during the winter. And while there’s nothing wrong with staying indoors, it often brings about the need to use fireplaces to keep the indoor air comfortably warm. What could be so bad about using a fireplace during the winter?
According to Alberta’s Fort Air Partnership, fireplaces produce similar harmful effects as car emissions. “Some sources of pollution, like industrial emissions, stay fairly constant throughout the year, no matter what the season,” reads their website, “But roaring fireplaces and wood stoves and idling vehicles in the winter all add up to higher levels of particulate matter (the particles that make up smoke) and carbon monoxide (from vehicle emissions).”
2. It limits ventilation. During the summer months, it makes perfect sense to keep your windows open. Most people love the idea of welcoming fresh air into their homes in an effort to allow the stagnant air from within to escape. Allowing for air to circulate throughout your home is a good idea, especially considering that good ventilation helps to lower the amount of mould-causing moisture in the home. The winter, however, takes away this freedom.
“Indoor air quality also becomes a greater concern during the winter because of the amount of time that people stay inside with poor ventilation,” notes Fort Air Partnership, “Without adequate circulation, carbon dioxide levels can become an issue, leading to headaches and lethargy. Generally, outdoor air quality is better than indoor air, so the best antidote is to get outside regularly, open windows for short periods if possible and keep fireplaces and ventilation systems clean and maintained.”
3. It increases the ability to spread germs. The longer that we’re cooped up indoors, the easier it is to succumb to the passing along of germs. Without an escape route to the outside world, germs that are sneezed or coughed out by our family members and friends can more easily be picked up. Of course, this is why it is recommended that you stay home from school or work when you are sick.
Your indoor air quality is important all year round. But with the colder months of the year approaching, it will be especially important to be on top of routines that will promote clean air within the confines of your home. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services to maximize the benefits you receive from your home’s indoor air quality. For more information, call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome to the end of summer. For many Canadians, this is a very sad time of year. While the calendar doesn’t officially indicate summer’s end (we still have until the 21st), the fact that it’s the first day of school for most students across Canada today, signifies that summer vacation is indeed over. Hopefully, we still have several warm and sunny days ahead of us. But, we all know what’s coming. It’s bound to get colder sooner than later!
Canadians are pretty much experts when it comes to preparing for cold weather. Most of us probably have our winter jackets, scarves, mittens and toques all ready to go. But the impending colder weather has implications other than the need to bundle up. How does it affect the air we breathe? Naturally, the air is colder. And for those with respiratory issues, that can present some problems.
What respiratory issues can cold weather cause? Alberta’s Fort Air Partnership notes that warmer air has the ability to carry pollutants away. Contrasting warm air’s tendency to rise, colder air stays closer to the Earth’s surface and, therefore, is more likely to keep pollutants closer to our lungs. The Fort Air Partnership website notes that this is a “weather phenomenon called temperature inversions.”
“In other seasons or weather conditions, warm air sits near the ground and the air can rise easily and carry away pollutants,” the site informs us, “In a temperature inversion, cold air is trapped near the ground by a layer of warm air. The warm air acts like a lid, holding these substances down. During a temperature inversion, smoke can’t rise and carbon monoxide can reach unhealthy levels.”
Who is most affected by cold weather conditions? As you may have guessed, those who have respiratory issues such as asthma and other allergies get it the worst when the cold weather hits. As a result, such individuals are advised to take extra precautions when they are outside in the cold. According to Senior Life Newspapers, there are some recommendations made by the American Lung Association that asthmatics should follow.
They include preparing for winter conditions by wearing scarves over their noses and mouths in order to prevent asthma attack symptoms. As well, “when an individual with asthma experiences a mild attack, it is recommended to stay calm, administer prescribed relief medication, take slow deep breaths, and sips of water or warm liquids. Signs of a mild asthma attach include a continuous cough, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or restlessness and irritability.”
How else does the cold make breathing more difficult? You know how you can see your breath when it’s cold outside? You can see the fumes from car exhausts too, can’t you? Fort Air Partnership informs us that the cold doesn’t just make this vapour more visible to the eye – it increases the level of pollution as well. They note that idling vehicles in the winter (a common occurrence as a method of warming cars up before driving) only add carbon monoxide to the air.
Thankfully, we shouldn’t have to worry about severely cold weather conditions for several more weeks. But, it certainly pays to be prepared for when it comes. In our next blog, we will explore ways that you can improve your home’s indoor air quality during the winter. Believe it or not, cold weather conditions don’t just impact the air outside. Will you be prepared to safeguard your home this winter?
For more information about the Air Quality Services offered by DF Technical & Consulting Services, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email email@example.com.