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It is often difficult to know if poor health conditions are related to indoor air pollution. The health effects of indoor air pollution can occur immediately, or they may be delayed for years.
Immediate health effects from indoor air pollution typically do not last long and respond well to treatment. These effects include eye, nose or throat irritation, headaches, dizziness, or unexplained fatigue. Indoor air pollution can also increase the symptoms of sure diseases like asthma. Immediate health effects can often be treated by simply removing the source of pollution or removing the person from the vicinity of the source.
Whether or not someone will suffer immediate health effects from indoor air pollution usually depends on their age and preexisting medical conditions. Some individuals are more sensitive than others.
Immediate health effects are often difficult to connect to indoor air pollution because the symptoms are so common and comparable to those of mild respiratory diseases. 1 key is to notice if symptoms improve or even disappear when the person leaves the building only to reappear when the person returns.
Indoor air pollution may be the cause of other health effects that appear only after long-term or repeated exposure. Research continues to determine the relative risk of long-term exposure to average indoor air pollution levels versus short-term or repeated exposure to higher indoor air pollution levels.
Long-term health effects of indoor air pollution can be serious, even deadly. Respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer have been linked to long-term indoor air pollution exposure. Therefore, even if you fail to experience immediate health effects, you should still investigate methods for reducing indoor air pollution.