Health Hazards of Indoor Air Pollution

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Playing Hazardous Home Air Quality

In late 2011, Dyan developed a sudden onset of severe allergy symptoms. Despite taking allergy medications daily, she continued to experience frequent sneezing, coughing and skin irritation for more than two years. Worried that the air quality in her home could be triggering her condition, Dyan reached out to The Doctors for help.

The Doctors sends Andy Sperry, vice president of, to investigate Dyan’s concern. Upon inspecting the air filters in Dyan’s home, Andy discovers that they are extremely clogged with dirt and debris.

Air filter manufacturers typically recommend switching out the filters every 90 days, but if someone living in the home is highly sensitive to allergens, it may be best to change the filters every other month. In Dyan’s case, the air filters in her home had not been changed in more than 20 years.

Air-filtration systems are usually able to draw pollen, dust mites, mold spores and other pollutants out of household air; however, if the filters within them are not replaced regularly, they cease to be effective.

“The things that cause asthma [and] other allergies — if you have pet dander, for instance — with this kind of filter, you’re not catching any of it,” Andy explains to Dyan. “It’s simply staying in your house, and you’re breathing it, day in and day out.”

To help resolve Dyan’s recurring allergy symptoms, Andy provides her with a free five-year subscription to

Indoor air pollution is among the top five environmental health risks. According to the EPA, indoor sources that emit gases or particles into the air are the primary cause of hazardous air quality in homes.

Health risks associated with indoor air pollution often include irritation of the eyes, nose and throat, as well as headaches, dizziness and fatigue; in addition, long-term exposure to airborne contaminants can potentially lead to chronic respiratory conditions, heart disease and cancer.

“It’s so important to limit dust, mold and allergens in your home,” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says. “You never want your home to be the place that makes you sick.”

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