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How Poor Air Quality Can Affect COPD

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If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), then you may experience shortness of breath, a productive cough. chest pain, and loss of appetite. COPD is commonly caused by cigarette smoking, but other factors such as air pollution and exposure to occupational chemicals may also play roles. Here are some ways poor air quality can affect your COPD and what you can do about them:

Wheezing

It is essential that you contact an air quality services professional to assess your indoor air quality if you have COPD or other respiratory illness. Factors such as dirty air filters can cause airborne particulates such as pet hair, dust, and animal dander to circulate into your home each time your air conditioning unit is turned on. 

When inhaled, airborne particulates can cause wheezing and shortness of breath. Your HVAC professional can inspect your heating and cooling unit to determine which type of air filters you have. Disposable air filters trap dirt and dust so that they do not infiltrate your home.

Once the disposable filter gets dirty, simply throw it away and replace it with a new one. Many homeowners believe that disposable filters are better than reusable filters in capturing debris particles. If your air quality system services specialist determines that your air filter is the reusable type, he or she can simply remove it, rinse off the dust, wait for it to dry, and then place it back into your unit.

The air quality technician will make sure that the air filter is completely dry before putting it back into your unit because if the filter is still damp, mold or bacteria may form, which can contaminate your indoor air when you turn on your unit. 

Fungal Infection Risk

Another way poor air quality can affect COPD patients is that it can raise the risk for pulmonary fungal infections. If your ventilation system, air ducts, or filters are covered in mold, the spores can contaminate your indoor air.

Mold spores can be inhaled, and because lung function and immunity may be already compromised in the COPD patient, he or she may be more susceptible to developing fungal infections of the pulmonary system, such as an Aspergillus infection.  

If your roof has a leak, water may get into your ductwork, causing mold growth. It is essential that you have your roof repaired to prevent further leaking. In addition, have an HVAC professional inspect your ductwork to look for signs of mold infestation.

If mold is present, and if the amount is negligible or slight, then the interior surfaces of the ductwork can be cleaned. If, however, the entire ductwork system is contaminated with mold, it will have to be replaced. While replacing your entire ductwork system may be an added expense, it will pay off in the long run.

Not only can mold spore exposure from your ventilation system exacerbate your COPD symptoms and raise your risk for fungal infections, it can also cause sinus infections, skin rashes, fatigue, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Pulmonary fungal infections can be very difficult to treat, and because of this, it is essential that you take every necessary precaution to ensure that your home remains free from mold contamination. 

If you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, contact an air quality services specialist to evaluate your heating and cooling system. When you have a well-maintained unit and clean air filters, you will be less likely to develop health complications relating to mold spore exposure and other conditions caused by poor air quality. If your lung condition worsens as a result of poor air quality, be sure to see your doctor for a checkup and necessary treatment. 


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