When we think about air quality and its contribution to health, we usually think about the outside air pollution. This article focuses on the impact of indoor air quality on health and what primary and community nurses need to know so that they can advise their patients appropriately.
Bad air quality refers to any condition that impacts health such as temperature, visibility and smell. Air pollution, on the other hand, is the presence in air of substances that are harmful to people or other living organisms due to human activity.1
An important issue
‘Why treat people and send them back to them to conditions that made them sick?’ asks professor of public health and health inequalities expert Sir Michael Marmot.
Indoor air quality is an important issue for nurses because:2
Poor air quality affects the most vulnerable and disadvantaged3
Improving the air quality at home may prevent the need for future home/clinic visits, GP attendances, A&E attendances and hospital admissions (see resources)
Poor air quality in work premises affects the health of nurses themselves
On average, people spend 90% of their time indoors, 60% of which is at home.3 Yet knowledge of how poor indoor air quality impacts health is poor.4
The health and economic impact