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Think that indoor air is always fresher than outdoors? Experts say otherwise and here's what you should do about it

Think that indoor air is always fresher than outdoors? Experts say otherwise and here's what you should do about it
PHOTO: Unsplash

When we think of air pollution, it instantly brings to mind thick, sooty haze, or dense exhaust fumes. The natural way to avoid such pollutants seems to be retreating indoors – out of sight, out of mind, right?

Well, with indoor air having its own share of pollutants, perhaps that's not the most effective method. Believe it or not, indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoors, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

With most of us spending about 90 per cent of our time indoors – that's close to a whopping 22 hours a day – indoor air quality has a more far-reaching impact on our day-to-day lives than you'd imagine.

What makes indoor air 'bad'?

Just because you are indoors doesn't mean that you are insusceptible to the 'danger' that lies outside. Air pollutants can enter your homes and office buildings through windows, doors and undetectable cracks in the walls – basically any opening available.

There are also other battles to be conquered indoors. If you cook at home, chances are that your home appliances (yes, we're talking about your stove and oven) are contributing to the build-up of indoor air pollutants.

Inconspicuous items such as your furnishing, cleaning supplies and even paint on the wall may also gradually release volatile chemicals into the air – better known as off-gassing, this process can last for months or even years.

More bad news: bacteria and viruses thrive in places with higher humidity and temperature, while damp areas are breeding grounds for mould. When unregulated, indoor humidity and temperature levels can further exacerbate the level of pollutants.

Finally, poor ventilation in our homes can also increase the concentration of indoor pollutants over time, causing the air you breathe to be more hazardous day after day.

What sort of harm does poor air quality bring?

1. Worsens health and well-being

For starters, the impact of poor air quality on one's health is a no-brainer.

Besides fatigue, headaches, or eye, nose and throat irritations, doctors from Singapore General Hospital say prolonged exposure can also lead to the onset of chronic lung diseases or hospitalisation.

While poor air quality is detrimental to everyone and anyone, those with pre-existing respiratory issues like asthma, sinus and other allergies tend to suffer the brunt of it.

2. Reduces productivity

If you are constantly feeling sluggish or struggling to focus on work, the culprit might just be the air you're breathing.

Poor indoor air quality has a more significant impact on productivity than commonly thought. According to a study in 2021 involving some 300 office workers, exposure to indoor pollutants can lower one's cognitive function, including response time and ability to concentrate.

With hybrid and remote working being the norm today, striving for optimal productivity at home continues to be a work in progress – and perhaps it's worth starting with the air you breathe.

3. Affects vulnerable groups more severely

Besides those with pre-existing respiratory problems, certain groups including children, the elderly and pets may be more at risk of poor indoor air quality.

Children who are exposed to air pollution during the critical growth period can end up with lifelong health implications on their lungs and brain development, or be at higher risk of conditions like asthma.

Similarly, older people are more vulnerable, owing to the natural decline of their biological functions, as well as pre-existing health conditions such as respiratory and circulatory diseases.

Fur parents should also take caution. Prolonged exposure can lead to the development of bronchitis, asthma, and throat and nose problems among pets, affecting life expectancy.

Breathe better, live better

For those striving for fresher and healthier air, an air purifier may be the solution you're looking for – it will be a godsend, especially for those with pre-existing respiratory conditions.

With cutting-edge technologies to optimise filtration and purification, Daikin's Streamer Air Purifier is one strong contender to keep your environment clean and fresh.

For starters, Daikin's patented Streamer Technology boasts strong decomposing power, which can help remove harmful substances such as viruses, bacteria and allergens. It has even been proven to decompose up to 99.9 per cent of six different Covid-19 variants and other viruses like Coxsackievirus – the virus that causes hand, foot and mouth disease.

The air purifier also employs a three-stage filtration system, including an electrostatic HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorbing) filter, to capture fine particles of dust and pollutants.

Charged with static electricity, the electrostatic HEPA filter collects particles more efficiently than typical air purifier filters which rely on mesh size. The latter tends to be more prone to clogging as well, due to the use of finer mesh to collect particles.

What's more, the electrostatic HEPA filter can be used for up to 10 years before it needs replacing – talk about product longevity and value for money!

Coupled with its powerful three-direction suction and sleek tower design, the purifier can take in large amounts of air and dust, thereby maximising air purification.

Curious to see how Daikin's Streamer Air Purifier works? Head down to any Daikin Proshop or e-Proshop to check out the full range of air purifiers and witness the action first-hand.

For more information, be sure to check out Daikin's Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Take your first step towards fresher and cleaner air today, and feel the difference yourself.

This article is brought to you in partnership with Daikin.

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