household dust and health

What is Dust?

Dust is comprised of tiny particles of various objects. It could include biological objects human skin, pet dander or even microscopic creatures such as dust mites. Much dust comes from material fibers from carpets, bedding and clothes. It may also carry objects that have been brought in from the outside world such as pollen or soil.

Breathing in Dust

Dust’s minuscule size means that it can be all too easy to inhale. The way in which you take in dust will depend on its size. Larger-sized dust particles, or “inhalable dust”, can become trapped in your nose and mouth and are then be exhaled out of the body. Smaller dust particles, or “respirable dust”, may be able to penetrate your lungs. In some cases, you will breathe these out, but there is a chance that they will go directly into your bloodstream.

Who is at Risk?

Inhaling low levels of household or urban dust does not cause health problems in most people. However, prolonged exposure to a high concentration of dust can lead to health issues. The highest risk groups include those already living with respiratory and heart conditions, as well as babies, young children and elderly people. Normal household exposure probably won’t lead to any problems but working in a dusty environment may well do so.

How Can Dust Affect Your Health?

Some short-term effects of inhaling dust include irritation of the eyes, hay fever, asthma attacks, a burning sensation in the throat, coughing or sneezing. 

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Dust can lower the quality of air in your home. People who live or work in properties with very poor air quality may experience symptoms such as experience frequent headaches, long-lasting colds, bronchitis, and chronic asthma.

Taking in even the smallest amounts of dust can prompt an allergic reaction. These allergic reactions may be minor or serious depending on the individual. Even if you don’t have a dust allergy, you could be allergic to any one of the particles it contains. 

Dust is an example of a fomite. Put simply, this means that it can potentially carry viruses and transmit infections. Some examples of infections that could be spread by dust include the cold virus and influenza.

It is believed that sustained long-term exposure to high levels of dust can reduce lung function. It may also contribute to the likelihood of contracting a respiratory or heart disorders.

Find Out More

If you would like to find out more about dust, then you should browse through the below infographic from The Cleaning Services Group. This guide looks at the most common sources of household dust and outlines the various ways in which household and occupational dust can affect your health. It also provides ten top tips for getting rid of dust in the workplace and at home.

Scroll down to the infographic below to learn more about the effects of dust on your health.

The Health Effects of Dust

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