The COVID-19 pandemic as well as growing attention to environmental concerns like climate change and wildfires have brought the issue of indoor air quality to many people’s attention. The average American will spend about 90% of their life indoors, which means that the air we breathe in our homes, workplaces and other spaces can have a big impact on our overall health.


While indoor air quality is an issue that affects everyone, it is especially important for older adults. Seniors are likely to spend even more of their time indoors, increasing their exposure to viruses, bacteria, allergens and other harmful contaminants. As Americans continue to live longer, concerns about indoor air quality will grow for seniors as they age.


Seniors are especially vulnerable to respiratory infections like the coronavirus. Because our immune systems weaken as we age, it becomes more difficult for our bodies to fight off these kinds of infections. In older adults, cases are also more likely to become severe and can lead to dangerous health complications like pneumonia.


Respiratory infections are not the only cause for concern with indoor air quality. Exposure to indoor air pollution can worsen chronic conditions that are common in older adults like asthma and diabetes. Older adults are also more susceptible to the negative effects of air pollution, which include bronchitis, COPD, heart attacks and even premature death.


There are other consequences from breathing poor indoor air, some of which may be surprising. A study from Brown University showed an increased risk of stroke for seniors as a result of exposure to airborne pollutants. Another study found a direct link between indoor air quality and cognitive function in older women. The air we breathe can have a broad impact on our general health and wellbeing, especially for older adults.


While all of these issues may seem alarming, there are concrete steps seniors can take to protect their health and reduce the effects of breathing airborne contaminants. It is important to maintain good ventilation in indoor spaces and to ensure that HVAC systems are properly cleaned and serviced. In addition, using an indoor air purifier can remove up to 99.99% of viruses and bacteria from the environment, including particles smaller than the coronavirus.


By improving the air they breathe indoors, seniors can help ensure their health, vitality and wellbeing into old age.

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