Ceiling Fans & Allergies

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Ceiling fans are convenient home appliances that increase a room's comfort, but those spinning blades may also be redistributing dust mites, pet dander and other allergens back into the air. A dusty ceiling fan can affect indoor air quality and aggravate existing allergies and respiratory conditions.

Function

  • Warm air naturally rises towards the ceiling. Ceiling fans work to equalize the temperature distribution by pushing the warm air downwards, forcing the cool air to circulate more evenly.

Effects

  • Dust is comprised of charged particles that become attracted to the rotating fan blades as they create friction with the air and develop an electric charge.

Significance

  • According to science writer David Bodanis, dust particles are made up of a range of harmful allergens that are regularly released into the air. Components of dust particles often include dead skin cells, dust mite and cockroach droppings, pet dander, and pollen.

Dangers

  • The American Asthma Foundation reported that asthma affects 1 in 13 people in America, while the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology estimated that nearly 55% of Americans are susceptible to household allergens. The AAF also discovered that dust mites trigger asthma by confusing the immune system.

Prevention

  • Home owners can regulate movement of airborne allergens by cleaning ceiling fans regularly, or installing fan filters that trap dust and bacteria.

References

  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of richard
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