Indoor air pollution

What are the effects of poor indoor air quality?

If you’ve been breathing in polluted air for days or weeks at a time, you might start to notice a dry throat or a cough. You might also feel short of breath, wheezy or have an itchy or runny nose.

Indoor air pollution is linked to increased risk of pneumonia, COPD and lung cancer. Pollution in your home can also increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

If you’ve developed an allergy to something in your home, you’ll usually get itchy and runny eyes, a runny nose and inflamed, swollen sinuses. Breathing through your nose can be difficult too, and you might have a cough.  If you have asthma, your symptoms might get worse if you have an allergic reaction to a pollutant in the air.

Some types of indoor air pollution are more dangerous than others. If you’re exposed to dangerous types of pollution, such as asbestos or radon, for a long time, the effects can be very serious.

Next: What are the causes? >

Download our indoor air pollution information (302KB, PDF)

Last medically reviewed: September 2018. Due for review: September 2021

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.