Your home and your lungs

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.

If you’ve developed an allergy, 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.

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


Radon in the UK - UKRadon.orgRadon is a natural radioactive gas that comes from rocks and soil.

Certain areas of the UK have higher levels of radon than others. The radon level in the air we breathe outside is very low, but it can be higher inside poorly ventilated buildings. High levels of radon can cause lung cancer.

The higher the level of radon, and the longer you are exposed, the greater the risk will be.

Indoor radon often varies from building to building. You can find out if your home is in a radon-affected area at UKradon.

Next: Causes of indoor air pollution >

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Last medically reviewed: September 2015. Due for review: September 2018

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.