Symptoms of poor indoor air quality must be treated comprehensively – comments requested on new recommendation
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is requesting comments on the recommendation for the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of symptoms associated with poor indoor air quality. The basis for successful rehabilitation is that people feel they are heard, the doctor-patient relationship works well and people receive individual support.
Besides risk factors in the indoor environment, there are a number of other factors related to the individual and community that can make the symptoms worse. The recommendation emphasises that it is important to listen to patients and consider their situation as a whole when diagnosing and treating symptoms associated with poor indoor air quality.
The examination and treatment of patients may require multi-sectoral cooperation, but the treatment should, as a rule, be organised in primary healthcare.
Prevention plays a key role
Symptoms associated with poor indoor air quality can be prevented and reduced by systematically ensuring a good indoor environment, addressing the detected deficiencies as quickly as possible and providing information in an open manner. According to the recommendation, the exposure agents in the indoor environment in Finland that increase the risk of chronic diseases the most are radon, fine particulate matter, passive smoking and moisture damage.
Investing in good-quality indoor air pays off, because this has positive effects not only on health but also on wellbeing, learning and work productivity.
More information is needed on rehabilitation methods
Symptoms associated with poor indoor air quality are common and usually mild and temporary, but with some patients, symptoms may persist for a long time and significantly reduce their quality of life and functioning. It is also possible to help patients with prolonged symptoms, but, according to the recommendation, more information is still needed on rehabilitation methods in particular.
Comments on the recommendation can be submitted between 20 December 2023 and 31 January 2024. The recommendation was made by a multiprofessional working group appointed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. The group consisted of members representing fields such as research on indoor air quality and its effects on health, primary healthcare, occupational healthcare, specialised healthcare, expertise in social security and benefits, as well as the patient perspective. The recommendation updates and supplements the previous, narrower set of recommendations for the treatment of symptoms associated with moisture and mould damage.
Kati Huttunen, Senior Researcher, tel. +358 29 524 8192
Taneli Puumalainen, Director General, tel. +358 295 163 280