Everyone knows how hard it is to be in an unventilated room for a long time: from stuffiness the head begins to hurt, lethargy, fatigue, drowsiness appear … Many explain this by a lack of oxygen. And they are mistaken.
In the air of a poorly ventilated room, the oxygen content decreases so slightly that it cannot have any negative effect on the body. Glory, for example, about the beautiful air of Kislovodsk spread throughout the world. And in this city. located at an altitude of about 1000 meters above sea level, the oxygen content, or rather its partial pressure (the pressure that molecules of this gas only produce), is 20 millimeters of mercury below. than in Moscow.
At the foot of Elbrus, where the height is already 2000 meters, the partial pressure of oxygen is lower than in Moscow by 34 millimeters of mercury. However, everyone who comes to relax, ski or go on an excursion to Elbrus region rightly admires the healing air of these mountainous places. Therefore, the cause of the discomfort in a stuffy room is not a lack of oxygen.
The culprit is a whole range of factors, and, according to many scientists, primarily carbon dioxide.
Experiments show that in an unventilated room where people are. the carbon dioxide (CO2) content from 0.03% (which can be considered the norm) can increase to 0.3-0.5%, and sometimes even to 0.8%, that is, more than 20 times! This is not surprising – because carbon dioxide is released with exhaled air, and in it the concentration of carbon dioxide reaches 3 – 4%!
Carbon dioxide is a powerful regulator of respiratory and circulatory functions. In a oxygen, it constantly circulates in the blood, has a stimulating effect on the respiratory and vasomotor centers located in the brain. By reflexively exciting vasomotor centers, carbon dioxide increases blood pressure. Directly affecting the vessels of the brain, it expands them, and the more active, the higher the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood. And this, in turn, can cause a feeling of heaviness in the head and a headache, a state of discomfort, and rapid fatigue.
In addition to carbon dioxide, we inhale the so-called harmful impurities, such as carbon monoxide, or carbon monoxide (CO). During the day, a person can emit up to 10-15 milliliters of CO in the atmosphere surrounding him. And if there are a lot of people in the room and it is not ventilated for a long time, the content of carbon monoxide in the air increases, and it can begin to have a toxic effect on the body. Getting through the lungs into the blood, carbon monoxide molecules are introduced into red blood cells, displacing oxygen from its compounds with hemoglobin, forming carboxyhemoglobin. At the same time, oxygen transport to tissues is disrupted, which leads to the development of oxygen deficiency – hypoxia.
In addition, carbon monoxide also disrupts the process of biological oxidation in tissues, causing oxygen starvation in the body, which is why all its systems suffer and many functions are disrupted.
The air in unventilated rooms also contains other harmful impurities: methane, ammonia, aldehydes, ketones. They enter the air around us from the lungs when breathing (a total of 149 substances are released with exhaled air), as well as from the surface of the skin, with the evaporation of sweat (271 substances).
Aldehydes, for example, systematically interacting with tissue proteins, can cause pathological changes in internal organs, primarily respiratory organs. They negatively affect the activity of the central nervous system, and because of this there is increased fatigue, headache.
The inhalation of ammonia, a chemical compound of nitrogen with hydrogen, also leads to adverse effects. In the air of a poorly ventilated room, the content of this substance, of course, is not so significant as to cause a typical picture of poisoning. But the trouble is. that the effect of ammonia on the body is enhanced by other harmful impurities in the air. And such a double or triple stroke is already quite pronounced: its consequences can be increased breathing, increased blood pressure, irritation of the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, lethargy, drowsiness, decreased performance, headache.
A significant role in the development of adverse changes in the body is played by the lack of negatively charged ions in the air of non-ventilated rooms and, conversely, the excess of positive ions. It is now well known that it is negative ions. which are many in the fresh air, tone the autonomic nervous system through peripheral receptors embedded in the skin, in the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract. As a result, vitality increases, vivacity, good mood appear.
The conclusion from all that has been said is clear: the rooms in which we live, work, relax, must be carefully and systematically ventilated.