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8 hours $7.98
12 hours $6.98
20 hours $5.98
30 hours $4.98

The Air We Breathe - How Air Quality Affects Health And Well-Being

1.5 Contact Hours
Target Audience: Nurses, healthcare professionals, and interested individuals
Purpose/Goal: The outcome of this course is for the learner to describe components of external and indoor air pollution, their effects on human health, and methods of reducing or eliminating external and indoor air pollution, especially in healthcare environments.
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The quality of the air we breathe is essential to our overall well-being. Contaminants in our external air, as well as the air we breathe in our homes and workplaces, play an important role in many diseases. In high enough concentrations, these contaminants can be fatal. Creating optimal healing environments requires close attention to air quality, temperature, humidity, and odors.

Upon completion of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Identify key elements and sources of external air pollution.
  • Describe the health impacts of key elements of external air pollution.
  • Describe the role of healthcare organizations in releasing mercury, polyvinyl chloride, and dioxin into the air.
  • Identify key elements and sources of indoor air pollution.
  • Describe the health impacts of key elements of indoor air pollution.
  • Describe how airborne pathogens are transmitted.
  • Describe the role of healthcare organizations in the transmission of air-borne pathogens.
  • Explain the effect of temperature, humidity, and odors on human health and well-being.
  • Identify methods of reducing or eliminating external and internal air pollution.

In her 1859 book, Notes on Nursing, Florence Nightingale (2007) asserted, “The very first canon of nursing... the first essential to the patient, without which all the rest you can do for him is as nothing... is this: To Keep the Air He Breathes as Pure as the External Air, Without Chilling Him” (p. 12).

Nightingale knew that fresh air of the appropriate temperature was essential to a person’s ability to heal and remain well. She went on to say, “To attempt to keep a ward warm at the expense of making the sick repeatedly breathe their own hot, humid, putrescent atmosphere is a certain way to delay recovery or to destroy life” (p. 14).

Every day, we take approximately 24,000 breaths of air. This is equal to 2 gallons of air per minute or 3,000 gallons of air per day. Because breathing is essential to life, we need to be sure that the quality of every breath we take is optimal (Girman, Vigna, & Lee, 2004).

The quality of the air we breathe is a critical factor in health and well-being. Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health, affecting everyone in developed and developing countries alike. Even in low concentrations, pollutants have been associated with a range of adverse health effects such as stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma (World Health Organization [WHO], 2016). When air quality is discussed, most individuals think of outdoor air pollution, but poor indoor air quality is also considered a risk for more than 50% of the world’s population. Especially in homes where biomass fuels (such as wood or wood chips) or coal are used for cooking and heating, indoor air pollution can be 10 to 50 times higher than recommended guidelines and be particularly hazardous to health (WHO, 2016).

Complete the course post exam (CE Test) with a score of 80% or greater. Complete all fields of the course evaluation form. Certificate of Completion is provided once the course post exam is passed per criteria above.

  • American Board of Managed Care Nursing
  • ANCC - American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • AOTA - American Occupational Therapy Association
  • ASWB - Association of Social Work Boards
  • California Board of Behavioral Sciences
  • California Board of Registered Nursing
  • California Department of Health, Aid, and Technician Certification Section
  • District of Columbia Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing
  • Florida Board of Nursing - Certified Nursing Assistants
  • Florida Board of Respiratory Care
  • Florida Council of Dietetics and Nutrition
  • Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery
  • NAADAC - The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors
  • NCBTMB -National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork
  • Florida Board of Massage Therapists


Practice Level:


Content Focus:

Domain of OT

Course Expires:

September 01, 2021

  • Cyndie Koopsen, RN, BSN, MBA, HNB-BC, RN-BC, HWNC-BC
  • Caroline Young, MPH
Jurisdictional Requirements:

Continuing education (CE) licensing requirements vary by jurisdiction, are not well defined, and may change. These CE requirements may vary in terms of the number of hours required to the types of courses that must be taken. ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC recommends you contact your licensing board or accrediting organization for the latest continuing education requirements of your state or territory. Compliance with CE requirements is the responsibility of the individual health care provider. Health care providers must understand the CE requirements in their jurisdictions, and be sure they are up-to-date on any rule changes that affect their license. For further information, please see our Accreditation Information.

Accommodations for Disabilities:

Every effort will be made to accommodate your special needs. To request accommodations, please contact us.

Conflicts of Interest and Relevant Financial Relationships:

The authors/planning committee members have no conflicts of interests or relevant financial relationships to declare relevant to this activity.

Commercial Support:

No commercial support has been received for this activity.

Non-endorsement of products:

Accreditation refers to recognition of continuing nursing education only and does not imply ALLEGRA Learning Solutions, LLC approval or endorsement of any commercial product.

Off-label Use of Products:

None of the authors intend to discuss off-label uses of drugs, mechanical devices, biologics, or diagnostics not approved by the FDA for use in the United States.