Controlling Winter Allergies

WinterWhen we think of allergy season, the image brought to mind is often of flowing plants and pollen or the dry leaves of fall.  Yet allergies can happen all year round, even during the months of winter. Often winter allergies get mistaken for being cold or flu symptoms and do not get properly treated, making sufferers go longer without relief.   Here are a few tips on how to reduce allergies during the winter.

Control Humidity at Home
Cold winter months means that we spend more time indoors, thus making our homes warmer and more comfortable.  Make sure to check water heaters and pipes regularly for signs of leaks, and if you cannot resist the urge to warm up with long baths or showers, be certain to run fans and ventilate the room once you are done so that mold does not have a chance to grow.

Decorate Without Dust
While it might be easier to pull last year’s tinsel and lights from their boxes and straight onto the tree, doing so might introduce a lot of unwanted dust into your home.  Unpack boxes away from carpet and upholstered furniture, and make sure to give everything a good dusting before putting it festively on display.

Beware of Guests Bringing in Pollen Along with Presents
Although many guests will be courteous and wipe their shoes before entering a home, the truth is that we bring pollen, dust, and pollutants inside on more than just our feet.  Our hair and clothes can pick up these tiny pollutants and transfer them inside.  Allergy sufferers are often advised to shower and put on a clean change of clothes after coming home, but when guests come to call, this is not an option.  Instead, if you have lots of family and friends coming to celebrate, make sure to clean more than usual by vacuuming carpets and upholstery, cleaning sheets frequently, and capturing any pollen that escapes by running an air purifier with a true HEPA filter.

Winner of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s MinusA2 Giveaway!

AAFA Sweepstakes Winner

Last month the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America had an exciting sweepstakes with a brand new MinusA2 Asthma and Allergy Friendly Edition™ air purifier as the prize.   After many entries from hopeful allergy sufferers across the US, Terri M. of Plano, Illinois was declared the winner!

Rabbit Air is proud to partner with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to bring you the AAFA Edition MinusA2.  This air purifier is certified asthma and allergy friendly™, and includes our advanced bio engineered BioGS HEPA filter to efficiently filter out common asthma and allergy triggers such as mold, pollen, and dust.  Choosing products that have been certified by the AAFA is one way that families like Terri’s can help to control allergens at home.

Join us in giving hearty congratulations to Terri! We wish her and her family happy holidays, a bright New Year, and fresh, clean air all year long!

Tips for Reducing Allergies While Gardening in Fall

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1407841  by ingenue_mm Identify the Allergens
Knowing the primary causes for outdoor allergies is an important step in keeping your symptoms down and your spirits up.  With the changing of the seasons, different plants come into bloom, so there are new sources of pollen in the air to make you sniffle and sneeze.  Ragweed is a common allergen in the fall, and it is one of the worst offenders when it comes to making allergies flare up. Learn to identify ragweed and make sure to remove it from your yard on sight.  Other weeds and mold are also lurking around in fall, so removing weeds frequently will not only make your yard look its best, but will help you to breathe better in the long run as well.

Garden Smart
Make a plan before you get to work on your garden to ensure that you are protecting yourself as much as possible from allergies.  Keep track of daily pollen counts to see when they are highest, and make sure you avoid spending time outdoors during those times, even if it means working during odd hours. Wearing the right clothing can help as well to keep allergens off your skin.  Make sure to wear long sleeves and pants, and gloves to prevent as much contact as possible.  If you know your allergies are more severe, consider taking an antihistamine before going outside so that you can help stop symptoms before you start.

Keep it Outside
Once your hard work is done, resist the urge to flop right down on the couch to enjoy a break.  After being in the yard, you’ll be tracking in pollen and mold on your clothing, shoes, and even in your hair, and they will just transfer to any surface you touch.  Instead, relax by taking a warm shower and wash allergens down the drain.  Keep windows closed and sealed to keep pollen and mold from coming in, and run a good HEPA air purifier like our MinusA2 to eliminate any pesky allergens that do make it inside.  With planning and awareness, you can keep your yard looking great and yourself breathing better all throughout the season.

Dog Allergies

DogDog make wonderful and loving companions, but for many people, they also can also be the cause of allergic reactions and asthma attacks.  For some, this is due to the dog dander and hair that is shed throughout the course of the day.  Others may find that they are not allergic to the dog itself, but rather are affected by the dust, grass, and other allergens that the dog brings into the home.  With some dogs this influx of allergens is obvious, particularly if they are the sort of pooch that loves to roll around on the lawn or hide their bones in the soil.  However, even dogs that look perfectly clean can be dragging in enough pollen and pollutants to cause a reaction in their owners just by their paw to ground contact outside.  Whether it is the dander, or the outdoor pollutants causing you to sneeze, it is no fun to feel torn between breathing well and playing with Fido.

Luckily, there are many ways to tackle the problem of dog related allergies that will help you to breathe better while still enjoying time with your dog. Make it a play-time ritual to thoroughly brush your dog before coming back inside after a trip down the block or to the dog park. Keep a water bottle near the door to give their paws a rinse after a stroll down the street, or carry them straight to the bathtub if they’ve gotten really dirty in the yard.  Once they are nice and clean, you can use a room air purifier, like our MinusA2 with the Pet Allergy Customized Filter, to filter out any dander and hair from the air and use a vacuum with a true HEPA filter to collect any allergens that may have settled on the floor or furniture. By taking a proactive approach and removing allergens before they start to build up, you can keep allergy symptoms down and enjoy more quality time with your furry friend.

Allergy Proofing Your Home

HomeYour home should be your castle, yet if you are one of the millions of Americans who suffer from allergies or asthma, home can feel more like a prison of sneezing, wheezing, and sniffling.  Indoor air quality is often much worse than outdoor air quality, causing sufferers to have frequent and frustrating allergic and asthmatic reactions at home, particularly during high pollen seasons. Here are a few suggestions on how you can improve indoor air quality to help you sleep better, breathe easier, and enjoy being at home.

Remove Carpets, Drapes, and Rugs
Plush carpets and thick fabric drapes may seem luxurious, but they are prime places for dust and other airborne pollutants to settle.  Replacing them with hardwood floors and easily cleanable blinds can significantly reduce the amount of pollutants in your home.

Add an Air PurifierMinusA2 Asthma and Allergy Friendly Edition
Once you have removed the places that allergens like to settle and hide, keep them from circulating through the air by adding an air purifier with a true HEPA filter.  An air purifier like our MinusA2 will not only filter out pollens, but it can trap dust, mold spores, harmful chemicals and unpleasant odors as well, making it useful all throughout the year, even after allergy season is over.

Keep it Clean
Keep harmful pollutants from coming back by setting up a thorough cleaning routine and using products designed to keep allergens at bay.  Keep floors and furniture clean by using a vacuum with a true HEPA filter, and learn to love breaking out the duster and wiping down bookshelves, tables, and any other places dust might settle.  Wash your bedding frequently and think about using a special mattress cover to keep away dust mites for an easier time sleeping.

Creepy Crawly Cockroach Allergies

Many of us have had the unfortunate experience of flicking on the lights in the kitchen late at night, and seeing a dark shape quickly skitter back beneath the fridge.  Cockroaches usually keep themselves hidden when people are around, and so many people are unaware that the creepy critters are lurking beneath cabinets and appliances around the home.  It is estimated that over three quarters of urban homes have hidden cockroach infestations, and seeing one roach is a good indicator that hundreds or even thousands more are hiding nearby.  An infestation of cockroaches is more than just unsanitary; the feces, saliva, and body parts of these bugs can cause allergic reactions or asthma attacks in as many as 23 to 60% of sufferers in urban areas. The more severe the asthma or allergies a person has, the more likely they are to have a reaction to cockroaches, and the more important it is to eradicate the infestation.

Cockroaches are notoriously hardy and difficult to get rid of, so if an infestation is suspected, the most important step is to contact a pest control service that specializes in removing the unwanted houseguests.  You can also take precautions to make your home more hostile to the bugs by covering trash and keeping all food stored tightly and off of counters.  While you work to clear your home from these pests, you can help to relieve some of the allergy symptoms they cause with frequent cleaning.  Keep the air in your home clean and breathable by using an air purifier, like our MinusA2, to trap any feces or roach byproducts that may be circulating in the air. Make sure to wipe down surfaces frequently, and clean floors and upholstery using a vacuum with a true HEPA filter. With a proactive approach and a good pest control company to help, you can say goodbye to roaches and start breathing better at home once more.

How Heat Waves Hurt Air Quality

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1397489While everyone loves a little summer sunshine, when temperatures keep rising dangerous conditions may occur.  Heat waves are more than mere annoyances; they can increase the risk of health concerns from mild conditions such as heat rash to more serious problems such as strokes.  Even when limiting one’s exposure to the sun and heat, heat waves can still create health risks in areas one might not expect.  Air quality can worsen during a heat wave, to the point of becoming deadly in extreme circumstances. When the air is heated, chemicals compounds such as the fumes from our cars combine with the already present nitrogen oxide in the air to create thick layers of smog. The risk for this is particularly strong in urban areas, where there is already a greater concentration of chemical compounds in the air due to larger populations and more industry.

Smog is never healthy to breathe in, and during a heat wave when smog is found in higher concentrations it can cause lung tissue to become inflamed which over time can cause more serious complications. The increase in smog during a heat wave is especially dangerous for those who are suffering from respiratory illness, such as asthma, as it can increase or induce symptoms. During a heat wave, keep your lungs as healthy as possible by avoiding spending time outdoors in highly populated areas.  While in your home, keep an air purifier running that can trap the harmful VOCs from smog, such as our MinusA2 with the Toxin Absorber Customized Filter.  Stay cool, breathe clean air, and avoid direct sun exposure to stay as healthy as you can during a heat wave.

Celebrating 60 Years of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), an important organization that works to raise awareness about asthma and allergies, and to help those that suffer from these illnesses. At the time of their founding, the AAFA was known as the “American Foundation for Allergic Diseases,” and its aim was to work with allergy specialists to promote research and search for more effective treatments. As the foundation grew, it expanded its interests to look at asthma as well, and started to focus not only on the health care providers, but the actual sufferers of allergies and asthma. Today, the foundation works closely with patients and providers, funding research and outreach programs dedicated to educating the public about asthma and allergies and to help sufferers get their symptoms under control.

Here are just a few of the great programs and resources that the AAFA offers:

1)     Support groups for children, teen, and adult sufferers, as well as those who love and care for them. These support groups are a safe place to learn about how to manage these conditions and to share stories for emotional support.

2)    Educational resources are also available on the AAFA’s website.  These include posters, fact sheets, and continuing education resources for health care professionals, all designed to provide the best information about asthma, allergies, and treatment options.

3)     For those who are seeking an online supportive community where they can connect with others who are dealing with asthma and allergies from all over the country, the AAFA offers an active online forum where members can ask questions, share stories, and trade tips and information.

4)    For consumers who are looking to purchase products that have been proven to be more suitable for those with asthma and allergies, the AAFA’s Asthma and Allergy Friendly Certification Program is a great resource. Rabbit Air is a proud member of this program, and we are very happy to be able to offer our MinusA2 Asthma and Allergy Friendly Edition air purifier.

Healthy Resolutions for the New Year

The tradition of making a resolution for the New Year goes back a surprisingly long time; all the way to the Romans during the first century BC, in fact.  At that time, the celebration revolved around the two headed god Janus, who had one head looking behind to the past year and the other, forward to the future. Roman citizens were encouraged to do the same and evaluate their past actions so that they could resolve to improve themselves in the coming year.  Over the centuries, the tradition has gone in and out of popularity, and was changed many times along the way.  While we no longer celebrate with Janus, the New Year’s Resolution is a popular practice that many like to make as they look forward to a bright new year.

Here are some ideas for a healthy New Year’s resolution!

1)       If you wake up with a stuffy nose and find yourself sniffling every morning, this might be the year to make your bedroom allergy friendly.  Every month, make one change to help you breathe better at night. This can be as easy as replacing cloth curtains with vertical blinds, using a hypo-allergenic cover for your mattress, or adding an air purifier.

2)       Start doing random acts of cleaning throughout your home.  Wash a dish every time you walk into the kitchen, or dust a different shelf during each commercial break of your favorite show. By making the tasks small and simple, you won’t get overwhelmed, and you can even help to relieve asthma and allergy symptoms by removing clutter and preventing a build-up of dust or mold.

3)       If you spent a lot of time last year lounging on the couch, try adding a brisk walk to your weekly routine.  You don’t have to do much to start reaping some of the benefits gained by regular walks, so don’t be afraid to start slowly. Easing into a new routine can make it easier to stick it out too; start at a pace that feels comfortable to you, and as your build up stamina, you can start walking faster or walking more days a week to get the most out of this healthy activity.

4)       Whether you want to lose a few pounds or just want to strive for a healthier lifestyle, make it your New Year’s resolution to add some more “super foods” into your diet.  These foods – like spinach, walnuts, honey, and salmon – contain powerful nutrients like anti-oxidants and vitamins that play an important part to keep you feeling great.  Challenge yourself to eat one of these nutrient rich foods every day for a healthy and delicious new year!