When 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.
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!
Since its debut in 2006, our BioGS air purifier has been providing excellent filtration and allergy relief for thousands of customers throughout the United States and even around the world. Although the original BioGS has been extremely popular, one of Rabbit Air’s core values as a company is the belief that we should always be looking for new ways to improve ourselves and our products. With that goal in mind, we set out to revamp the BioGS and make it even better than before. We listened to the opinions of over three thousand customers to see where they saw room for improvement, and we searched far and wide for the latest technology and the most modern, stylish design. Finally, we are proud to introduce our new BioGS 2.0!
Our BioGS 2.0 starts with the advanced, efficient filtration technology that you have come to expect from Rabbit Air. The BioGS 2.0 has a four stage filtration system, including our bio-engineered HEPA filter and our Charcoal Based Activated Carbon filter that uses real pellets of porous charcoal. Taking our next cue from our customers, we updated the user interface of the BioGS to be even more user friendly and easy to use. The BioGS 2.0 is a smarter machine than before – with new features such as an adjustable Automatic mode and a filter replacement countdown so you always know how much life is left in your filters. Our unique display makes each function easy to understand, and will automatically dim after five minutes to reduce light pollution. To wrap all these features in an exciting package, we went to Brazilian designer Guto Indio da Costa, who created a whole new look for the BioGS that was sleeker, more sophisticated, and that embodied the idea of “flow.” We are excited to present the new BioGS 2.0, and we hope that you will love it just as much as we do!
Although the dangers of long-term exposure to secondhand smoke are well known, a study conducted by the University of Athens and the Hellenic Cancer Society in Greece, and the Harvard School of Public Health found that short term exposure to high concentrations of secondhand smoke, as little as 20 minutes, can cause immediate impairment of airways. Researchers exposed healthy adults to a concentration of secondhand smoke designed to mimic the levels found in bars or during a car ride with a smoker present. Although none of the participants in the study reported feeling negative effects, when their breathing was measured it was found that the exposure was in fact “invoking such physiologic changes as increased airway impedance and resistance.” This new research will help public health workers more thoroughly understand the risks and consequences of secondhand smoke in public places, and will add to the growing body of data about the effects of secondhand smoke.
While the best way to protect oneself from secondhand smoke is to avoid it altogether, for many people, this is not always possible. Smoke can easily drift into workplaces from the street, or into homes from neighbors nearby. Secondhand smoke is difficult to deal with, but there are a few steps you can take to help protect yourself if controlling the smoke at the source is not an option. Stopping the smoke from entering is the first defense, and sealing not only windows and doors, but even electrical outlets can help to block the smoke from coming inside. Operating an efficient ventilation system can also keep your indoor air clear. For the smoke that does make it inside, using an air purifier, such as our MinusA2, that combines a true HEPA filter with a charcoal based activated carbon filter can help to filter out the chemicals and odors from secondhand smoke.
Dog 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.
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.
There may be exciting news on the horizon for those who suffer from asthma. A new experimental drug is showing promise in clinical trials as a potential way to treat asthma in those who have been resistant to other forms of treatment. Researchers state that between 10 and 20% of patients are not able to fully control their asthma symptoms using traditional therapies, and the scientists hope that their new drug will help this subset of sufferers. Rather than treating the symptoms of asthma, as many other medications do, the drug has been designed to treat the underlying cause of asthma. So far, their results have been quite promising. After a 12 week trial, patients using the new drug were found to have an 87% reduction in asthma attacks. As of right now, more research and testing will be required before the drug will become available.
Over 25 million Americans are thought to suffer from asthma, a chronic respiratory disease where airways in the lungs become inflamed and restricted, causing shortness of breath and trouble breathing. These symptoms can be worsened by exposure to environmental triggers, such as allergens and air pollutants, as well as factors such as diet, illness or vigorous physical activity. Traditional treatments include administration of steroids or use of inhalers to control symptoms as they occur. Managing exposure to environmental triggers can also prove helpful in reducing asthma attacks. At home, sufferers can use an air purifier with a true HEPA filter, like our MinusA2 Asthma and Allergy Friendly Edition, to filter the air of dust, pollen, and pollutants that can trigger an attack. It is also helpful to remove items that tend to collect lots of dust, such as curtains or carpets. For more ideas about how to control asthma and information on the latest research, visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s website.
Forest fires can be more dangerous than you might think. Though the most immediate danger comes from the fire itself, the smoke from a fire can harm people up to hundreds of miles away from the actual blaze. During a forest fire, a number of harmful emissions are released into the air in high concentrations, including small particulate matter, such as carbon monoxide, atmospheric mercury, and volatile organic compounds. As these pollutants are released during a fire, winds can spread them further than one might expect, leaving people unprepared or unaware of the health hazards. Breathing in these pollutants can exacerbate symptoms for those who have lung or heart disease, and even otherwise healthy people can also be at risk for symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and headaches. The longer one is exposed to these pollutants, the higher these risks can be.
We can all do our part to stop wildfires before they start. When camping, make sure to never leave camp fires unattended and douse them fully with water when you are ready to put them out. During dry summer days, make sure to keep a close eye on barbeques, bonfires and even lawnmowers – they can create sparks that can ignite dry grass. When fires do occur, you can protect yourself by checking local air quality reports and staying inside when air quality dips. It is also advised not to do any indoor activity that will add to pollutant levels if possible. This includes using wood burning stoves, lighting candles, and even vacuuming, as vacuums can throw particles that have settled on surfaces back into the air. Using an air purifier is the best way to keep the indoor air clean, and if you live in a fire-prone area, consider adding an air purifier with a true HEPA filter before fire season starts so that you know you are protected even before pollutant levels begin to rise.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are shedding some light on an air quality mystery that has had scientists stumped for some time. While we know that plants have a positive effect on air quality by helping to remove carbon dioxide from the air and providing us with oxygen, scientists had long suspected that isoprene, a molecule emitted by trees as a means of protecting their leaves from harm, played a part in creating particulate air pollution; they just were not sure how. Surprisingly, the study found that when the isoprene molecule was heated by the sun, it reacted with nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere to create tiny particulate matter that became suspended in the air, which has the possibility to cause or exacerbate respiratory ailments, such as asthma.
But wait! Don’t blame the trees for these dangerous particulates – it is the abundance of nitrogen oxide that is the real problem. These polluting chemicals are man-made by-products of cars, factories, and other coal burning sources. The more that scientists investigate the ways that particulate pollution occurs, the more effective our efforts at improving our air will be. Over the past decade many major cities in the United States have been able to improve their air quality, but smog and ozone remain in much higher concentrations than what is healthy. We can help to continue reducing these levels by being mindful about our daily choices – for example, making efforts to carpool or switching from plastic bags to reusable canvas ones. As we work on decreasing the amount of pollutants emitted into the atmosphere, we can protect ourselves from particulate matter by monitoring city air pollution levels before leaving the house, and by filtering particulates out of our indoor air by using an air purifier with a true HEPA filter like our MinusA2.
April showers bring May flowers, but they may also bring increased asthma attacks for those whose asthma is triggered by allergens. While rain can help your air quality by washing away pollutants that may be lingering in the air, a 2008 study by scientists at the University of Georgia and Emory University, found that emergency room visits for asthma attacks would rise in the days following a thunderstorm. They discovered that the wind and rain during a thunderstorm can break apart pollens into smaller pieces, making them easier to spread throughout the air and cause irritation to lung tissues. When winds pick up after a storm, they carry these tiny pollutants with them, and if sufferers are not prepared, then they may experience a sudden and surprising increase in their symptoms.
Managing triggers is one of the most important parts of a comprehensive asthma prevention plan, and research like this may help sufferers to better plan and prepare for the times when they need to exercise caution and keep inhalers or other medicines close. Keeping an eye on local pollen counts can also help sufferers by showing when pollens counts are highest, so that they can avoid going outdoors during peak times. While indoors, asthma sufferers can protect themselves from pollen and other irritating pollutants, by running an air purifier with a true HEPA filter, such as our MinusA2. By preparing for asthma triggers after a thunderstorm, sufferers can spend less time wheezing and more time splashing in puddles and enjoying the springtime showers.