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.

Four Fun Facts About Mold

 

1)       You may know mold as the slimy stuff that can make you sick, but did you know that not all molds are hazardous to humans? In fact, some of them have been used to our great benefit.  Penicillin, one of the most important antibiotics developed, was derived in part from penicillicum mold, and has been of great importance in combating disease.  The discovery and development of penicillin won its inventor, Alexander Fleming, a Nobel Prize.

2)       There are even molds that are used with culinary purposes in mind.  Many delicious cheeses, including Roquefort, Brie, and Camembert are made by using molds like Penicillium candidum and Penicillium roqueforti to provide them with the soft rinds and blue veins that heighten their flavor.

3)       Some molds can solve mazes, like the fungi known as slime mold that have surprised scientists by following food sources laid out in a puzzle and retracting its protoplasmic tubes when they hit dead ends. Scientists working with the mold are hopeful that in the future, learning how slime molds move and cross distances can help humans plan more efficient travel routes.

4)       We know that mold needs a moist environment to grow, so it may come as a surprise that homes in hot, dry environments like the American southwest can also have their share of mold growth as well.  States like Texas, Arizona, and Nevada even made the top ten in the relative hazard mold ranking by American Risk Management Resources.  The major factor for mold growth in these states is not so much the weather, but a result of building conditions; if buildings are sealed too tightly, for example when trying to meet energy requirements, it can create poor ventilation which is a prime environment for mold growth. To help get rid of mold, it is best to use an air purifier, such as the MinusA2 with a true HEPA filter to trap and eliminate mold spores in your home.

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!

Staying Healthy Over the Holidays

The holiday season is in full swing, and while we love this festive and fun time of year, we also know that colds and allergies can get worse during the winter months.  Since no one wants to miss out on quality time with family and friends because of a stuffy nose, there are ways that you can keep smart about staying healthy during the winter months.

Having visitors for the holidays can be a merry treat, but friends and family bring more than just their luggage when they come to your home – they carry in germs and bacteria as well.  Keep yourself from getting sick by washing your hands frequently and making sure that anyone with a cough or stuffy nose covers their mouth.

If you celebrate Christmas with a real pine tree, be wary of mold that may sneak in on the needles or bark, and make sure to dispose of any fallen needles right away.  If you prefer an artificial tree to keep the pollen and mold at bay, remember to clean the tree frequently, as the needles provide a lot of surface area for dust to settle and collect.

Rain and snow are great when you’re inside sipping on hot cocoa, but they also create a moist environment where mold loves to thrive.  Keep humidity levels below 50%, and make sure to plug up any leaky windows or places where moisture can seep in.  You may also want to add an air purifier, such as our MinusA2 with the Germ Defense Customized Filter, that can tackle any dust, mold, or germs that make it into the air.  With an air purifier in the home you can worry less about airborne allergens and germs, and focus on the important things – the people you love!

Fall Allergies

The turning of the season is always a delight, and after spending the summer months at the mercy of the hot sun, the crisp, cool days of autumn may be a relief. Yet the change in the season also means that a new cycle of plants are starting to release their pollen, causing many people to get stuffy noses, itchy eyes, and other allergic reactions. Ragweed is the main culprit for fall allergies, though other plants that bloom at this time of year can contribute to allergic reactions.  Mold also starts to become more of a problem during the fall as rainy weather and piles of fallen leaves can create the perfect damp and dark environment that it needs to thrive.

While these allergens are in high concentration during this time of year, there are many things you can do to reduce your exposure to them. Dispose of that pile of freshly raked leaves promptly, and control your temptation to jump in, no matter how fun it might be. Wearing a face mask while you rake or do other yard work may also help to filter out any pollen or mold floating in the air. Keeping track of pollen counts is always a good idea no matter the season, and you can also help to reduce ragweed pollen around your home by carefully checking your garden and removing weeds wherever you find them. When you’re finally relaxing inside with a hot cup of cider, make sure that you are breathing clean air by making the indoor environment inhospitable for mold growth. Keep humidity levels below 50%, and use an air purifier like our MinusA2 with the Germ Defense Customized Filter to trap any airborne mold inside your home.

Remove Mold Successfully with Your Air Purifier

Did you know that you can remove mold successfully with your air purifier? Surprisingly, not everyone knows this important fact. Removing mold is critical, especially for those with asthma and allergies. But even if those living in your home do not have allergies or asthma you’ll still want to remove mold from the air with your air purifier. Mold can be quite troublesome, and in some cases, cause mild to more severe health problems.

Most of us know that mold grows under damp conditions. You can often see and smell mold as it grows, and it sure isn’t pretty! But there can also be mold spores in the air sometimes before it has appeared in your home, or even after you think you have removed it. These tiny spores can get into your lungs and cause irritations. For some, this means feeling like you have a cold or a sinus problem. If you have asthma it can aggravate your symptoms. For those with mold allergies it can cause mild to severe reactions, depending on the type of allergy you have. Even those without allergies or asthma often feel the effects of mold. They may sniff and sneeze, or feel like they are coming down with a cold. It is irritating and uncomfortable.  No one wants their family and friends to feel this way, especially if it can be avoided. But what is the most important thing about mold? It loves to grow! So if you do not take care of the problem, it probably will continue to grow and spread, lingering in your home until it is removed.

Your air filter can help to purify the air, removing tiny mold spores. This can be a tremendous help, and soon you’ll start to feel more comfortable. Note that not every air purifier can remove and purify mold; you should check to make sure that your air purifier can do the job. Rabbit Air’s MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier has an optional Customized Filter called the Germ Defense that will effectively trap and reduce airborne mold spores and particles that can carry viruses.

Help your air purifier do the best job it can, and tackle your mold problem hands on. Once you’ve targeted the areas that have mold, place the air purifier next to the locations to stop the spread of mold spores. If you don’t see mold right away, take your time and search through each room patiently. Try especially to check rooms that have the potential to be damp and wet, like the laundry room and bathrooms. If you really can’t find the source of the mold, you may need to call a mold specialist to help solve the problem.

Your air purifier can clean the air and remove the tiny particles of mold from the air, but remember that if you do not remove the source of the mold, it will continue to grow and you will continue to have a mold problem. Worst of all, your symptoms may increase as time goes on if the source is not removed. No one wants their family and friends to suffer, so it is important to act quickly!

Mold most often is a problem that can be solved. With the help of your air purifier, your family and friends will be quite comfortable in no time!