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.

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.

Promising News for the Treatment of Asthma

755956_pillsThere 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.

Why Thunderstorms May Trigger Asthma

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.

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!

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.

Common Allergens Infographic

Common allergens effect many of us, these can be pollen, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, food, insect stings, medicines or other substances. Allergies comprise a multibillion dollar industry each year. An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, that’s 1 in 5 people in the US. Worldwide there are hundreds of millions of allergy sufferers. Read the infographic below for more allergy statistics.

Common Allergens Infographics

You are welcome to use this infographic about allergy statistics on your own website, please link back to this page or www.rabbitair.com as the source.

Rabbit Air offers a certified asthma and allergy friendly air purifier that is based on our popular MinusA2 design, to help with common allergens. The asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program, administered by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) in partnership with the international research organization Allergy Standards Limited (ASL), is an independent program created to scientifically test and identify consumer products that are more suitable for people with asthma and allergies.