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The Air Quality Blog by Rabbit Air

Scare Off Symptoms of Secondhand Smoke

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If your living situation leaves you exposed to secondhand smoke, you need to take action.

Everybody knows a smoker. They’re easy to find  check the outside of any restaurant, bar, or sidewalk in America, and you’re sure to spot at least one. It doesn’t exactly take an archaeologist to chart a smoker’s territory from the strewn collections of discarded cigarette butts littered about the sidewalk. You may even smoke yourself. 

We have nothing against smokers as people — it’s just that their habits are actually destructive to the people around them.

We all know that countless (32, to be exact) Surgeon General reports detail scientifically-verified information on the serious medical issues posed by secondhand smoke (SHS). Still, as long as people remain addicted to tobacco, the problem will persist.

This is because, most of the time, SHS is unavoidable. You can choose to walk away from a smoker, but you can’t always just move out if they live right next to or with you.

Whether you live in an apartment with smokers or they’re your college dorm roommates, you are unwittingly being exposed to secondhand dangers. Here’s why you should care  and what you can do about it.

Scourge by Osmosis

The American Cancer Society paints a particularly bleak portrait of the dangers of SHS. We may as well begin with the grim numbers: of the staggering 20 million Americans who have died as a result of smoke inhalation since 1964, about 12.5%  or 2.5 million  were actually non-smokers.

This number includes the roughly 100,000 babies who perished due to parental smoking. Scary stuff.

Why is secondhand smoke so particularly troublesome? Well, it turns out there are actually two kinds of smoke: mainstream and sidestream. Mainstream smoke is what the smoker exhales after puffing; sidestream is the smoke that drifts from the tip of the lit cigarette into the surrounding air.

The latter is unfiltered, and thus contains more toxins, carcinogens, and smaller particles that more easily make their way into your body  your buddy may be the one smoking, but you’re actually getting the short end of the stick. 

You already know that SHS is carcinogenic and strongly correlates with various cancers especially lung cancer (7,000 SHS deaths per year), but also lymphoma, leukemia, cancers of the brain, throat, bladder, rectum, stomach, etc  but what about other diseases? The raw truth is that, annually, about 42,000 people die of heart disease caused by cigarettes they never smoked. 

There are also strong links between secondhand smoke and the increased risk of severe dementia and depression (especially among pregnant women), as well as hundreds of thousands of cases of respiratory infections and asthmatic symptoms attributed to SHS.

Because of secondhand smoke’s pernicious quality, the EPA has determined that there are no safe levels of exposure.

Room To Breathe

You’re not totally out of luck, though. Beyond removing yourself from the smoking area, the best way to reduce the damage caused by SHS is to actually cleanse the air you breathe. According to an article by industry expert Rabbit Air, air purifiers are an effective way to combat both the harmful chemicals and odors released by secondhand smoke.

Air purifiers create healthy, breathable air through the use of a robust HEPA filter, which captures the particulate matter produced by cigarette smoke as it is drawn through the filter’s fibers. This is combined with the use of an activated carbon filter, an extremely porous material, that effectively traps chemicals and odors as they pass.

The Rabbit Air MinusA2 air purifier also has a customized filter option, called the Odor Remover, that was specifically produced to trap smoke particles in your home. It has activated carbon woven into its fibers, increasing the effectiveness, durability, and longevity of the device.

While secondhand smoke remains a serious health threat in our homes and communities, there are practical ways to combat its dangers, allowing you to take a refreshing, deep, and smoke-free sigh of relief.

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The Cutest Dogs That Allergy Sufferers Really Shouldn't Have

Luke Ma/flickr

As cute as they are, these are dogs that you’ll want to avoid if you’re striving for an allergy-free lifestyle.

For this post, we surveyed everyone in the entire world on the subject of dogs, and the results are in: they all agreed that dogs are so, so, so cute. In fact, they’re basically little charming pillows that shower you with blinding and unconditional love. 

Do your best friends scream and shout and fling themselves at you just because you went through the simple motion of walking inside? Didn’t think so. Dogs, however, can look adorable doing anything. For all of these reasons and more, we strongly recommend that each and every human being have a dog. No questions asked. 

Well, one question might be worth asking: Do you have dog allergies? If the answer is yes, you might want to steer clear of any breed on this list of sneeze-inducing pups. Because of the unique quality of these dogs’ fur, their tendency to shed or slobber, or their flaky skin, they can produce quite a lot of allergens. 

For people with dog allergies, the proteins in a canine’s saliva, dander, hair, and urine cause their immune systems to overreact, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. What’s worse, their hair or dander can gather mold, pollen, or spores when they’re running about outdoors, making double doggy trouble for allergy sufferers.

Though there’s no such thing as a truly “hypoallergenic” dog, the following pups are particularly rough on those unlucky folks out there with pet allergies.

Stately St. Bernard

KNLphotos2010/flickr

Truly incredible. It’s hard to imagine a sleeker mane, and it’s even harder not to picture a child gently nestled into this pooch's side, soundly sleeping. These are the kinds of dogs that complete a family. But if you have allergies, I’m sure there are other good pets, too, right?

French Bulldog


Bruno Cordioli/flickr

Wow. This pup is absolutely devastating. The ears! That eager and inquiring little face! We never thought we’d say it, but this is the kind of cuteness that’s just too much for any human being with a heart to bare. Unfortunately, thanks to this pup’s tendency to slobber everywhere, allergies would make living with this guy pretty tough to bear, too. 

German Shepherd

Marilyn Peddle/flickr

I’m literally jumping. If a team of scientists were to try to create an algorithm that could quantify the cuteness, they would surely be driven insane. Unfortunately, there’s no scientist in the world that can cure you of the allergies that are keeping you from this all-star pup.

Boston Terrier


Sendai Blog/flickr

This is one of the world’s cutest dogs — especially when it’s wearing hats. They’re unconditionally happy, portable, and affectionate little gentlemen, easily pictured wearing a tiny monocle and a truly perfect new member for any home. Unless, of course, you have allergies.

Springer Spaniel 

Tony Harrison/flickr

I once knew a Springer, and some of my fondest memories include spending hours tousling his perfect, unbelievable shiny fur. I can still picture staring into his clear, honest eyes, communicating with him with a perfect purity that only a shared childhood can bring. I would assume you can build those kinds of bonds with a fish if you’ve got allergies, but I can’t make any promises.

Dachshund

Lachlan Hardy/flickr

Ah. The closest thing to a football that dogkind has to offer, the Dachshund truly captures our hearts. I can just picture slumping this guy over my shoulder like a sack of tiny potatoes. This form of cuteness is almost too powerful to touch. If only it weren’t for your poor, allergy-ridden soul.

But Really

Okay, so the news isn’t as bad as it seems. While having medium-to-severe allergies can sometimes make it tough to have pets like these, there are actually plenty of ways to make having a dander-heavy animal a happy experience.

According to the Nest, simple things like giving your dog regular baths help tremendously to clear up the air and minimize shedding. One of the best things you can do to minimize allergy symptoms is to find a high-quality air purifier to keep the allergens at bay at all hours — some of the best models are available here, from Rabbit Air. As long as you’re diligent, having a dog is no problem — even if you’re cursed for life with pesky allergies.

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6 Things Only People with Allergies Will Understand

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A list of allergy symptoms that can turn spring into a terrifying season. 

Spring: A Curse and a Blessing

It’s that time of the year again: spring, the season of hope and new beginnings. For some, however, it’s the season of despair, and those beautiful, blooming flowers can only mean one thing: it’s allergy season. Lots of people struggle with allergies, and the first whiff of pollen will have them running for the hills.

Unfortunately for this demographic, the allergen forecast for 2015 does not look good. New York Magazine has predicted a “Pollen Tsunami” caused by high levels of winter precipitation, a late spring bloom, and record temperature highs this summer.

This is virtually a nightmare for anyone with allergies, and people should expect higher pharmacy sales and traffic as Americans stock up on Claritin, Allegra, and Zyrtec in anticipation of the season’s horrors.

As the American College of Asthma, Allergies and Immunology points out, allergies come from “allergic sensitivity to airborne mold spores or to pollens from grass, trees and weeds.”

So what are the absolute worst effects of allergy season? What symptoms will have you hiding indoors, covering yourself in blankets, and attempting to hibernate until fall? Here are one reporter’s seven worst allergy symptoms, paired with examples of what you might have to deal with if you’re one of the unlucky few who suffer from allergies. 

Six Terrible Symptoms

1. Itching

One of the worst, as well as the most universal allergy symptom is — you guessed it — itching. What could be worse than going on a nice date on a spring afternoon, soaking up the sun in your local park with a potential romantic companion, and all of a sudden feeling a nasty itch creep up your arm?

Suddenly, you’re beset by the unbearable urge to scratch yourself until the excruciating pain stops. What’s distressing is that scratching won’t help cure the discomfort — only antihistamines will do the trick. And it only gets worse.

2. Headaches

Headaches are “caused by nasal congestion,” says the ACAAI. They make you cranky and irritable, they’re distracting, and they’re often nearly impossible to get rid of. While Advil, Tylenol, or Aspirin might help ease the effects, medicine can only go so far. Be prepared to excuse yourself from the dinner table so that you can quietly cry in a corner, because allergy headaches are downright awful.

3. Snoring

All that congestion means you probably won’t be able to breathe out of your nose, which also means you’ll have to start breathing out of your mouth, and eventually, you’re going to start snoring. People won’t want to sit near a creepy mouth-breather, let alone sleep next to one.

The sniffles are perhaps the most subtle, yet infuriating of allergy symptoms — whether you’re the serial sniffler or just in the vicinity of one. Having a stuffed-up nose is no fun, especially when it’s for an entire season. The ACAII explains how this symptom can come from either “outdoor allergens, such as pollens from grass, trees, and weeds,” or “indoor allergens, such as pet hair or dander, dust mites and mold.”

4. Sneezing

Be sure to have Kleenex on hand at all times, because you’re about to become a snot machine. You’ll probably set personal records for how many times you can sneeze in a row — why not keep track and try to beat your own record?

5. Swelling

Beyond your red, scratchy eyes, you might also have to worry about your face swelling up to enormous proportions. Surprise — swelling doesn’t look good on anyone. But don’t worry: according to Pollen.com, allergies are just “your body's defense system (the immune system) overreact[ing] when defending itself.”

6. Pharmacy Bills

Perhaps the worst thing of all is the fact that anytime one of these many symptoms emerges, you’ll be sprinting to the medicine cabinet to grab a new pill or some anti-itching cream to help you. Be ready to make friends with your local pharmacist — and to drop half of your paycheck on pills. For tips on environmental control, the ACAAI has some great recommendations for keeping your allergy symptoms at bay.

If devouring medicine isn’t your thing, consider one of Rabbit Air’s high-quality air purifiers — they’ll protect you from the hazards of allergy season and give you some clean space to breath in. An air purifier might be your best bet against misery and social exile.

Best of luck, my fellow allergy sufferers. This spring, you’re going to need it.

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Bad News: There’s Gross Stuff in the Air You’re Breathing

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Everybody knows that New York City’s air is questionable at best, but you may be surprised by some of the things this scientist found fluttering around the city’s streets.

Take a deep breath. Smell that fresh spring air? Chances are, if you live in New York City, the answer to that question is an immediate and resounding “no.”

Scientist, author, and seasoned air expert, Bill Logan, recently conducted an experiment to determine what exactly New Yorkers are breathing in on a daily basis. The results revealed a surprisingly wide range of materials — in addition to the expected pollutants like pollen, exhaust fumes, and dust.

Interestingly enough, air content can paint a remarkably accurate picture of a specific neighborhood’s cultural and commercial makeup. For example, the air in particularly diverse neighborhoods, like Midtown, contained skin cells from a wide variety of races, while Chinatown air was full of fat and starch from all of the Chinese food restaurants in the area.

Intriguing correlations aside, some of the findings were just downright nasty. Let’s take a look at some of the weirder things found floating through the streets of the five boroughs.

Something in the Air

As Logan moved throughout the city with his homemade air quality tester, according to the New Daily News, he discovered the presence of a wide variety of materials, each more interesting than the next.

His first stop was beautiful Brooklyn Heights, an affluent, residential neighborhood west of Downtown Brooklyn. The air here was full of fat molecules — likely from the kitchens of the neighborhood’s many restaurants and bars. The area is also in close proximity to the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, which meant that the air contained tiny bits of rubber and silica glass. Yikes.

The now-trendy Williamsburg, tested positive for bits of denim and other natural fibers, nail polish, pollen, and even human hair — unsurprising, considering the overwhelming abundance of hipsters in the neighborhood.

The blocks surrounding Times Square — full of cars and humans — were unsurprisingly teeming with dead skin cells, soot, tire rubber, and carbon from automobile exhaust. Meanwhile, the air in the South Bronx was saturated with noxious fumes, like carbon, diesel exhaust, and bits of rubber.

And in East Elmhurst, Queens, Logan detected significant samples of rust spores, miniature glass fragments, carbon exhaust, and even flecks of insect exoskeletons.

With all of these strange and occasionally toxic materials floating around, it’s no wonder that the asthma rate in New York City is higher than in any other major city in the United States, as the New York Times reports.

In fact, a study indicated that in Central Harlem, up to one in four children suffer from the disease. To put that into perspective, there are no well-known case studies indicating levels above 20% anywhere else in the country.

Pick Your Battles

While we certainly can’t control the air floating through the city streets, we can exercise a certain amount of control over the indoor air quality (IAQ) of our own homes and workspaces. If you consider the fact that most Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors (according to the EPA), improving IAQ is more critical than ever — especially if you’re a New Yorker, or a citizen of any metropolitan area, for that matter. 

Particulate matter like dust, haze, and smoke enter your living spaces through poorly ventilated or sealed off rooms, negatively affecting your IAQ. If there are cracks in your windows and doors or openings in your air vents, your home isn’t adequately protecting you from the dangers of the urban outdoors.

Cutting-edge air filtration systems, like those offered by Rabbit Air, are simple, powerful tools that can help you in the battle against unhealthy air. Rabbit Air purifiers employ a four-stage filtration system that will capture the smallest and most “unique” particles the Big Apple has to offer, making the space around you safer, healthier, and toxin-free.

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How To Clean and Detect Mold

Brian Moloney/flickr

You step inside your home and notice an unpleasant, pungent odor. After making sure you really did take out last week’s trash, you decide that there’s only one explanation: you may have a mold problem.

According to the EPA, mold can create and worsen a number of medical problems, most of which are triggered by their production of allergens. Inhaling or touching mold can elicit allergic reactions, which can include sneezing, red eyes, a runny nose, and skin rashes. Mold can also contribute significantly to asthma attacks.

Even with your emerging suspicions, it’s hard to act against mold — especially at first. Mold reproduces through the expansion of tiny spores that float through the air, and may begin to reproduce inside if its spores land on wet surfaces.

Oftentimes, it can only be found in hidden, hard-to-reach places, like behind walls, beneath wallpaper, inside ductwork, or beneath roofing panels. Despite potential challenges, once you’ve become suspicious of mold, it’s important that you act fast.

Taking Action

Since mold is commonly hidden from view, you have to be diligent about locating its source. Even before looking around obvious places, check parts of your home that get little sun exposure, according to Answers.

It’s important that your investigation be thorough and careful, especially in certain situations — if you discover a great deal of mold growing behind your wallpaper, for example, it’s imperative that you be careful in removing it, as this process, if done hastily, can release a great number of airborne spores.

After locating the source of mold, you must also attempt to restrict the area — this will save you trouble and money down the road.

Covering the moldy region with plastic bags and then fastening them with duct tape will prevent the mold from spreading, and also keep spores from becoming airborne. In minimizing the expansion of the mold, you’ll have an easier time successfully removing it.

Once you do make an effort to clean and remove the mold, you should be sure to use proper equipment. Again, be sure not to let the spores get released into the air, which is difficult to avoid while actively cleaning. It’s good to wear a mask, and you should conduct research on which cleaning agent will be best for your situation.

While cleaning the area, make sure to repeat the scrubbing process multiple times.

Future Prevention

Of course, even after you’ve dealt with your current mold issue, you’ll want to come up with a strategy for avoiding another one in the future. It’s wise to consult a professional about your problem, though many precautions can be conducted on your own.

In general, you’re looking to prevent the expansion of moisture within your home. Whenever something spills, act quickly. You should clean and repair your roof gutters frequently, and make sure the ground slopes away from the foundation of the building so that moisture doesn’t collect around it.

It’s also very helpful to keep the humidity in your home as low as possible. If you can dramatically lessen the amount of moisture in your building, then mold won’t feel welcome any longer. 

The air purifiers offered by Rabbit Air are a fantastic way to start living in a safer, mold-free home. Both useful in preventing future mold outbreaks and fighting against current ones, Rabbit Air’s products also eliminate 99.7% of allergens and pollutants from the air.

Each purifier is designed to adapt to your space and help it to maintain its usual equilibrium. Treat yourself to a mold-free existence with a Rabbit Air purifier.

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What is a HEPA Filter?

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HEPA filters — otherwise known as High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters — remove hazardous pollutants from the air in homes, workplaces, cars, and airplanes, minimizing health risks and helping us to breathe better.

Breathe Cleaner Air

While many of us are all-too-familiar with the dangers of outdoor air pollution to our health, few stop to consider that the air inside their homes or workplaces might also be polluted — according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air pollution is actually one of the top five environmental health risks.

Airborne dust particles can irritate the inside of your lungs, exacerbating problems like allergies and asthma and introducing a range of other health risks. The EPA recommends properly ventilating your living space with an air cleaning device, like a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. But what are the advantages of a HEPA filter, and how does it work?

Why Use HEPA Filters?

Most filters are only capable of filtering large-sized particles in the air. Filters function by catching all particles or objects above a certain size and letting anything smaller pass through, based on the size of the filter’s holes.

The average vacuum, for example, only captures some of the dirt it takes in, and actually releases the rest back out into the air. HEPA filters are much more high-functioning, and are capable of capturing over 99% of the particles in the air.

How Do HEPA Filters Work?

Inside every HEPA filter is paper made from very densely and randomly arrayed fine glass fibers, measuring between 0.5 and 2.0 micrometers. The filters catch dust and other particles in three ways — the first way is through interception, where particles enter the filter at a high speed, and get trapped within the filter.

When larger particles enter the filter, they travel along the curve of the air stream and are unable to avoid the fibers. Also known as impaction, this is most likely to occur at higher airflow velocities.

The last step of HEPA filtering is diffusion, which occurs with smaller particles — typically below 0.1 micrometers  and at lower air speeds. The particles float randomly through the filter and collide with gas molecules, which then obstruct and prevent the particles from passing through the filter.

Where Did the HEPA Filter Come From?

While the invention of the HEPA filter isn’t linked to any one person in particular, we might actually be able to attribute its existence to the atomic bomb. Fiber-based air filters were originally created as a part of the Manhattan Project, the initiative that created and tested the first nuclear weapon.

The filters were so effective at removing unwanted toxins that they were actually used to clean the air of radioactive particles.

Later, in the 1960’s, two German brothers, Klaus and Manfred Hammes, brought fiber-based filters into people’s homes by designing cheap air filters that reduced soot particles produced by coal-fired stoves. Now HEPA filters are used everywhere from manufacturing plants to modern airlines, and even in our own homes.

Look for “True HEPA” Not all filters are created equal. Any filter that claims to be “HEPA-like” or “HEPA type” is not a true HEPA filter, and likely won’t perform as well. A “true HEPA” filter has the ability to trap 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in diameter, as defined by the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). For some perspective, a human hair is 50-150 microns in diameter, which means very little gets through an authentic HEPA filter unscathed.

Rabbit Air’s award-winning air purifiers use true HEPA filters to trap allergens and pollutants in the air. What’s more, you may not even remember you own a Rabbit Air purifier — since their Brushless Direct Current Motor operates almost silently, you won’t even hear it working.

Not only are they quiet, but they’re also good-looking, with customizable artistic panels that you can choose yourself. With a Rabbit Air purifier, you can quite literally breathe easy.

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What Is Sick Building Syndrome?

AndreasS/flickr

That sick and tired feeling after a day at the office or in your home might not just be in your head — it may actually be in the walls around you.

How much time would you guess you spend inside on an average day? If it feels like it’s almost all the time, that’s because it probably is.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends 17.5 hours a day either working, sleeping, or performing indoor household activities – that’s almost three quarters of their time! So what happens if during that entire period you were actually inside of a room or building that was harmful to your health?

Would you be surprised if that space was your home or workplace? It turns out that toxic buildings are actually quite common, and the human effects of that toxicity are called Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).

The reality is that not all buildings were created equal. EPA research points out that many buildings were built before there was a cohesive scientific understanding of what constitutes a healthy interior space. It’s often the case that indoor air quality, ventilation rates, the amount of sunlight, and various other metrics of a building’s safety are not up to par, contributing to suboptimal living conditions. SBS is a serious, albeit relatively unknown, issue that affects virtually all of us in some way and at some point. Here’s what you need to know:

There’s No Discernible Cause

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), one of the biggest red flags for SBS is the experience of one or several acute symptoms, like headaches, nausea, coughing, chest pain, dizziness, or fatigue. These varied and somewhat commonplace health problems make it very difficult to identify a specific cause or illness. As expected, these symptoms will generally balloon while a person is in a particular building, then abate shortly after leaving. 


And while these might seem like minor irritants, SBS can eventually contribute to things like increased absenteeism, brought about by general sickness and lower levels of overall productivity. It’s common sense that employees work better when they feel better, and unfortunately, most people will look to almost every other cause before suspecting the very room they’re sitting in.

More than just a temporary setback, the symptoms of SBS can actually become chronic and turn into a persistent condition referred to as a Building Related Illness (BRI), according to the Global Healing Center. This means that, even after leaving a hazardous building, symptoms may require a prolonged recovery time to fully cease.

Ventilation and Contamination

The EPA also states that one of the principal causes of SBS is inadequate ventilation. Many carpets, pieces of furniture, and construction components consistently release potentially harmful or toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter, and even formaldehyde directly into a living space.

Unwanted contaminants are typically present in homes at relatively safe levels, but if they’re not consistently flushed out of the air, they can build up to intolerable volumes — certainly enough to cause a headache, or maybe something worse. Even a buildup of carbon dioxide from residents’ everyday breathing is enough to make someone feel fatigued and unproductive.

There are plenty of other contaminants floating around, too. Things like outdoor vehicle exhaust and cigarette smoke can be easily drawn into a building’s heating and ventilation system, accidentally cycling pollutants into living areas. Biological contaminants like mold, bacteria, pollen, and viruses can also easily create inhospitable working environments. 

Reclaiming Your Air


Luckily, you have some options to make sure you’re not living in an unhealthy environment on a daily basis. The EPA recommends performing a building walkthrough to address easily recognizable contaminants like mold, paint, and adhesives. You may also want to work with a professional to determine that your HVAC equipment is functioning at proper levels, which may include actually increasing your ventilation rates.

Some of the simplest fixes can be the most helpful ones — sufficient lighting, comfortable temperature, and adequate humidity are crucial to a healthy space. The importance of access to natural light cannot be overstated, and contributes significantly to overall mood and contentment.

One of the most proactive solutions, however, is to buy a quality personal air purifier, which ensures that your breathing space is always clean and healthy — and some of the best models in the industry are available through Rabbit Air. Whatever your method, maintaining a hospitable living environment and curating fresh air is critical to healthy living and working. We spend most of our time inside, and that time shouldn’t, under any circumstances, be detrimental to our health.

building related illnessepahvacsbssick building syndrome

What Is Indoor Air Quality and Why Does it Matter?

Thomas Angermann/flickr

We hear the words “indoor air quality” get thrown around quite a bit, but what are they actually referring to?

Indoor air quality (IAQ), also known as “indoor environmental quality,” measures how the air inside a given building impacts a person’s overall health and comfort. According to a study by the EPA, the air quality inside a typical home is up to five times more polluted than the air outside. Considering the fact that the average American spends approximately 90% of his or her time indoors, the impact of IAQ is of significant concern to nearly everyone.

Typical indoor air pollutants can easily lead to an assortment of ailments, including eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches and dizziness, respiratory disease, heart disease, and even cancer.

What Qualifies as “Good” Air Quality?

A building with good IAQ will be adequately ventilated, allowing the space to maintain a comfortable temperature and humidity along with a steady supply of fresh air from outside. That being said, it’s important that the building is structurally sound so that both indoor and outdoor pollutants are kept under control.

What Causes Bad Air Quality?

Bad IAQ can be traced to a wide variety of sources. Most IAQ problems originate from indoor pollutants that release gases or harmful particles into the air. Problems can arise when poor ventilation prevents enough outdoor air from circulating in and out to sufficiently dilute the harmful emissions.

Indoor sources of pollution include gas stoves, tobacco products and furnaces, which can release toxic by-products like carbon monoxide directly into the home environment. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and chemicals found in certain types of paints, cleaning products, building materials, and insecticides can also be somewhat dangerous.

Bad IAQ can also originate from outdoor sources — outdoor air pollutants can enter buildings through open windows, doors, ventilation systems, and improperly sealed structures. Some pollutants, like radon, can even creep in through a building’s faulty or dilapidated foundations.

Humidity is also a principal concern when it comes to IAQ. Inadequate moisture levels can lead to airborne illnesses and respiratory attacks stemming from chronic dryness in the nose, throat, and bronchial membrane. Conversely, an excessively humid environment can result in harmful molds and fungi. Indoor humidity levels should remain somewhere between 30-50%, with the ideal level being about 45%.

How Can I Improve My IAQ?

With all of these potential pollutants to contend with, good IAQ can often feel impossibly out of reach. There are, however, a number of ways that you can improve the air quality in your home without stretching your resources too thin.

The first step is identifying a space’s principal sources of indoor air pollution and removing as many of them as possible. The levels of dust and other dirty particles can be greatly reduced just by vacuuming once a week. Linens and stuffed toys should be washed regularly, and household chemicals and cleaning supplies should be stored securely and used sparingly.

It’s also important to keep tabs on the structural integrity of your home or workplace. Make sure that windows are sealed properly and building foundations are solid and crack-free. Radon and carbon monoxide detectors are also a helpful line of defense, and can alert you to the presence of undetectable hazards before it’s too late.

Technology Is Your Friend

While keeping your home neat and tidy is certainly helpful in terms of improving IAQ, sweeping and vacuuming can only go so far. Innovative technologies, however, can help you get the jump on harmful indoor pollutants before they get the chance to negatively impact your health.

A quality air filtration system, like the Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0, can capture particles that are small enough to escape through the vacuum and remain airborne indefinitely. The BioGS 2.0 employs a four-stage purification and deodorization system that captures everything from dust-mites and pollen, to car exhaust and VOCs. At the end of the day, the struggle for better IAQ will be significantly easier if you’re willing to do the research and utilize the proper tools.

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Do Air Purifiers Kill Dust Mites

 

Dust mites, a common cause of allergies and asthma world-wide, are tiny, microscopic creatures related to the spider. Although they can survive in all climates, they thrive in warm, humid places and prefer temperatures at or above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Favoring humidity levels of 75-80, they feed on dead human and animal skin cells and are often found in pillows, mattresses, carpeting and upholstered furniture.

Since these organisms are 0.25–0.3 millimeters in length, which is invisible to the naked eye, they float into the air when anyone vacuums, walks on carpet, or disturbs bedding. Once airborne they can easily be inhaled, ingested and trapped on your body. Although some people do not have a reaction to dust mites and their feces, as many as 20 million people in the United States suffer from allergies or asthma; so many have asked: Can you get rid of dust mites, and if so, how?

Health Concerns

Some signs that you might be allergic to dust mites are:

•    Runny nose
•    Itchy eyes
•    Watery or red eyes

•    Sneezing

•    Congestion of the nose
•    Coughing
•    Post nasal drip
•    Pain and pressure in the face
•    Itchy nose and throat
•    Difficulty sleeping
•    Swollen eyes
•    Puffy, bluish skin under the eyes
•    Rubbing of the nose, typically in children

If a dust mite allergy persists and triggers asthma, a person may also experience:

•    Tightness or pain in the chest
•    Trouble breathing
•    Wheezing
•    Shortness of breath and coughing that interferes with sleep

How to Control Dust Mites and Manage Your Symptoms

By following a few precautionary steps, you can reduce your symptoms and minimize your exposure to these unwanted guests in your home. Here are a few solutions:

1.    Dust mite covers are recommended to help prevent the spreading of dust mites in your home. To keep them out of the bedding, you can cover your mattress, pillows, and box spring with a fabric that has pores small enough to keep dust mites and their waste products out.

2.    Wash your bedding, as well as the pillows, comforters and mattress pads with hot water, preferably over 130 degrees Fahrenheit, to kill dust mites. Once a week is recommended, and if hot water is not available, using a special laundry detergent that can kill dust mites at any temperature is recommended.

3.    If washing your items is not feasible, i.e pillows, delicate fabrics and stuffed animals, place them in a large plastic bag and in the freezer for up to 48 hours. This extreme temperature will kill dust mites.

4.    Since dust mites are fond of humid environments, operating a humidifier to keep your humidity levels at 50 percent or less will help stop them from multiplying. It’s ideal to keep your humidity at 35 percent, although very low humidity may be uncomfortable for some people.    

5.    Clear your home of clutter. This could mean the corner with your childhood stuffed animals, or your blanket fort, complete with a pillow pyramid. Areas that are not well maintained can become a breeding ground for dust mites, so keeping your home, especially those areas that are carpeted, as neat as possible can help keep dust mites under control.

6.    Vacuuming properly is crucial to keeping dust mite populations down in each room, especially those that have carpeting. The problem with most vacuums is that they cannot capture particles as small as dust mites, so after sucking them out of the carpet, they quickly and easily, return back into your environment. A vacuum with a HEPA filter will not only trap dust mites, but it will actually pick up their waste and eggs as well.

7.    Dust mites and their waste products are weightless, so they can stay suspended in the air for long periods of time. Operating an air purifier with a true HEPA filter will pull in the microscopic particles into the filters so that they are no longer airborne. For an extra added oomph, the MinusA2 has a Customized filter, called the Germ Defense, that’s been specially designed to trap and reduce dust mites, as well as mold spores and other particles.

Let us help you choose the correct air purifier for your needs. Our knowledgeable, friendly and honest customer service representatives are available to you 24 hours a day. Just contact us or call 888.866.8862.

Allergic ReactionallergyasthmaDust Mite AllergyDust Mitesenvironmental triggershealth issueshealth problemsHEPA filterIndoor Air Pollutionindoor air quality

Improve Your Home and Your Health

For many proud homeowners across the country, home improvement is top priority on their to-do list. There are several aspects to improving your house such as routine maintenance, renovations, redecoration, upgrades, and other enhancements and accommodations. There are also a variety of reasons homeowners decide to make these changes: they could be health-related, the desire for a change of scenery, a need to be more economical, or simply the urge to take on another engaging project. All of these changes will contribute to an improved quality of life in and around the home – and investing in the right projects and products can be an excellent way to achieve this while saving money.

How Your Home Can Impact Your Health

As homeowners become savvier about the kind of lifestyles which improve health, there are several ways to upgrade the home to make increased well being possible. One way is to improve the cleanliness of the home while reducing germs and pollutants, a critical factor not only for the young and the elderly, but everyone. “Sick house syndrome,” or “sick building syndrome,” is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as a situation in which “building occupants experience acute health and comfort effects that appear to be linked to time spent in a building, but no specific illness or cause can be identified.” It is an illness experienced by Americans across the country who are exposed to various chemicals and sub-par living conditions which are prevalent, yet not always visible, in older buildings or buildings which are not structured to meet basic health standards. The result is that non-suspecting occupants may be exposed to unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide and radon, combustion particles or gases, toxicity from household cleaners, interior mold, and old lead-based paint. Even incense, air fresheners and candles can contribute to potential problems.

Solutions for a Healthier Home Environment

Fortunately, in most cases there are solutions to these problems. Household cleaners can be replaced by homemade, environmentally friendly ones which are cheap and easy to make using basic ingredients like baking soda, tea tree oil, vinegar, alcohol, lemon and toothpaste. Homeowners can also plug in carbon monoxide detectors and have their houses checked for other gases. Qualified professionals can remove asbestos and other toxic materials from the home. There are other simple upgrades which are also effective. Eco-friendly air purifiers can reduce pollutants and other chemicals, as well as improve air quality for people with allergies to dust or animal dander, and those who experience sensitivity to dry or damp air. Natural air purifiers like bamboo, yucca, and other plants are excellent enhancements which also provide an aesthetic appeal. Homeowners may wish to go even further, however, making their homes more green as an approach to improving their immediate environment. This can be effective for a variety of reasons; energy efficiency means effective natural lighting, which provides natural detoxification; energy efficient windows not only insulate well but can be opened to improve air quality and provide coolness; the use of sustainable materials which are non-toxic; and many other improvements add to the overall health factor of the home.

Financial Benefits

The financial benefits of making these changes can be substantial. While initial upgrades at first may seem costly when implemented on a large scale (like installing solar panels for instance), the long-term pay-off more than compensates for the funds initially spent. Homeowners can also enjoy the immediate effects of an improved quality of life due to a healthier environment, which will ultimately save money on trips to the hospital and doctor visits. Smaller improvements – such as investing in Eco-friendly cleaners – will save homeowners on the money spent on more expensive brand names. Making your home a safe, healthy place to live, will not only increase its value on the housing market, but, depending on what aspects of your home you have improved (like upgrading old features and securing safety measures), your insurance premiums can improve. And, of course, it’s important to make sure that the contents of your home are covered too, especially if they are upgrades which are contributing to the overall quality of the home. This means money saved in the long-run, a consideration which often takes its toll on health.

Most importantly, an improved home which is maximized for healthy living will play a hugely positive role, and become a major factor in the health and well being of the homeowners and tenants. A home is, after all, more than a place to stop between commutes – it’s the center of family, the place where memories are made, and where we ultimately spend most of our time. It is a place where we cannot afford to cut corners when it comes to our health and the health of our loved ones.

By volunteer contributor Gemma Hunt

[i] RabbitAir.com. “The Air Quality Blog by Rabbit Air”. Accessed January 8, 2015.

http://www.rabbitair.com/blogs/air-purifier

[ii] EPA.gov. “Indoor Air Facts No. 4 (revised) Sick Building Syndrome”. Accessed January 8, 2015.

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pdfs/sick_building_factsheet.pdf

[iii] ConsumerReports.org. “Is poor indoor air quality making you sick? Protect yourself against six hidden hazards in your home”. Accessed January 8, 2015.

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/06/is-poor-indoor-air-quality-making-you-sick/index.htm

[iv] GoodHousekeeping.com. “9 Cleaners You Can Make Yourself The key ingredients you need just might be hiding in your pantry” Accessed January 8, 2015.

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning-organizing/make-at-home-cleaners

[v] EarthEasy.com. “The Top 10 Plants for Removing Indoor Toxins”. Accessed January 8, 2015.

http://eartheasy.com/blog/2009/05/the-top-10-plants-for-removing-indoor-toxins/

[vi] EnvironmentalLeader.com. “Sick Building Syndrome: Is Greening Your Building a Cure?” Accessed January 8, 2015.

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/05/02/sick-building-syndrome-is-greening-your-building-a-cure/

[vii] Realtor.com. “What Homeowners’ Insurance Discounts Are You Missing?” Accessed January 8, 2015.

http://www.realtor.com/advice/what-homeowners-insurance-discounts-are-you-missing/

[viii] QuoteZone. “Compare contents insurance quotes now”. Accessed January 8, 2015.

http://www.quotezone.co.uk/content-insurance.htm

Air Qualityenvironmental triggershealth issueshealth problemsindoor air qualitypolluted airpoor air qualityRabbit AirRemodelingToxins

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