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The Air Quality Blog by Rabbit Air

How Do Air Purifiers Help With Asthma?
Asthma, a chronic disease that affects 26 million Americans, is an inflammation to the air passages that results in a temporary narrowing of the airways that carry oxygen to the lungs. Causing nearly 2 million emergency room visits ever year, asthma sufferers should take caution as there are many factors and triggers in your home that can cause an asthma attack.

 

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Stop, Drop and Prevention

While there are medications for asthma, the first line of defense should be identifying possible asthma triggers as prevention and environmental control can minimize asthma symptoms from the beginning. Some asthma triggers and ways to manage them are:

  • Smoke: Inhaling smoke from cigarettes and cigars can cause an inflammation of the bronchial tubes. This produces an excess of mucus production, which in turn leads to cough and phlegm. Prolonged smoking can also create an irreversible narrowing of the bronchial tubes from inflammation and scarring that can cause permanent breathing problems. Smoke from wood burning and fires also contain harmful gases and small particles, so areas that are affected by fire should be avoided to prevent particles from being inhaled.
Although staying far away from a smoker is highly recommended, if someone insists on smoking indoors, have a well ventilated    room or use an air purifier with an effective Charcoal Based Activated Carbon filter to help trap harmful chemicals and toxins that can get dispersed from smoke. For those who want an extra layer of filtration against odors, the MinusA2 from Rabbit Air gives you the option of choosing an Odor Remover Customized filter option that increases the efficiency of trapping odors to 91%.
  • Dust Mites: Dust mites are tiny bugs that feed off your dead skin and can be found in mattresses, carpets, furniture and bedding. They thrive in moist and humid environments and peak around July and August due to the weather. If you have asthma, dust mites can trigger an asthma attack, so prevention is important to keep dust mites at bay. Put airtight plastic dust-mite covers on pillows, mattresses, and box springs and wash all bedding in very hot water (over 130 degrees Fahrenheit) and dry in a hot dryer. It’s also recommended to vacuum your home with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter to trap the microscopic dust mites.
  • Pets: Pet allergies are very common, and for the 15 to 30 percent of Americans who suffer from them, relief can be hard to obtain. Pet dander, which are dead skin cells from animals, fur, saliva, and even urine, are allergens that can be transported via clothing and other surfaces, so even if a home has never had an animal inhabitant, the allergens can still become settled into a home. Washing your hands after petting an animal, and using a HEPA vacuum cleaner or air purifier, can be beneficial in helping trap the allergens. Since pet dander can also stick to your walls, wiping down surfaces is also a good step.
  • Mold: Mold can be found both indoors and outdoors, and while everyone breathes in airborne mold spores, in some, this can trigger asthmatic symptoms. If you find that you have mold, it will have to be removed from the source, and in some cases, professionally. But once the mold has been removed, it is recommended that an air purifier or whole house air system that uses a HEPA filter be used to trap any airborne mold spores from regrouping and taking over your home again.

Technologies

While air purifiers can be an asthma sufferer’s best friend, we should not assume that they are all the same.

  • HEPA filters (high-efficiency particulate air) were developed during World War II to prevent the spread of radioactive particles and are the most effective ways to trap airborne particles, such as bacteria, viruses, smoke and pollen. To qualify as a true HEPA filter, the air filter must be able to capture airborne allergens and contaminants down to 0.3 microns in size, 99.97% of the time.
  • Stay away from air purifiers that create ozone, a known respiratory irritant, such as Electrostatic Precipitators and ozone generators.
  • A whole-house air cleaner may be used if your home is heated or air-conditioned through ducts. HVAC systems include replacement filters that range from less than a dollar to about $20 and are designed to reduce the accumulation of dust and dirt in the ducts and coils of the system. Simple filters, while inexpensive, need to be replaced every month or two, and only remove large particles, not the small particles in the house that are inhaled into the lungs while the more efficient replacement filters (usually for 6 to 20 dollars each) will remove many smaller particles and are often pleated or coated with an electrostatic charge. 

Know your environment before purchasing replacement filters as some can become clogged quickly in dusty environments, reducing airflow through the system and causing a reduction in the heating or cooling efficiency.

  • Another option for your home is a permanent whole-house air cleaner, which can be added to an HVAC system, but the cost is several hundred to a few thousand dollars for the unit and the installation. Other disadvantages include frequent maintenance of the plates, the need to keep the fan running continuously (24/7) to clean the air, and the electricity cost and noise associated with the large blower fan running continuously. 

Although an air purifier can trap particles, such as dust, pollen and chemicals, it can only trap them in the general area of the air purifier and the room that they are placed in. It cannot trap particles that have already settled onto objects, such as furniture, beds, carpets, and if the source of the allergens is a pet, as animals release dander and fur continually. Depending on the air purifier and the size of your room, most room cleaners take 15-30 minutes to remove particulates in the air, and for the most effective use, it is recommended to have the air purifier operating in your room 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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.

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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.

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November is National Sleep Comfort Month

The cool, crisp, and rainy days of November make this the perfect time of year to celebrate National Sleep Comfort month, so curl up, get comfortable, and change your sleep habits to make sure that every night you get the rest you need.

Getting a good night’s sleep does much more for your body than simply making you feel rested and awake in the morning. Doctors and scientists have found that the amount of sleep we get has a big impact on many areas of health; from improving our memories to strengthening our immune systems. Despite the benefits of getting a full night’s sleep, polls across the United States continually show that as many as 40% of Americans are regularly sleeping fewer than the doctor recommended 7-9 hours a night. There are many reasons that people miss out on sleep, but improving even one or two sleeping habits can not only make you less reliant on that cup of coffee every morning, but it can help to improve your overall well-being. Here are some of the ways that you can help to improve your sleep habits:

Turn Out the Lights
Though sleeping in the dark seems obvious, many of us don’t realize that simply turning off the lamp is not enough to get it truly dark in the bedroom. Many gadgets and gizmos have LED lights that shine all the time, and lights from neighbors and streetlamps can slip in through curtains. Exposure to light that is similar to sunlight – that is, lights with many blue hues – can suppress levels of melatonin and make it harder to catch your zzzz’s. Using black-out curtains and an eye mask is the best way to make sure that you get true darkness.

Wind Down with a Nightly Ritual
It takes time for your body to relax and shift from active daytime mode into readiness for sleep. If you are active right until the time you drop into bed, then you are more likely to toss and turn as your body gets used to the idea that it is really time for sleep. Instead of going directly from watching a movie or working on the computer into bed, give yourself an hour of quiet time with screens off before you get under the covers.

Enhance Your Bedroom Environment
Making your bedroom into a sanctuary of rest and relaxation is one of the best ways to ensure that you make the most out of your time asleep. Comfortable bedding is important, and choosing the right softness of pillows and the right number of blankets can keep you from tossing and turning. Also choosing a hypo-allergenic mattress cover can help keep pesky, allergy triggering dust mites from overrunning the bed. If you ever wake up in the middle of the night coughing, or find yourself with a recurring scratchy throat in the morning, invest in a room air purifier. An air purifier with a true HEPA filter is one of the best ways to remove pollutants, like mold spores, dust mites, and pollen that can trigger allergic reactions at home.

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Be Aware of Indoor Air Quality

Air pollution affects more than just outdoor air; dirty air can be inside every building you walk into, including your home and workplace. If there is a pollution alert outside, you might decide to stay inside to remain safe. This, unfortunately, doesn’t always help. In fact, your indoor air may be even more polluted than what you’re breathing outside.

What’s In the Air?
Outside, smog, haze, or smog hangs in the atmosphere. If there’s been a fire nearby, there might be smoke dirtying up the environment. Factories near you might be belching out all sorts of irritating pollutants and particulates. Inside your home or office, it’s likely that you’re breathing in harmful substances, too, such as:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Fire-retardants
  • Lead
  • Radon
  • Chemicals
  • Fragrances
  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Asbestos

How do all these indoor pollutants enter your space? They appear in multiple ways. For example, that new pseudo-leather sofa with its odd smell is releasing chemicals as it settles in. So is the laminate flooring you just had installed in your den. If you have dogs or cats, you already know where the pet dander originated. Your cleaning products also impact your environment, as most conventional cleansers get rid of grime through chemical concoctions.

Ventilation and Other Factors
There are multiple factors that magnify the effects of poor indoor air quality, also referred to as IAQ. Some of them you have more control over than others, for example:

  • Poor ventilation
  • Remodeling dust
  • Humidity levels
  • Leaks from roofs or plumbing

A poorly ventilated building is a surefire recipe for IAQ, as the healthiest spaces are those with free-flowing outdoor air. Remodeling jobs that involve drywall or lumber generate an amazing amount of microscopic dust particles that coat every surface and are inhaled as a matter of course. Low and high humidity levels impact air quality and leaks often lead to mildew and mold.

Modern Times Are Worse for IAQ
Indoor air has become more of a problem in modern times. This is because of several factors.

  • Central Air Conditioning and Heating: Today, our homes and offices have climate control systems that require closed windows and doors.
  • Chemical Cleansers: Many of the cleaning products we buy in the store are laden with harmful chemicals. If you want a spotless carpet or shiny faucet, you usually apply a squirt or sprinkle of air contaminants to accomplish your task.
  • Interior Decorating: More furnishings and flooring products are man-made from artificial materials than in yesteryear. For example, instead of having hardwood floors, homeowners install laminate reproductions. Polyester and plastic have taken the place of cotton and wood.
  • Time Indoors: People spend much more time indoors than they did in the past. This is true of workers on the job, school children in classrooms rather than on the playground, and family life in general (kids playing video games instead of freeze-tag, parents watching TV instead of taking walks).

Health Effects
When humans spend long hours inhaling polluted air, their health is adversely impacted. Many maladies and conditions are directly linked to IAQ, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Allergies
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Cancer
  • Eye, nose, lungs, throat irritation

What Can You Do About It?
Happily, there are steps that you can take to improve the quality of your air. To start with, be more aware of what you bring into your home or office building. Here are some actions that can change the IAQ of your interior world:

  • Clean Your Vents: Cleaning the ventilation ductwork of your HVAC systems can make a substantial difference.
  • Open Your Windows and Doors: It’s a wise idea to open up your house or office building to the outside world to invite some fresh air in.
  • Use an Air Purifier: These units draw in dirty air and trap contaminates in a filter.
  • Read Labels: Take some time to read the labels on cleansers and furnishings that you bring into your home or work environment.
  • HEPA Vacuum: You can suck up allergen concentrations in your house by vacuuming with a machine that has a HEPA filter. You can even remove lead and other toxins with this type of vacuum cleaner, especially one with a rotating brush and powerful suction.
  • Mop with Water Only: After vacuuming, mop with plain water. Skip the detergents and just wash your floors with good old H2O.
  • Take Your Shoes Off: A helpful household custom is removing your shoes at the door. This keeps outdoor pollutants out of your household.

Be Mindful
Clean air is one of the things that all living beings need to live healthy lives. You don’t have to shrug your shoulders and accept poor IAQ as a phenomenon of modern existence. By making a few lifestyle changes and being mindful of what you inhale, you can help to improve your health.

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.

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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.

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Dealing with Dust Mites

DustDust Mite mites may be tiny, but they can cause big problems for those with allergies. These microscopic bugs feed on dead skin and hair, and can be found lurking on fibrous materials like bedding and carpets. Since they thrive in environments that are warm and humid, our bedrooms are one of their ideal habitats. While these creepy crawlies are harmless for most people, dust mites and their droppings contain a protein that can cause allergic reactions for some people when they are inhaled. Though the worst symptoms of dust mite allergies usually occur after direct contact with a contaminated area, dust mites and their droppings can be released into the air as well, making it possible to inhale them and suffer a reaction even if you are not in direct contact with furniture.

Tackling dust mites can be difficult, but there are steps you can take to control their numbers. One of the best things to do is to cover beds in special air-tight plastic. This alone can drastically reduce the amount of dust mites in the home and can help those with allergies sleep better at night. Frequent cleaning can also help to deter dust mites; so make sure to wash sheets and blankets often and vacuum carpets and furniture thoroughly. You may even wish to steam clean furniture on a regular basis, as high heat can kill dust mites. Adding an air purifier can help to capture any dust mites or dust mite droppings that escape from carpets or furniture into the air. Air purifiers with HEPA filters, such as our MinusA2, are particularly well suited to this task.  While it may seem hard to reduce dust mites numbers, the effort will feel well worth it when you and your loved ones begin to breathe better.

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