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The Air Quality Blog by Rabbit Air

5 Things You May Not Know About the Air Quality in Your Home

The majority of our lives are spent indoors, whether sleeping, in school or working. Unfortunately, the lack of ventilation found in many homes and buildings can result in higher quantities of contaminants, creating poor indoor air quality. This, in turn, can result in a number of health ailments. The type of air you breathe in your own house has quite the effect on your life in general. Here are five things you may not know about the air quality in your home.

A Little Mold Can Have Big Effects
Mold finds its ideal home when the tiny spores locate an area containing moisture. It doesn’t have to be a large area of wetness or even an obvious one, so if you have had a flood, a broken pipe or a slow leak, you want to be proactive in drying the area and getting humidity under control. Once mold finds its way in, it quickly becomes invasive, growing and damaging your property at a rather fast pace. However, it can affect more than just the structure of a building. Mold is transferred in small spores that are lightweight and easily airborne, making it easy to breathe in the contaminants without realizing it. For someone with an allergy to mold, this can result in sneezing, rashes, itching and other symptoms of hay-fever. It can also exacerbate asthmatic symptoms. Even if allergies aren’t present, mold can irritate one's eyes, skin, and respiratory system. Extended exposure can result in even more serious conditions and ailments. While the first step is to remove the conditions that helped create the mold in the home, such as fixing leaks and ensuring all areas are dry, the air needs to be purified as well to ensure the airborne spores have been removed.  

Better Air Quality = Higher productivity
If you have a home office, you might want to take measures to increase your air quality if you want to get more out of your workday. A study published by the International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy, an organization from the Technical University of Denmark, shows that the better the indoor air quality is, the higher the output of productivity you can achieve. In fact, there can be upwards of a 9 percent difference based solely on the air around you. While it may cost a little extra to make the initial changes, it is projected that those particular expenses can be recouped by the boost of productivity that will come afterwards.

Radon May Be Present
Radon may sound like something out of a science-fiction film, but unfortunately it’s more than just a fictional plot twist in many homes. When naturally occurring uranium breaks down in the soil, radon is released. Openings in your home that are near this part of the earth can become a portal for the odorless, colorless – and very dangerous -- gas to enter your home. It can be a slow but deadly process. Once it is breathed in, it breaks down further in your lungs, resulting in increasing damage to your respiratory tissue. Over 20,000 lung cancer deaths each year are now being attributed to radon poisoning.

Pets Affect Air Quality
Most people associate pet allergies with an animal’s fur. However, this isn’t actually the case. The allergen is found in the dander (dead skin cells that have been discarded) and secreted fluids from the animal’s saliva or urine. These allergens can easily attach themselves to the hair, which is why the presence of the fur is commonly associated with allergic reactions. However, even when that fur is cleaned from an area, that doesn’t mean the dander is gone. Micro in size, dander is lightweight and can become airborne for some time before finding another surface on which to attach itself, whether fabric, flooring, carpets or clothing. Vacuuming and dusting can remove some,  but these activities also stir up the air, causing some dust and dander to become airborne again. Even if a person with an allergy keeps their distance from a pet, they are still exposed to the dander simply by breathing in the air, which can trigger an allergic reaction. Air purification is necessary to filter out these pollutants that are too small to be visible, thus difficult to remove by manual cleaning methods.

What Gets Inside Stays Inside
Today’s homes are built with amazing precision and with much tighter construction, which is usually viewed as a positive characteristic. After all, that means warm air stays in during winter months, less conditioned air seeps out in the summer, and nature is kept outdoors. Unfortunately, this all means there is less natural ventilation in today’s homes. When doors and windows are opened, outdoor pollutants that make their way in can’t easily make their way back out again. This also goes for indoor contaminants such as chemicals associated with cleaning products, byproducts of heat sources, allergens, smoke and pet dander, which become trapped.

The risks associated with poor air quality are seldom visible to the naked eye, making them difficult to pinpoint and rectify. It is important to remain vigilant in removing pollutants from the air you breathe in your own home with purification and continued testing to ensure it remains the highest of quality.

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Seasonal Allergies – Staying Ahead of the Pollen

Flower Landscape The spring brings beautiful things – warmer weather, bright blue skies, and blooming flowers. Unfortunately, it is also the prime time of year for seasonal allergies, and the sneezing, itching, and congestion that accompanies them.  Seasonal allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as Hay Fever, occurs throughout the year whenever grasses, trees, or weeds are in bloom, but are at their worst during the Spring and Summer. Unlike flowers, which usually produce heavier pollen to be carried by bees, these plants produce lighter pollens that spread by floating through the air. It is a great strategy for the plants but not as nice for us as these pollens can trigger allergic reactions when we breathe them in. As many as 40 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies – that’s a lot of runny noses!

Luckily, there are several different strategies for coping with this kind of allergy. Many people take over the counter anti-histamines to relieve their symptoms, and there are even some prescription medications that can help if the allergy is severe. In addition to these medicines, allergists recommend changing clothes when you come home or even taking a shower in case pollens have snuck in on your clothing or skin. Once at home, you can use an air purifier with a HEPA filter, such as our MinusA2, to clean the air and keep pollen at bay. If you want to enjoy the beauty of the spring while staying smart about pollen, you may want to keep aware of daily pollen counts by using an app for your Smartphone or going to a website with an allergy specific weather forecast. Pollen counts tend to be highest in the morning, so you may find yourself breathing better if you save your springtime outings for the evening.

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