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Monthly Archives: May 2013

  • Could exercise protect lungs from air pollution?

    Going for a jog on a warm spring day might be the ideal workout for nature lovers. Not only do they enjoy breaking a sweat, but also breathing in fresh air. That is, unless they live in high-traffic areas full of pollution. Though emissions, like those from diesel fuel, are harmful for people to breathe in, a new study discovered that working through the smog could help the body adapt for the better. 

    Scientists from the University of Sao Paulo School of Medicine tested the effects of diesel exhaust exposure among two groups of mice for five weeks. Both groups regularly breathed in tainted air, but one group exercised each day while the other remained sedentary. The collected data showed that the mice that did not exercise were plagued with significantly higher levels of lung inflammation and free radicals, while the exercising mice benefited from changes that allowed their immune systems to fight back against the pollution. 

    Even if working out could help the body fight off or curb the side effects of air pollution, it's certainly not a cure-all. According to WebMD, there are too many different types of air pollution to assume exercise could help stave off negative symptoms. Instead, people should limit their time spent in cars and remain indoors during peak traffic times if they live in congested areas. Investing in a professional-grade air purifier like the IQAir GC MultiGas is another smart way to breathe easy at home. 

  • Yoga could curb allergies

    Allergies are a common problem in the U.S. with close to 8 percent of all people over the age of 18 inflicted with hay fever or environmental allergies, while approximately 10 percent of all children and teens under the age of 17 are plagued by allergy side effects, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. While taking medicine during peak allergy season and investing in a medical-grade air purifier like the IQAir HealthPro Plus can curb allergy symptoms, doing a bit more stretching might offer similar results. 

    According to The Huffington Post, practicing yoga could have the potential to ease allergy symptoms thanks to its ability to help reduce inflammation and stress in the body. A small study in 2010 found yoga didn't necessarily lessen side effects, but rather helped the body stay calm so it was better able to fight off allergy symptoms like headaches and watery eyes.

    While performing downward dog or tree pose could decrease allergy woes, another study in 2008 discovered that alternating breathing between nostrils may also play a role in reducing seasonal problems. The news outlet reports pairing the breathing technique with yoga may be the best way to reap multiple benefits. For this trick, start by covering your right nostril and then begin inhaling through the left side for 10 seconds. Next, hold your breath for five seconds and then switch to breathing out of the right nostril for another 10 seconds. Continue the process for five rounds to feel some relief. 

  • Pets are plagued by allergies, too

    Many Americans consider their pets another member of the family. The Humane Society of the United States reports more than 78 million dogs are currently living in their forever homes, while more than 84 million cats also have a loving roof over their heads. While many responsible pet parents provide their animals with flea, tick and heartworm medication, some might not know their animals may need allergy relief as well.

    According to the Enumclaw Courier-Herald, pets, just like people, can experience the symptoms of allergies including a runny nose, itchy skin or even a cough. Dogs and cats can be prone to seasonal allergies, similar to their owners, and can develop certain issues based on triggers like food or contact allergies. 

    Though talking to a vet is the best way to determine what type of allergies pets have, owners who notice their pets experiencing more itching and irritation during the changing seasons might be able to assume the animals are inflicted with environmental allergies. The publication recommends vacuuming more regularly during peak allergy season as well as changing the animals' bedding more frequently to curb symptoms. Installing a medical-grade air purifier in the home like the IQAir HealthPro Plus might help keep dander and pollen out, helping to offer relief for all members of the family. 

  • Could pollution be tied to ADHD?

    Attention deficit hypertension disorder (ADHD) is a growing problem in the U.S., with more than 5 million kids and teens between the ages of  3 and 17 living with the side effects of the condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The behavioral disorder affects boys more frequently than girls, and it can lead to children having difficulty paying attention in class, having too much energy or lashing out due to acting without thinking. 

    Though there is no set cause for the disorder, a new study has found traffic pollution could play a role in children's development of ADHD. Scientists from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati followed approximately 576 children from birth until the age of 7. All lived in the metro area of Cincinnati. The kids were separated into two groups - youngsters who lived near major highways or bus routes and those who lived more than a mile away from traffic and congestion. 

    When the kids turned 7, their parents were asked to fill out a survey regarding their behavior. From the results, it was discovered that children who lived near traffic were far more likely to have hyperactivity symptoms than their peers who lived in more rural, less congested areas. Though more research needs to be conducted, parents worried about their youngster's development might want to install a medical-grade air purifier like the IQAir GC MultiGas to help curb how much traffic pollution kids breathe in. 

  • Is climate change affecting your seasonal allergies?

    For several years, the media has been buzzing about how climate change could affect everything from the size of glaciers to the frequency of natural disasters. However, some scientists say they now have reason to believe climate change could impact individuals' seasonal allergies.

    According to ABC News, the warmer temperatures and rising carbon dioxide levels associated with climate change mean certain plants - particularly those that affect people with seasonal allergies - will thrive. This news is especially important now, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently reported that carbon dioxide levels have officially reached 400 parts per million, compared to only 280 parts per million in the 1800s.

    This increase in carbon dioxide could affect millions of Americans who already suffer from seasonal allergies. Today, an estimated 50 million people in the U.S. have nasal allergies, meaning this condition affects as many as 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports.

    As seasonal allergies could potentially become worse for countless Americans, these individuals may want to invest in a medical-grade air purifier like the IQAir HealthPro Plus, which captures particles such as dust, pollen and other allergens so they can breathe easier in their homes.

  • Is it allergies or a cold? How to tell the difference

    Allergy season is here for many people around the nation and even though the spike in sneezing, coughing, runny noses and other symptoms might make you feel like it's time to purchase allergy medication or install a medical-grade air purifier like the IQAir HealthPro Plus, another condition could be to blame. 

    Even though a reported one in five Americans has allergies or asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, colds cause similar side effects. Knowing the difference between the two ailments might ensure people get the relief they really need. 

    The experts at Men's Health magazine recently broke down both conditions to help people figure out which issue is leaving them feeling groggy. When it comes to allergies, looking for patterns is key. For example, if you get congestion, itchy eyes and a cough at the same time each year, it's more likely that you are inflicted with seasonal allergies than a cold. However, more research has shown that even people in their 50s can suddenly develop allergies, so talking with a doctor when symptoms come on is a great idea. 

    According to the news outlet, common colds share similar symptoms with allergies, though most people tend to be sicker when they have a cold rather than allergies. Cold patients might feel more run down or achy and could have more mucus or running noses than their counterparts with environmental issues like ragweed. 

  • Drastic temperature changes tied to increase in asthma attacks

    Asthma is a common respiratory condition affecting approximately 18.9 million American adults and 7.1 million children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. Though tools such as inhalers or medical-grade air purifiers like the IQAir HealthPro Plus in the home can curb asthma's effects, new information highlights how much of a role the weather plays in incidents. 

    WSOCTV 9 reports that the temperature swing occurring in many parts around the U.S. is leading to major issues for people with asthma. Dr. Thomas Humphries, a local Charlotte, N.C., physician, told the news station that changes in temperature, or going from hot to cold or vice versa in a short period of time, can trigger issues with the lungs. 

    According to Humphries a simple act of leaving a warm home and hitting the pavement on a jog in slightly colder weather can lead to asthma complications, while a stretch of early warm weather can spark spring allergies and pollen, thus kicking asthma issues into high gear. 

    The physician points out that people with asthma may experience early symptoms of an attack during the spring months that include day and nighttime coughing, wheezing or a heaviness in the chest. 

  • Type 2 diabetes risk tied to pollution

    There are many factors that affect the amount and type of air pollution Americans deal with every day. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, cities around the nation face six specific "criteria pollutants" that can lead to issues like asthma and allergies as well as other respiratory problems. The criteria pollutants people in the U.S. deal with include ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and lead. These pollutants can arise from car emissions, pollution from factories and even grilling. 

    A new study conducted by German scientists published in the journal Diabetologica discovered yet another medical concern air pollution could be related to. Researchers tested whether there was a link between pollution and diabetes by collecting blood samples from almost 400 10-year old children. They also reviewed how much air pollution exposure each child had by checking out car emission reports from their neighborhoods as well as how densely populated their hometowns were, among other data.

    From the collected information it was found that kids with more exposure to air pollution also had "significantly higher insulin levels" than their peers who breathed in less air pollution. Though more research needs to be conducted, scientists believe there is a real link between diabetes development and air pollution levels. 

    Parents can ensure their family breathes in only the freshest air at home by installing a professional-grade air purifier like the IQAir GC MultiGas

  • The prevalence of allergies around the nation

    Most people around the nation have felt the effects of allergies, whether they be environmental or food related. CNN Health analysts recently broke down allergies by the numbers to show just how severe this common problem is. 

    According to the news outlet, in total, one in five Americans has either allergies or asthma, although the types of allergies they have can differ. For example, approximately 7 percent of all people with allergies face skin issues, while 6 percent of people with allergies develop side effects due to consuming certain foods. The majority of allergy patients (80 percent) are inflicted with respiratory problems from asthma or environmental triggers like ragweed.

    The most common food allergies include milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts and fish, while skin issues tend to arise from certain fragrances, antibiotics, cosmetics or jewelry materials. Environmental-related allergies typically come from trees, grass and weed pollen, mold spores, dust mites and animal dander, the news outlet found. 

    Not only do these issues cause problems like runny noses, itchy eyes and trouble breathing, they also cost a lot of money to treat. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, treating allergies, including doctors visits and medications, costs Americans a total of nearly $14.5 billion a year. Families can help keep allergy triggers out of the home by investing in professional-grade air purifiers like the IQAir HealthPro Plus

  • Parents' saliva may protect babies from allergies

    Most parents will do anything to keep their children healthy, though advice from a new study might come as a bit of a shock to new moms and dads. Scientists from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden recently published work in the journal Pediatrics stating that parents might be able to help their babies avoid getting eczema and asthma by cleaning off their pacifiers with their mouths. 

    Researchers tested this idea by recruiting 184 Swedish parents and their babies. During trials, half of the group cleaned their infants' pacifiers off with their mouths, while the second group washed them off with water. From the data, scientists found babies in the saliva group were "significantly less likely" to develop either eczema or asthma than their peers whose pacifiers were cleaned with water.

    Bill Hesselmar, lead author of the study, told NPR the benefits may lie in the microbiome, or bacteria that live in the parents' bodies, since their bacteria may be able to change that of their babies.

    "We think that these bacteria ... stimulate the immune system," Hesselmar told the radio station.

    According to the American Lung Association, more than 7 million kids under the age of 18 are already afflicted with asthma. Even though parents might not be able to help them avoid the issue now, they can help them cope better with the condition by investing in a medical-grade air purifier like the IQAir HealthPro Plus for the home.

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