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  • Those heating up this winter may get burned

    As the seasons shift from warm to cold, air quality concerns shift from ozone damage to the indoor air pollution caused by wood-burning stoves and similar heating methods. It seems the fine-particle pollution from burning wood indoors can cause a number of serious health complications, from heart disease to cancer to asthma, reports USA Today.

    Wood smoke contains carbon monoxide and a number of other chemicals that cause health complications in humans. The major ingredients in wood smoke, soot and liquid pollution particles, are among the smallest and most deadly air particles. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that wood-burning stoves, such as open fireplaces or pellet stoves, are responsible for about 5 percent of these particles, which can also be found in auto emissions.

    If you currently operate a wood-burning stove in wintertime to keep warm, it's important to ensure that your home is well-ventilated. This means making sure that fresh air from the outdoors is permitted to circulate in your home. Keeping up with air filter replacements for stoves that require them is also imperative.

    Those who use wood-burning stoves should also consider investing in a medical-grade home air purifier to remove noxious airborne particles from their home. Medical-grade air purifiers can remove over 99 percent of pollution particles and help ensure that the air in your home is safe, and that your family is protected.

  • Aromatherapy products are linked to indoor air pollution

    While everyone knows that it's important to take time to relax now and again, a new finding suggests that doing so may be toxic if you're using aromatherapy products that contain artificial fragrances or essential oils, according to the Environmental Engineering Science journal.

    Apparently, these fragrances release Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into the air, which cause increased levels of air pollution indoors. These VOCs react with compounds in the ozone that cause them to break down and release ultrafine byproducts called Secondary Organic Aerosols (SOAs). These SOAs can directly lead to eye and throat irritation and may cause further damage.

    If you love using aromatherapy as a means to relax at the end of a long day, you don't necessarily have to give it up. By taking a few precautionary measures, you can ensure that the air inside your home is fresh, clean and safe for you and your family.

    First, when burning aromatherapy products such as candles and incense, make sure there is enough ventilation available. This will help the toxic particles disperse.

    In addition, to ensure that the air within your home is safe from VOCs and other airborne toxins, you should invest in a medical-grade home air purifier. High-quality air purifiers can help remove up to 99.5 percent of the indoor air pollutants in your home.

  • Ragweed season expected to be longer in 2011

    This year, seasonal allergy sufferers were caught by surprise when rising temperatures resulted in a significant extension to the ragweed season. So far, 2011 has seen "one of the worst, and longest, allergy seasons yet," reports ABC News.

    Why this allergy season is expected to be more severe than usual
    According to Reuters, the culprit is climate change. This year's higher-than-average temperatures have caused the regular ragweed season to become extended by as much as three weeks, and perhaps more. In addition to the added heat, the added dampness from the extra showers - not to mention Hurricane Irene - on the East Coast has produced a climate that's perfect for ragweed growth.

    Sunny days and damp conditions caused by excessive rainfall create the perfect climate for Ambrosia artemisiifolia, also known as common ragweed. There are 41 known species of ragweed found in the world today and 17 of these occur in North America, however Ambrosia artemisiifolia is the most prevalent and the most likely to cause distress in the fall allergy season. The plant is leafy green and usually blossoms with tiny, golden flowers in late summer and early fall. It can grow up to three feet tall.

    A word about ragweed allergies and symptoms
    Those who suffer from seasonal allergies know that ragweed is no laughing matter. Between 10 and 20 percent of Americans suffer from ragweed allergies, a condition also known as "hay fever," and those who suffer from other pollen allergies are 75 percent more likely to have a reaction to ragweed pollen as well, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

    Symptoms of hay fever range from itchy eyes, nose and throat, sneezing, stuffy or runny nose and trouble sleeping. Those who are also afflicted with asthma may find that exposure to ragweed pollen exacerbates their symptoms.

    If you haven't been officially diagnosed with a ragweed allergy, but you feel yourself responding to the added amount of pollen in the air this season, you should make an appointment with your doctor to be tested for allergies. Allergies can develop at any time in a person's life, so just because you haven't experienced symptoms previously doesn't mean you're not allergic.

    What you can do to find relief
    When braving the great outdoors, those with allergies should be sure to take their daily allergy medication. If antihistamines aren't effective in combating symptoms, another option is immunotherapy. Talk to your doctor to ascertain the best solution for you. Avoiding exposure is the best way to reduce symptoms.

    Inside your home, you should make efforts to ensure that every room is as hypoallergenic as possible. This includes frequent cleaning and maintenance, such as sweeping and vacuuming floors and upholstered furniture, and other fabrics like curtains and table cloths. You may also want to consider purchasing hypoallergenic mattress covers and furniture cases, especially if you find that your allergies are usually more severe when you get up in the morning. Fabrics can trap these pollens, increasing your chances of being exposed to their effects. For those who suffer from advanced allergies, it's a good idea to use hypoallergenic furniture covers for sofas and upholstered chairs.

    Of course, within the home, most experts would agree that the number one thing you can do to protect yourself from airborne allergens and other irritants is to invest in a professional-quality home air purifier such as the IQAir HealthPro Plus. This HealthPro Plus is a medical-grade home air purifier equipped with a top-of-the-line HyperHEPA filter that has been clinically proven to remove 99.5 percent of common household irritants such as airborne bacteria and viruses, pet dander, mold spores and, of course, pollens such as ragweed. If you're serious about protecting your family from this year's extended ragweed season, consider investing in the IQAir HealthPro Plus or another medical-grade air purifier today.

  • Pet allergies don't necessarily mean you have to get rid of your cat

    Pet lovers everywhere know that their furry loved ones are more than just pets - they're family. That's why so many people grieve when they find out that they've developed a pet allergy. However, some pet owners may rejoice to know that a new pet allergy doesn't automatically mean they have to kiss their labradoodles goodbye. Unless your allergies are severe, there are a few ways you can optimize your home for a peaceful pet-owner relationship.

    In many cases, making the extra effort to keep your home clean can dramatically reduce symptoms. Trade your carpeting for tiles and hardwood floors to prevent pet dander from becoming matted into the material. Make sure you sweep and vacuum on a regular basis in order to prevent allergen buildup. You should also vacuum your upholstered furniture, especially if it's a place your pet frequents. Of course, if your allergies are really bothering you, you might want to consider implementing a strict no-pets-on-the-furniture policy.

    Perhaps the most effective thing you can do to protect your home from this common allergen is to invest in a home air purifier. Medical-grade air purifiers can help remove irritants such as pet dander from your home so that you and your beloved pet can live in harmony.

  • Making your bedroom an allergy-free zone

    Spring and fall can be a terrible time for allergy-sufferers everywhere, but there's nothing worse than being forced to feel the effects of the seasons inside your own home. For many people, the bedroom is the most offending area in the house, as all of the fabrics and upholstery make it a prime place for allergens to settle in.

    If you're tired of waking up each morning with itchy, watery eyes and a stuffy nose, it may be time to invest in the right materials to make your bedroom an allergy-free arena.

    Dust and other allergens become trapped within the pillows and mattress that you rest on each night. Keep these areas clean by using hypoallergenic pillowcases and mattress covers, which will prevent these allergens from settling in to stay.

    Hardwood floors are the best flooring for allergy sufferers, however if you have a carpet you'd rather not part with, consider getting a HEPA vacuum cleaner. This will help remove dust and other allergens that can become matted deep within the rug, causing a flareup of your symptoms.

    Finally, the best thing you can do to protect your home from airborne allergens and other irritants is to invest in a home air purifier. Medical-grade purifiers can help remove over 99 percent of indoor air pollution, which will help relieve your allergy symptoms and allow you to get a full night's rest.

  • Ensuring your home air quality is safe for the season

    As the weather begins cooling down for fall, many people will find themselves spending increased amounts of time indoors. However, with the windows sealed at this time of year, indoor air quality may be a concern for some.

    With the reduction of fresh air circulating indoors, airborne irritants, moisture and pollutants can become trapped inside your home. For those who are prone to allergies and asthma, this can be disastrous. However, even those who don't normally suffer from these conditions may find that their health is at risk.

    Earlier this season, mold spores reached the highest levels seen in decades, and pollens from plants like ragweed have been an even bigger bane to seasonal allergy sufferers across the country. More people who have not previously experienced seasonal allergies have been experiencing symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, coughing and sore throat this year, reports USA Today.

    In order to preserve your health and keep your home protected, there are a few steps you should take before winter sets in. Replacing the filters in your furnace can protect you from air pollutants. Updating to modern windows and insulation can reduce the amount of moisture that's allowed to set in. Perhaps the best thing you can do to protect your home from indoor air hazards is to invest in a home air purifier. Professional-grade purifiers can reduce the amount of airborne irritants in your home by more than 99 percent.

  • Mold forces closings all around the U.S.

    Mold is becoming a big problem this season. Just this week, school children from Waterford Township, New Jersey, were forced to endure a week-long shutdown of all three elementary schools in the region after mold was discovered in at least two of the schools, reports MSNBC.

    But the problem doesn't stop there. According to Southern Maryland Newspapers Online, approximately 350 college students at St. Mary’s College of Maryland were displaced from their dormitories due to mold infestation. And in Wyoming, the state Department of Health stated that an entire building at the Wyoming State Hospital at Evanston was closed because of mold, reports the Star Tribune.

    "We have found our experience with mold in the residence halls this semester extremely frustrating, as have other colleges and universities in rain-soaked areas this season," St. Mary's College President Joseph Urgo told the news source. "Hurricane Irene and subsequent, prolonged damp and rainy weather exacerbate mold conditions in these residence halls."

    All institutions, whether publicly or privately operated, should do all in their power to ensure that children, patients and other individuals are safe from the hazards of mold this season. Using HEPA air purifiers, such as the IQAir HealthPro Plus, is one of the best ways to ensure that the air within your buildings is safe for those who occupy them.

  • Hospital-recommended asthma plans aren't producing healthier children

    A recent study conducted by The Joint Commission has indicated that children who are hospitalized due to asthma attacks are likely to need to return to the hospital due to asthma-related complications, despite receiving an asthma-related home management plan from healthcare professionals upon their discharge, reports Reuters.

    In all, 8 percent of children were re-hospitalized within three months of their previous hospital visit, and about 11 percent needed to visit the emergency room.

    According to researchers, one major factor is that families may not follow the home management plans handed out by hospital workers. In many cases, a child's family may not be able to afford or obtain the recommended medications.

    "Intuitively having a home management plan of care...makes perfect sense and that should improve their outcomes," lead study author Dr. Rustin Morse, from Phoenix Children's Hospital in Arizona, told the news source.

    In addition to obtaining the proper prescription medication, the number one thing parents can do to reduce the severity of flaring asthma symptoms is to create a safe haven within the home. Using hypoallergenic materials such as carpets, pillows and bed covers can help, as can cleaning floors and surfaces on a regular basis to make sure they're free of dust and other irritants.

    The number-one way to improve the quality of air within the home is by investing in a home air purifier like the IQAir HealthPro Plus. This medical-grade air purifier has been designed to remove over 99 percent of airborne irritants and pollutants and will ensure that the air your child breathes at home is clean and healthy.

  • Children's asthma has been linked to obesity

    Children who are overweight have been shown to double their chances of developing asthma, reports Medical News Today. Additionally, chronic asthma is one of the leading reasons behind school absences for children, according to the news source.

    "A recent explanation that is being investigated is the over-production of cytokines (substances with inflammatory effect) due to a variety of stimuli that may lead to the development of asthma," Dr. Angel Mazon, PAAM 2011 Co-Chair and EAACI Pediatric Section Board Member, explained to the news source. "Thanks to these findings, physicians calculate that the frequency of asthma in obese children can be up-to-double that of non-obese kids."

    Antonella Muraro, PAAM 2011 Co-Chair and EAACI Treasurer, told Medical News Today that proper nutrition may be one of the most important factors in reducing the likeliness of childhood asthma. In particular, Muraro said that the Mediterranean Diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish and fresh foods, has been shown to protect against the condition.

    If your child already suffers from asthma, a well-balanced diet is integral to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Keeping your home free from allergy triggers should also be a top priority. By investing in a medical-grade home air purifier like the IQAir HealthPro Plus, you can ensure that your home is a safe haven against most common asthma triggers and other airborne pollutants.

  • Halloween brings unexpected complications for asthma and allergy sufferers

    When most people conjure up images of Halloween, they think of fun costumes, spooky decor and, of course, the candy. However, asthma and allergy sufferers may have other things on their mind on this festive holiday, including the sometimes unexpected triggers that are found lurking in their Halloween costumes, reports HealthDay News. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), dusty costumes, moldy pumpkins and fog machines can cause big problems for unsuspecting trick-or-treaters.

    "When people think of Halloween-associated allergies, they focus on candy and often overlook many other potential triggers," Dr. Myron Zitt, former ACAAI president, told the news source. "By planning ahead, you can ensure not only safe treats, but also safe costumes, makeup, accessories and decorations."

    In order to assure that you and your family are ready for Halloween, unpack all of your holiday decorations and costume materials early and ensure that they get a thorough cleaning before use. When storing items, try to seal cloth items like costumes in vacuum-sealed plastic so that the dust won't have a chance to settle in. Stow your items in a well-ventilated storage space to reduce your chances of unpleasant complications by next year. Using a home air purifier will also reduce the chances of allergens and asthma triggers becoming ensconced in your holiday decorations.

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