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Air Quality Assessors Blog


Could Where You Live Be Making You Sick?
Could Where You Live Be Making You Sick?
When you're sick for any amount of time, you naturally want to narrow down the cause of your illness. Yet, not everyone knows that where you're living could be making you sick and contribute to long-term illnesses. For many, it's hard to fathom that the place they call home could cause harm to their health. There are many environmental factors that affect our well being, and some locations are better than others when it comes to air quality. If you're somebody who experiences chemical sensitivity or chronic illness, it's very important to know what is going on around you. Otherwise, you could continue to get ill from breathing in the air that's around you, even if you're doing everything else right!


Your Location

Each state in the US has its own level of air quality, and it varies wildly from one place to the next. States like California and New York have some of the highest levels of air pollution, due to large populations. Some localities have strict regulations on pollution, and others do not. Did you know that more than 4 out of 10 Americans live in a place that has air which is considered unhealthy? 

That's almost half of the entire country, which is alarming! Air pollution is especially common in cities where a lot of traffic and corporate entities emit pollutants into the air. That pollution has to go somewhere, and most times it's right into the air that you breathe. 


Climate change is another factor that contributes to pollution. The American Lung Institute has said that warmer temperatures can worsen the air quality and makes ozone damage harder to clean up. You can find air quality reports of your exact zip code by doing some research online.


Consequences of City Life

Living in a city, it can be hard to avoid pollution, even while you're in your own home. If you live in a building that is close in proximity to a business such as a nail salon, huge corporation with billowing smokestacks, or any entity that uses a lot of chemicals, your health could very well suffer. These chemicals can make their way into the air in your home and wreak havoc on your health! This is especially true if they're in the same building as you. Mixed-use buildings are extremely common in large city areas. If you are moving into one of these units, be sure to verify what type of businesses also occupy the structure.


Environmental Impacts

If you live in a place that is subject to forest fires such as California or Colorado, you have the potential to incur even more damage to your lungs. This is because wildfires produce microscopic particles that are unhealthy for your respiratory system, and can cause both short term and long term damage by lodging deep into your lungs. This can cause asthma symptoms, lung cancer, and even heart attacks and strokes.

Pollen Allergens | Indoor Air Quality
Pollen Allergens | Indoor Air Quality

 

 

Every year, millions of allergy sufferers are affected by pollen.  Pollen is a powdery yellow substance found on plants to help them reproduce.  In some cases, plants can fertilize themselves, but other plants rely on cross-pollination. As insects, birds, and the wind carry pollen between plants, some of the tiny particles inevitably drop. The pollen particles are then available to enter our nose, eyes, and throat, triggering varying allergies.  Pollen can travel hundreds of miles, so attempting to rid your yard of the offending plants will not help.  Ragweed, a common plant affecting many allergy sufferers, can produce over one million grains of pollen per day.  Fighting the allergenic pollen can seem like an insurmountable task.  Pollen is here to stay, but there are tips and tricks to help you cope. 

 

            Pollen allergies can last throughout the entire year, as several plants pollinate year-round.  The pollen count is dependent upon your location, and the duration of the season.  Pollen from trees is released during the spring, grass pollen is released during the summer, and weed pollen circulates during the fall.  Tens of millions of Americans are affected by pollen allergies every year and suffer from sneezing, nasal congestion, running nose, coughing, headaches, itchy and watery eyes, and wheezing, a lot of which can occur in your home. Indoor allergen levels can determine how impacted allergy sufferers will be indoors whether it be due to raised levels of pollen, mold, or chemicals. Pollen allergies can also exacerbate symptoms with asthma suffers indoors and outdoors.

 

            Loose pollen in the air can attach on skin, clothing, shoes, hair, and pets.  Once pollen enters your home it can cling to carpet fibers and furniture, and recirculate as you move around your home.  Attempting to keep pollen out of your home is challenging, but not impossible.  There are a few preemptive measures you can take to help make your home a no-pollen zone.  First, you want to keep your car in the garage.  If you do not have a garage, consider hosing down your car frequently.  Pollen can stick to your car, door handles, and windows, and spread easily anytime you touch the car or lower a window.  Next, check your shoes at the door.  Always wipe your feet, and then leave shoes and outerwear at the entry way or mud room.  Purify yourself – especially if you’ve been working outside.  Immediately throw clothing in the washing machine to prevent tracking the pollen throughout your house.  You also want to shower immediately, and always wash your hair before going to bed to prevent pollen-contaminated pillows and bedding.  Next, you want to make sure your indoor-outdoor pets are wiped down and brushed before returning indoors.  Another way to limit the pollen count from entering your home is to dust and vacuum frequently.  If you have a bagless vacuum, always empty contents in a bag outside.  Another tactic is to keep the windows and doors shut.  While it can be tempting to let in fresh air, pollen also enters the home and contaminates all that fresh air you crave.  Always remember to change HEPA and HVAC filters monthly, to ensure well-maintained units and clean sinuses.  Lastly, limit your time on the porch during high pollen count times.  When the pollen is low, or pollen season is over, clean your porch furniture and hose down the floor and screens. 

 

 To review, here are our best tips for keeping pollen out of your home:

▪   Keep your car in the garage

▪   Check your shoes at the door

▪   Shower and wash clothes after outdoor activities

▪   Bathe your indoor-outdoor pets

▪   Vacuum and dust frequently

▪   Clean outdoor furniture after pollen season

 

            If pollen has already entered your home, you are not out of luck.  You can still remove the pollen from your space with a few easy housekeeping measures.  Make sure to frequently wipe down surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth to trap the particles.  Thoroughly clean all surfaces and ceiling fans, and follow with vacuuming and mopping.  Be sure to use the suction attachment to clean upholstery, and navigate the corners and crevices in your home.  You will also want to wash all bedding in warm water.  Bathe and brush pets, and clean their paws as well.  Change all air filters once per month, and use vent filters for room vents to help trap pollen in the air ducts.

 

            There are many affordable products on the market today that can help improve the air quality in your home and trap the offending pollen particles.  HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are designed to prevent 99% of pollen from entering the home.  HEPA filters help to clean the indoor air and prevent allergens from circulating.  HEPA filters are used in many air filters, air purifiers, and vacuum cleaners.  When used in conjunction with a well-maintained HVAC system, HEPA filters can drastically improve the air quality of your home. Air Quality Assessors can determine allergen levels in your home and offer advice to help you get through this allergy season.  We are licensed and certified professionals, with 30 years of experience in maintaining high indoor environmental quality.  Call today to schedule an assessment of your indoor air quality, and let us help keep you and your family protected this allergy season.

 

 



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Every year, millions of allergy sufferers are affected by pollen.  Pollen is a powdery yellow substance found on plants to help them reproduce.  In some cases, plants can fertilize themselves, but other plants rely on cross-pollination. As insects, birds, and the wind carry pollen between plants, some of the tiny particles inevitably drop. The pollen particles are then available to enter our nose, eyes, and throat, triggering varying allergies.  Pollen can travel hundreds of miles, so attempting to rid your yard of the offending plants will not help.  Ragweed, a common plant affecting many allergy sufferers, can produce over one million grains of pollen per day.  Fighting the allergenic pollen can seem like an insurmountable task.  Pollen is here to stay, but there are tips and tricks to help you cope. 

 

            Pollen allergies can last throughout the entire year, as several plants pollinate year-round.  The pollen count is dependent upon your location, and the duration of the season.  Pollen from trees is released during the spring, grass pollen is released during the summer, and weed pollen circulates during the fall.  Tens of millions of Americans are affected by pollen allergies every year and suffer from sneezing, nasal congestion, running nose, coughing, headaches, itchy and watery eyes, and wheezing, a lot of which can occur in your home. Indoor allergen levels can determine how impacted allergy sufferers will be indoors whether it be due to raised levels of pollen, mold, or chemicals. Pollen allergies can also exacerbate symptoms with asthma suffers indoors and outdoors.

 

            Loose pollen in the air can attach on skin, clothing, shoes, hair, and pets.  Once pollen enters your home it can cling to carpet fibers and furniture, and recirculate as you move around your home.  Attempting to keep pollen out of your home is challenging, but not impossible.  There are a few preemptive measures you can take to help make your home a no-pollen zone.  First, you want to keep your car in the garage.  If you do not have a garage, consider hosing down your car frequently.  Pollen can stick to your car, door handles, and windows, and spread easily anytime you touch the car or lower a window.  Next, check your shoes at the door.  Always wipe your feet, and then leave shoes and outerwear at the entry way or mud room.  Purify yourself – especially if you’ve been working outside.  Immediately throw clothing in the washing machine to prevent tracking the pollen throughout your house.  You also want to shower immediately, and always wash your hair before going to bed to prevent pollen-contaminated pillows and bedding.  Next, you want to make sure your indoor-outdoor pets are wiped down and brushed before returning indoors.  Another way to limit the pollen count from entering your home is to dust and vacuum frequently.  If you have a bagless vacuum, always empty contents in a bag outside.  Another tactic is to keep the windows and doors shut.  While it can be tempting to let in fresh air, pollen also enters the home and contaminates all that fresh air you crave.  Always remember to change HEPA and HVAC filters monthly, to ensure well-maintained units and clean sinuses.  Lastly, limit your time on the porch during high pollen count times.  When the pollen is low, or pollen season is over, clean your porch furniture and hose down the floor and screens. 

 

 To review, here are our best tips for keeping pollen out of your home:

▪   Keep your car in the garage

▪   Check your shoes at the door

▪   Shower and wash clothes after outdoor activities

▪   Bathe your indoor-outdoor pets

▪   Vacuum and dust frequently

▪   Clean outdoor furniture after pollen season

 

            If pollen has already entered your home, you are not out of luck.  You can still remove the pollen from your space with a few easy housekeeping measures.  Make sure to frequently wipe down surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth to trap the particles.  Thoroughly clean all surfaces and ceiling fans, and follow with vacuuming and mopping.  Be sure to use the suction attachment to clean upholstery, and navigate the corners and crevices in your home.  You will also want to wash all bedding in warm water.  Bathe and brush pets, and clean their paws as well.  Change all air filters once per month, and use vent filters for room vents to help trap pollen in the air ducts.

 

            There are many affordable products on the market today that can help improve the air quality in your home and trap the offending pollen particles.  HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are designed to prevent 99% of pollen from entering the home.  HEPA filters help to clean the indoor air and prevent allergens from circulating.  HEPA filters are used in many air filters, air purifiers, and vacuum cleaners.  When used in conjunction with a well-maintained HVAC system, HEPA filters can drastically improve the air quality of your home. Air Quality Assessors can determine allergen levels in your home and offer advice to help you get through this allergy season.  We are licensed and certified professionals, with 30 years of experience in maintaining high indoor environmental quality.  Call today to schedule an assessment of your indoor air quality, and let us help keep you and your family protected this allergy season.

 

 

Every year, millions of allergy sufferers are affected by pollen.  Pollen is a powdery yellow substance found on plants to help them reproduce.  In some cases, plants can fertilize themselves, but other plants rely on cross-pollination. As insects, birds, and the wind carry pollen between plants, some of the tiny particles inevitably drop. The pollen particles are then available to enter our nose, eyes, and throat, triggering varying allergies.  Pollen can travel hundreds of miles, so attempting to rid your yard of the offending plants will not help.  Ragweed, a common plant affecting many allergy sufferers, can produce over one million grains of pollen per day.  Fighting the allergenic pollen can seem like an insurmountable task.  Pollen is here to stay, but there are tips and tricks to help you cope. 

 

            Pollen allergies can last throughout the entire year, as several plants pollinate year-round.  The pollen count is dependent upon your location, and the duration of the season.  Pollen from trees is released during the spring, grass pollen is released during the summer, and weed pollen circulates during the fall.  Tens of millions of Americans are affected by pollen allergies every year and suffer from sneezing, nasal congestion, running nose, coughing, headaches, itchy and watery eyes, and wheezing, a lot of which can occur in your home. Indoor allergen levels can determine how impacted allergy sufferers will be indoors whether it be due to raised levels of pollen, mold, or chemicals. Pollen allergies can also exacerbate symptoms with asthma suffers indoors and outdoors.

 

            Loose pollen in the air can attach on skin, clothing, shoes, hair, and pets.  Once pollen enters your home it can cling to carpet fibers and furniture, and recirculate as you move around your home.  Attempting to keep pollen out of your home is challenging, but not impossible.  There are a few preemptive measures you can take to help make your home a no-pollen zone.  First, you want to keep your car in the garage.  If you do not have a garage, consider hosing down your car frequently.  Pollen can stick to your car, door handles, and windows, and spread easily anytime you touch the car or lower a window.  Next, check your shoes at the door.  Always wipe your feet, and then leave shoes and outerwear at the entry way or mud room.  Purify yourself – especially if you’ve been working outside.  Immediately throw clothing in the washing machine to prevent tracking the pollen throughout your house.  You also want to shower immediately, and always wash your hair before going to bed to prevent pollen-contaminated pillows and bedding.  Next, you want to make sure your indoor-outdoor pets are wiped down and brushed before returning indoors.  Another way to limit the pollen count from entering your home is to dust and vacuum frequently.  If you have a bagless vacuum, always empty contents in a bag outside.  Another tactic is to keep the windows and doors shut.  While it can be tempting to let in fresh air, pollen also enters the home and contaminates all that fresh air you crave.  Always remember to change HEPA and HVAC filters monthly, to ensure well-maintained units and clean sinuses.  Lastly, limit your time on the porch during high pollen count times.  When the pollen is low, or pollen season is over, clean your porch furniture and hose down the floor and screens. 

 

 To review, here are our best tips for keeping pollen out of your home:

  • Keep your car in the garage
  • Check your shoes at the door
  • Shower and wash clothes after outdoor activities
  • Bathe your indoor-outdoor pets
  • Vacuum and dust frequently
  • Clean outdoor furniture after pollen season

 

            If pollen has already entered your home, you are not out of luck.  You can still remove the pollen from your space with a few easy housekeeping measures.  Make sure to frequently wipe down surfaces with a damp microfiber cloth to trap the particles.  Thoroughly clean all surfaces and ceiling fans, and follow with vacuuming and mopping.  Be sure to use the suction attachment to clean upholstery, and navigate the corners and crevices in your home.  You will also want to wash all bedding in warm water.  Bathe and brush pets, and clean their paws as well.  Change all air filters once per month, and use vent filters for room vents to help trap pollen in the air ducts.

 

            There are many affordable products on the market today that can help improve the air quality in your home and trap the offending pollen particles.  HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are designed to prevent 99% of pollen from entering the home.  HEPA filters help to clean the indoor air and prevent allergens from circulating.  HEPA filters are used in many air filters, air purifiers, and vacuum cleaners.  When used in conjunction with a well-maintained HVAC system, HEPA filters can drastically improve the air quality of your home. Air Quality Assessors can determine allergen levels in your home and offer advice to help you get through this allergy season.  We are licensed and certified professionals, with 30 years of experience in maintaining high indoor environmental quality.  Call today to schedule an assessment of your indoor air quality, and let us help keep you and your family protected this allergy season.

 


Ways to Prevent Indoor Allergens
Ways to Prevent Indoor Allergens

 

When people think of allergens, they often think of allergic reactions to substances such as pollen, animals and dust. Allergens sometimes get confused with allergies, but the difference between the two, lie within the definitions. Allergens are substances that cause an allergic reaction. Allergies are the damaging immune system response by the body to a substance. Allergens come in many different forms including those previously listed and more. Since people spend more than 90% of their time indoors, indoor allergens are the main cause of allergies year round. Outdoor allergies happen as the seasons change and as the outdoor allergen levels fluctuate.


Indoor allergy triggers not only include common household allergens such as dust, pollen and animal dander, but also include a small list of unexpected substances. Cockroaches, fabrics, new furniture, and glue are among the many unexpected household allergens. Paint can also trigger allergy-like reactions in people, especially if they are living in a home that was newly painted or with paint that has high volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and dangerous chemicals.


A few factors that play a role in allergen formation:

 

Humidity: Humidity plays a significant role in whether or not fungi will grow in your home. Fungi, or mold, is a major cause of indoor allergy symptoms and the more you regulate your home’s humidity levels, the least likely mold is to form. Mold can be very dangerous to your health especially for those who are clinically allergic. Recommended humidity levels should fall between 30% - 50%. Condensation and fogging are both signs of high humidity levels and cracking paint; doors or trim are signs of low humidity levels.


Ventilation: It is extremely important to allow your home to have proper ventilation during every season. Opening doors and windows creates proper air flow throughout your home which prevents moisture buildup and stagnant air. Cleaning under rugs and moving furniture that is pressed against walls is also a way to ensure moisture will not accumulate.


Leaks: Check your home for leaks. A common area where leaks can be found is your roof and windows. If you find a leak, put a stop to it as soon as possible because the smallest leak can cause deterioration and significant damage to your home.

 

There are many ways to reduce indoor allergens with only just a few simple and easy everyday adjustments.

 

HEPA: Use products with HEPA filters. High-efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA) are very beneficial to those who are concerned with allergens. There are many different products that contain HEPA filters, but they all aide in the same ways. HEPA filters cleans the air of all the microbial airborne particulates and when vacuuming, ensure that dust and dander do not return into the atmosphere. HEPA filters are also available for central air conditioners which create better indoor air quality overall.


Exhaust Fans: Use exhaust fans in every room where one is provided. This will help with air flow and to remove access moisture from the air.


Carpeting: Carpeting should only be used in rooms where there is not a lot of moisture present. For example, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and kitchens should not have carpet due to the presence of water flow from sinks and pipes. A minor leak onto carpet may seem like a small issue, but once moisture comes in contact with materials, mold can form. Remember, it is more difficult to reverse damage than it is to prevent it.


Storage: Always be mindful of how you are storing your seasonal materials. Blankets and clothes should be stored in air tight plastic containers or bags and placed in areas that are not susceptible to high moisture levels. A common issue is when people store their winter materials in their basements during the summer when humidity levels are very high without protective containment. When it comes time to unpack everything, mold has had significant time to form and people are left with musty and moldy belongings. 


Outdoor allergens are more difficult to control, but you can help prevent access formations outside your home. To help reduce the effects of outdoor allergens, you must take care of your lawn frequently. Regularly raking and mowing can help reduce the buildup of allergens outside your home. Raking prevents mold growth within leaves and mowing helps reduce the production of pollen. The safest way to prevent buildup is to keep your grass short. Always wear protective gear including gloves, sunglasses, a hat, and long clothes. This will prevent pollen from sticking to you and tracking it into your home. Do yard work either in the morning or evening when pollen counts are the lowest. If you have a severe allergy to outdoor allergens, asking someone to help you with yard work or hiring a company to take over the responsibility will help your allergies greatly. 


Recommended Links:  AQA Website

EveryDayHealth.com

ApartmentTherapy.com

Asthma and Allergy Foundation