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Household Triggers For Poor Air Quality
Household Triggers For Poor Air Quality

 

While you might think of the outdoors when the topic of air pollution comes up, that's certainly not the only place where it can occur. The air quality inside of your home can suffer when there are certain triggers inside of the household. We are here to talk about the signs of low air quality and the most common things that can trigger this. When you should bring in a professional and how to prevent it from happening in the future? Find these answers below!

 

Common Health Symptoms

 

Given how concentrated the air is inside of a home, it's common to experience unpleasant health symptoms when the air quality is low. Some health symptoms of low air quality in the household include respiratory irritation like coughing and sneezing as well as congestion and shortness of breath. If you have poor air quality in your home, you could experience fatigue, asthma symptoms, allergies, and general hypersensitivity. It's not uncommon to experience dizziness and chronic headaches when exposed to poor air quality. If you notice stale and stuffy air inside the home and lingering unpleasant smells along with some of these health issues, you could very well be dealing with indoor air pollution.

 

Triggers In The Home

 

What is causing the decreased air quality in your home? There are common household items and practices that can trigger bad air quality. For example, if somebody is smoking cigarettes inside the home, you probably don't have the best air quality. This is especially true if your home doesn't have proper circulation. Household building materials and substances like cleaning products can include pollutants like asbestos, formaldehyde, radon, and other chemicals that reduce air quality. If you do not have proper ventilation and circulation in a home or issues with humidity levels, you could be dealing with poor air quality.

 

Call The Professionals 

 

There are some air quality issues that only a professional can solve. When you're dealing with health concerns associated with poor air quality, or your home has recently experienced water damage that reduces air quality, professionals should be brought in. They can accurately diagnose and treat mold, bacterial issues, humidity issues, and excessive allergens in the home. Companies such as Air Quality Assessors can help solve these concerns by thoroughly testing the quality of the air and coming up with a unique plan of action to tackle the problem that is causing the concern so you will not have to deal with the issue in the future.

 

Future Tips

 

There are some tricks to prevent future household air quality problems. Keeping your house clean will cut down on dust and debris that can make its way into the air and reduce air quality. Stay on top of changing the filters in your household systems as well as investing in a quality air purifier. Avoid using strong chemicals in the house, or make sure there is proper circulation when you do. Following this plan of action is sure to make sure you're on top of your household air quality.


How To Know If Your Air Quality Is Safe
How To Know If Your Air Quality Is Safe


June is National Healthy Homes Month. This serves as a reminder of the importance of air quality in your home. Did you know that American spend nearly ninety percent of their time indoors on average? To thrive and stay healthy, it's vital to begin with adequate household air quality. 

 

The Risks of Poor Air Quality

If there are harmful substances in the house, like mold or any other organic or chemical pollutants (VOC's), health conditions can arise. Your symptoms could be as simple as nagging, persistent respiratory irritation. With repeated exposure, it can be as serious as cancer or cardiovascular issues. If there are children or immune compromised individuals in the household, it becomes that much more of a pressing issue. These groups are more likely to become negatively affected by poor air quality.


Know the Signs

There are some signs you can look out for to give you a better idea if you need to get the quality of your air tested. Is anybody in the home experiencing unexplained allergies or a sudden change in health? It could be a reaction to a pollutant in the house. Perhaps you've recently dealt with a flood or household leak and smell a musty odor, but you're not sure where it's coming from. There could be a mold issue lurking in an unseen spot such as behind the walls or underneath floorboards. Simply being curious about the overall safety of your home is reason enough to get your air tested!


Steps to Take

If you're concerned about the quality of your air and want to get it tested, there are options to consider. There are home testing kits available online which offer a convenient starting point. The most common kits test for mold, radon, and other VOCs. If your test results show poor indoor air quality, don't panic! There are different steps you can take immediately. You can ventilate the area, balance the humidity level with a dehumidifier, and change the filters on your furnace and air conditioner.


Why Call a Professional

Regardless of how bad your air quality issue is, it's always the best idea to get in touch with a professional as soon as you can. Air quality test kits can give you a general idea of the issue. However, you won't truly know the severity of the damage until an expert evaluates the problem at hand. Plus, if you don't understand the kit completely, you could get false results. From dust mites to tobacco smoke and pesticides, there are a lot of potential sources of pollutants in a home. This can make it hard to narrow down the source of the issue. 


Professional air quality assessors can accurately diagnose the problem and give you the best plan of action to fix the issue as soon as possible. You will feel great peace of mind when you're completely informed about the quality of the air in your home! Get in touch with a professional, such as Air Quality Assessors,  today for steps you can take to make sure the air is the best it can be for the health of your family.


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.

 


The Impact of Cleanliness on Indoor Air Quality
The Impact of Cleanliness on Indoor Air Quality


Take a deep breath. Breathe In. Breathe out. Now, consider the quality of the air around you.


Because we can’t usually see bad air particles, the assumption is that the air around us is clear. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re sitting indoors in front of your computer screen. In fact, on average, Americans spend 90% of their time indoors. Unfortunately, indoor air quality can be up to ten times more polluted than the air outside. According to the environmental protection agency, indoor air pollution is one of the top five environmental risks to public health and, in professional settings can lead to symptoms such as decreased productivity, increased employee absences, and greater health care costs.


So what can you do? First, it’s important to understand where the quality of your air sits today. 


There are many indicators of poor indoor air quality. Sometimes it can be difficult to decipher whether or not there is an issue without a professional test, but there are signs you can look for, and smell for, if you suspect there may be an indoor air quality issue. If you walk into your home or place of business and smell something musty, pungent, wet, or stale, you are most likely smelling mold. If you smell a chemical-like or a toxic aroma, that is also an indication that there is something that is creating air quality issues. Health-wise, you should be looking for symptoms that occur when you are in your home or place of business that continue even after you leave. For example, headaches, dizziness, light-headedness, and drowsiness are all signs of exposure to poor indoor air quality. Not only should you watch out for the immediate symptoms of poor indoor air quality, but you should also be aware of the long term symptoms that could occur. You don’t have to live in fear because there are professional services available that can help.


Measuring your air quality indoors can be easily and effectively done by an indoor air quality professional. Indoor air quality professionals, also known as Indoor Environmental Consultants, are fully trained, certified, and licensed in their field. They are able to take samples of contents in the air and building materials (damaged and not damaged) to assess whether there are dangerous materials or air pollutants present. This process is very detailed and the results can provide you with peace of mind.


There are also products that are readily available to you, that aide in improving your indoor air quality. Not only are they just a few clicks away from being in your possession, they are very affordable and help maintain the cleanliness of your space as well.

Cleanliness in your indoor spaces is the first step in improving your indoor air quality. Below are a couple of steps you can take to ensure that you are providing the best working environment for yourself and your employees.


Have your Carpet and Upholstery Regularly Cleaned and Maintained

Vacuuming your carpeting consistently prevents the particulates that get caught in carpet fibers from polluting your air every time somebody walks into your building. And deep cleaning your carpet and upholstery with the MilliCare by Cubix, Inc. proprietary carpet maintenance system has been proven to remove up to 99% of pollutants—preventing them from becoming airborne. Your space will not only look cleaner, but will feel fresh, too.


Use Environmentally Safe Cleaning Products and Methods

Environmentally safe cleaning products and methods help prevent dirt, dust, and pollutants in your textiles from becoming airborne without introducing unnecessary or unwanted VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).


Limit moisture in your workspaces

Microbial growth thrives in wet or humid conditions. By managing the amount of water leftover in your office spaces and common areas, you can improve air quality and promote a healthy and comfortable working environment free of mold, pests and insects. The dry care process used by Cubix, Inc. uses very little water to limit the potential for mold and bacteria growth.


To learn more about the quality of the air in your building or what you can do about it, contact Air Quality Assessors and Cubix, Inc. today.


About Cubix, Inc.

A single source for total floor care solutions, Cubix, Inc. was founded in 1997 by Rick and Judi DeVane and has continued to grow and develop in many great ways since then. Now home to over 40 employees who serve some of Florida's largest and most prestigious accounts, Cubix, Inc. strives to understand each client's unique needs and provide the most effective and environmentally-friendly solutions available. Cubix, Inc. offers total consultative packages including flooring maintenance, sales and installation. 


About Air Quality Assessors

Air Quality Assessors is a provider for indoor air quality and building damage testing and consultation services. Fully certified, licensed, and insured, we proudly cover the entire state of Florida while servicing commercial and residential clients. Trusting us with your testing needs since 2010. “Don’t just guess it, test it!”


Gadgets that Improve Indoor Air Quality
Gadgets that Improve Indoor Air Quality

 

Managing the indoor air quality in your home can be a struggle, especially if you've never attempted this before. Who knew you had to maintain the air you're breathing while inside the safe walls of your home? The good news is, there are ways to improve your indoor air quality, and 5 of them are listed below and are just a few clicks away from being in your home! 

 

GERMGUARDIAN


1.       GermGuardian is an Air Purifier that cleanses the air in your home by capturing dust, pollen and even mold spores. It uses a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter that forces air through it’s fine mesh, and traps unwanted particulates. It also comes with a UV-C light that zaps airborne viruses, germs and again, mold spores so they no longer exist. This is a great product to have in your home especially if you live with people with allergies, babies, or the elderly.

 

 

iROBOT ROOMBA


2.       How can a vacuum help improve indoor air quality you ask? Dirt, debris, and settled particulates are constantly being released into the air when people walk around, open doors, and go in and out of their homes. Running the Roomba, especially when you don’t have time to vacuum, will aide in ensuring your home (at least the floor) is kept clean, and dirt is controlled. The Roomba has a very powerful suction, but low air return that reduces the release of particulates into the air while vacuuming.

 

If you don’t have a Roomba and use traditional vacuuming, make sure the filtration system is cleaned regularly and working properly. It is also recommended that you purchase a vacuum with a HEPA filter which will not only vacuum, but filter the air it draws in and releases. To read a more detailed and technical explanation of how vacuuming contributes to indoor air quality read Clean Link’s article.

 

SAFE-T-AIR


 

3.       Safe T Air contains tea tree oil which serves as a natural fungicide which basically means it destroys fungi. This gel seeks and destroys mold and bacteria in the air, and most importantly its NONTOXIC. Bringing chemicals into your home to reduce mold formation can do as it says, but also emits harmful chemicals called VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the air of your home at the same time. Just place this clever little jar in areas of high moisture or where mold concerns occur, and see the difference. Purchase on amazon here and read about the many great reviews this product has.

 

 

AIR KNIGHT


4.        Air Knight is an ionizing air purification system for your home. It is installed alongside your HVAC system that uses a broad spectrum UV light to kill mold spores, break down dangerous chemicals, and control odors in your home. It also reduces germs and purifies the air as well as surfaces through a hydro peroxide method similar to hydrogen peroxide on a cut. Air Knight is sold through third party vendors like Top Tech Parts and Amazon. Contact your local HVAC or Air Conditioning Professional for purchasing and installation.

 

NEST


5.       One way to improve the indoor air quality in your home and prevent mold growth is by controlling relative humidity. The NEST is a thermostat that has many other properties other than just controlling the temperature. One of its best components is the Cool to Dry feature. What this does is works with your AC unit and dehumidification system to ensure the relative humidity in your home is managed properly throughout the entire day, even when you are not home. If you don’t have a dehumidification mode, you can view the relative humidity with your NEST app and adjust the thermostat yourself, from your mobile phone. Keeping the relative humidity at the proper levels will ensure that it’s not too high and creating humid/wet air, or not too low and causing condensation which in turn creates access moisture, then mold. Note: Relative humidity should always remain between 40%-60%

 

If you find you have a mold or indoor air quality problem in your home, it is best to contact a professional indoor air quality testing company to assess the source of the problem. The above products are great for preventative action and if you are looking to improve the air quality in your home. Breathe easy!


The Dangers of Toxic Mold Syndrome
The Dangers of Toxic Mold Syndrome

 

Toxic Mold Syndrome, also known as mold illness, is an illness that effects many people. When people get sick, they typically assume the causes are allergies, a cold, or a bad reaction to medications. When you notice a dramatic decline in your health, you have to wonder, what is the cause? Very commonly, people blame their poor health on  outdoor environments when in reality, they should be considering their indoor environments as the main culprit. Most people spend an average of 90% of their time indoors including time at work, school and at home. This fact alone should initiate further research into your indoor environments.


You may experience symptoms that are similar to colds and common allergies when dealing with Toxic Mold Syndrome including:


·         Coughing

·         Wheezing

·         Sore throat

·         Runny nose

·         Itchy eyes

·         And more…

 

There are more serious health problems related to toxic mold syndrome. In many cases, the above symptoms are just the beginning. Not only does toxic mold syndrome affect your respiratory health, but also your nervous system, circulatory system, skin, vision and mental health. As you can see, mold and any of the symptoms related to mold are all something that should not be taken lightly. It can lead to very serious health issues and even death.


In order to avoid long term health problems related to mold exposure, one would ask what is the real cause of mold growth? The simplest reason mold forms is because of moisture. There are many different forms of moisture that cause mold formation including leaks, condensation, humidity, and flooding. When moisture comes in contact with any and all kinds of organic materials (wood, carpet, clothing, etc.…) mold begins to form. There are many great mold prevention tips listed in our “How to Avoid Indoor Allergens" blog post that are easy and affordable to implement. Doing yearly inspections and taking care of your home overall will help lessen the chance of experiencing health issues related to mold.

 

There have been many case studies conducted to prove the effects of mold exposure symptoms. In this presented case study individuals that were tested ranged from 1.5 years to 52 years of age. The conclusion was conditional, however those who were involved experienced similar symptoms and reactions. Along with case studies, there are many personal stories, testimonials, and articles that present personal experiences people have had with toxic mold syndrome and mold related sicknesses. There is one story that stands out among all the rest about a woman who is now doing well, but at one point did not know what happened to her or where to turn. Kimberlyn is someone who one day, completely lost her motivation and began to become very confused as to why her personality and normal demeanor completely changed. With multiple doctor visits over 6 months, she started to find out what may be the cause of her sudden life altering ailment. If you are worried that you may be dealing with mold, her story is very relatable and could save you many unnecessary steps.


Ideally, we would like to say that mold will never be an issue in our lives, but that is not the case. Mold is everywhere. It really all depends on how quickly you handle a situation and how serious it is. Our best advice: be mindful of your surroundings and educate yourself on the signs and the steps to take to resolve your mold problem.



Recommended Links: Black Mold

                                       AMEN clinics

       US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health

                                       Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 


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


Sick Building Syndrome

Have you ever felt fatigue, coughing and sneezing, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, or increased asthma problems in your work place?  Normally one would not think that all these problems could be caused by a building…well they can. It is known as “Sick Building Syndrome”. Sick Building Syndrome is considered by some in the medical field to be an illness in people who have been exposed to undefined chemical, biological, or physical agents that are thought to be found in buildings. Indoor air quality testing is crucial in buildings and properties to determine if the structure is “sick” or healthy.

In the 1970s a movement was set in motion by builders and authorities to seal up buildings the best they could to save on fuels for air conditioning and heating.  Many buildings became air tight which left no room for clean air to filter in (inadequate ventilation), which in return set the building up for pollution. Examples of pollution that occurred: carbon monoxide build-ups, possibility of indoor combustion (heaters, ranges and smokers), and the release of inhalable particles (Volatile Organic Compounds, airborne allergens, and pathogens). As a way for buildings to have better Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and minimize energy consumption, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) revised the standards of ventilation from 5 cfm(cubic feet per minute) per occupant to a minimum of  15 cfm provided of outdoor air per person (20 cfm/person in office spaces). ("Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) - Indoor Air Pollution Testing." Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) - Indoor Air Pollution Testing. N.p.)

There can be many factors that cause Sick Building Syndrome and one is biological contaminants (bacteria, molds, pollen and viruses). Biological pollutants can cause illness through three different  methods-: 1. Infection, 2. Allergy/Hypersensitivity, and 3.Toxicosis.  A  contaminant’s source could be from water(water is a breeding ground for mold) that has accummulated in places such as humidifers, a/c ducts, drain pans; or where water has been collected on carpeting, ceiling tiles or insulation.  Outside elements have an effect on biological contaminants such as temperature , humidity or lighting. Another factor could be a source that is already in the building like carpeting, upholstery, wood products, cleaning agents and copy machines.  Certain factors emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which research has shown can cause very serious health issues when at high concentrations.  VOCs that may be emitted from items like flooring, varnishes, and gasoline can contain: formaldehyde, acetone, ethylene glycol, benzene and tolune.

How does one know that their building is “sick”? For the most part, it is from complaints of the buildings occupants. Building occupants may have symptoms including: headaches, throat, nose, and eye irritation, dry cough, dry or itchy skin, dizziness, nausea; or more serious symptoms like fatigue, sensitivity to odors, and development of respiratory illness.  The source that is causing the occupants symptoms is unknown; however occupants have said to have felt relief once they exited the building. A good way to know that your building should be inspected is when a group of occupants have or show the same symptoms. Air Quality Assessors will walk through the suspected Sick Building and do a thorough inspection to try and locate the source that has been causing sickness. Testing will be done to see whether the indoor air quality levels reach the standard of safety or not. Once again is it not always known what causes Sick Building Syndrome and sometimes the source cannot be found. What can be done is an IAQ test to ensure that the occupants of the building are safe or to find out whether the building is actually sick.

 


Indoor Air Quality- Allergens

 

Indoor Air Quality- Allergens

 

Allergens are found all over the world both inside and out! More than 50 million people in America are allergic to something. Homes or businesses that have poor indoor air quality make people more susceptible to the development of infections, lung cancer, and asthma. The most common cause for allergic reactions are from airborne allergens. Airborne allergens include: Bacteria, Mold, Dust Mites, Pet Dander, Cockroaches/bugs, Smoke, Formaldehyde, and VOCs (volatile organic compound).

DID YOU KNOW?

Facts according to WebMD about allergens

  • -Number of people in the U.S. who have either allergy or asthma symptoms : 1 in 5

  • -Rank of allergies among other leading chronic diseases in the U.S. : 5th

  • -Degree by which levels of indoor pollution in U.S. homes exceed levels of outdoor pollution: 2 to 100 times, depending on factors such as whether the residents smoke

  • -7.7% of people in the U.S. have asthma

  • -Increase in the prevalence of asthma in U.S. children under age  5 between 1980 and 1994: 160%

  • -Number of deaths each year in the U.S. from asthma: about 4,000

“Allergens.” Indoor Air Quality RSS. N.p., n.d. Web 01 July 2015

 

Common Allergy & Asthma Symptoms

Allergy: Runny nose, itchy eyes, coughing, circles around the eye, and symptoms that seem to linger/not go away. Asthma: wheezing, difficulty breathing, tightness of chest and/or a whistle sound when you breathe.

 

People spend 90% of their time indoors, which makes it very important to have good indoor air quality in your home/business. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average person receives 72% of their chemical exposure in the home. To know the quality of your homes air, have an Air Quality Assessor come perform an air quality assessment. The assessment will include a sampling method that will test for: mold, allergens, dust mites, pollen, cockroaches, cat, dog, bacteria and more. There are many different ways to reduce the amount of indoor allergens in your home. Some are listed below:

  • -Keep surfaces in your home clean and uncluttered to reduce dust mites

  • -Vacuum once or twice a week (vacuuming does put dust in the air so use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or special filter bags if possible)

  • -Keeping doors and windows closed will help prevent the entry of pollen

  • -Dehumidifiers help reduce the moisture in the home (moisture is a breeding ground for mold spores)

  • -Control cockroaches- don’t leave food or garbage uncovered. Use poison baits, boric acid and traps rather than chemical agents (chemical agents can increase allergic/asthmatic reactions)

 


The Worldwide Pest

The Worldwide Pest


“Penicillium”

1.       Penicillium is a genus of ascomycetous fungi of major importance in the natural environment as well as food and drug production. 

2.       Scientific namePenicillium

3.       RankGenus

4.       Higher classificationTrichocomaceae

5.       Lower classificationsPenicillium coralligerumPenicillium marneffei,Penicillium herquei

 

 

The pest I am going to tell you about is one of the most notorious creatures of its kind. This pest can be found all over the world in almost every type of setting. The most common places where this pest can be found are: soil, food, grains, carpets, wall paper, organic substances, fiber glass insulation and more. It loves to show up first to mark its territory on anything that has had water damage. There are over 200 species of this pest and some of them can produce mycotoxins (any toxic substance produced by a fungus), which is what affects humans health!

 

Want to know something unbelievable about this pest? This pest helped create a drug that is still used today to fight off infections that cause bacteria -Penicillin. Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming after one of his staphylococci cultures was cross contaminated by mold spores from an open window nearby. It was a significant discovery in medical history and later in 1945 even won a Nobel Peace Prize.

 

All right back to what makes this pest a pest! The Worldwide Pest has a rapid growth rate and the colonies (appearance) are normally a green-bluish color but has even been spotted as yellow, white and grey green. You do not want this mold in your home! It can cause a numerous amount of health issues ranging from the simple sore throat all the way to pulmonary emphysema. Like many other molds, the pest tends to affect humans that have a weakened immune/respiratory system. The Pest can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks so severe that sometimes people describe the reaction almost as if they were suffocating. This Worldwide Pest can produce many toxins such as: penicillic acid, peptide nephrotoxin, viomellein, xanthomegin,xanthocillin X, mycophenolic acid and more that have the ability to damage kidneys, increase the chance of cancer, as well as, leave you more susceptible to pulmonary infections.

 

The best way to find out if there is Penicillium in your home is to have your home assessed by an indoor air quality specialist; that’s where Air Quality Assessors steps in! Air Quality Assessors has a staff of fully licensed assessors who can walk through your home and take samples of anywhere they think has mold or other air quality issues. The pest can be in many different forms whether in the air as particulates or as visible mold on a material. It is best to have your home assessed to know whether the pest has reached its danger level or not. People who have compromised immune systems should take the precautionary steps and have their home assessed to help delay or stop future health problems.