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How Cleaner Indoor Air Can Ease These 4 Common Winter Health Issues

itchy skin

Are you a “summer person” or a “winter person”? Most people have a favorite season, and often one reason for this is that they feel healthier during that time of year!

If you are a summer person, chances are that the shorter daylight hours, less purifying UV sunlight, drier climate, cold temperatures, and influx of cold and flu germs are part of why you prefer your weather warm rather than cold.

But in truth, even if you prefer winter weather, you probably often wish you could stay healthier during your favorite time of year so you could enjoy it more!

Happily, there is one surefire way to boost your immune system and fight back against wintertime health hazards, as this article explains!

Do You Suffer From These Winter Health Issues?

These major cold-weather health issues can make winter more of a misery than a joy!

Cold and flu

Every year, millions of people contract one of many strains of the flu virus. Some people get the flu shot to help prevent it, but this only works if the shot matches the type of flu germs encountered, which health experts can’t always predict in advance.

As well, Canadian health officials are predicting this year’s flu season to be particularly virulent, which is never a good thing to hear!

The biggest challenge in controlling flu outbreaks each winter is combatting how these germs travel—that is, through the air.

Asthma attacks

If your asthma symptoms worsen when the temperatures drop, chances are good there are three main factors at work: drier air, changes in air temperature, and an increase in airborne dust and allergens.

These three factors also frequently intersect, such as when you turn on your furnace for the first time, which dries out the air and lowers indoor air humidity levels while at the same time releasing a cloud of stored-up dust and allergens.

Skin irritation

Skin irritation, including dryness, itching, rashes, and flare-ups of chronic conditions such as eczema and psoriasis are also more common in cold weather conditions.

Some people even develop winter hives, a condition doctors call urticaria.

Regardless of what your particular cold-weather skin issue may be, there is a good chance the dry air, hot showers (warm is good, hot is not good), chemical additives in certain skin products and certain fabrics, and an overactive immune system are at least partly to blame.

Arthritis

At its core, arthritis is simply inflammation in the joint area. It can happen at any time of year, but many sufferers feel their symptoms more keenly during the winter.

Part of the reason for this is that the worse you feel, the less you are inclined to move and exercise, which can alleviate the pain and swelling of arthritis. Also, the damp chill caused by winter storms can make aches and pains feel more painful.

But the biggest culprit may be a weakened immune system that is already stressed and overworked fighting off cold and flu germs.

The Healing Power of Cleaner Indoor Air

Cleaner indoor air cannot take away your asthma, arthritis, skin condition (if chronic), or flu. But it sure can help lessen symptoms and reduce the risk that you will contract illness.

Perhaps the number one biggest benefit of cleaning up your indoor air will be to give your immune system a leg up against the competition each winter.

The stronger your immune system, the less likely that germs or allergens will cause it to overreact, which is what causes allergies and cold and flu symptoms.

Cleaner indoor air can also lessen your contact with airborne germs and allergens and, if paired with humidity adjustment, can help reduce the incidence of physical inflammation and systemic tissue dryness.

How to Clean & Purify Your Winter Indoor Air

Today’s indoor air purification methods are easy and effective, and they work just as well during the spring, summer, and fall seasons as they do in winter!

Ultraviolet purification

Even today, there is still no man-made technology that can outperform the sun’s ultraviolet rays as an agent of purification. UV light literally neutralizes toxins, allergens, and germs on contact.

HEPA filtration

HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration was invented during World War II, and there hasn’t been anything since that has been able to beat its filtration abilities.

A HEPA filter, whether installed on a home comfort (A/C and heating) system or vacuum cleaner, can filter out unwelcome airborne particulate matter as small as 1/100th of a single human hair!

Humidification/dehumidification

Seasonal shifts in humidity can cause a range of uncomfortable physical symptoms, from increased respiratory infections to skin rashes.

Whole home humidifiers and dehumidifiers adjust your indoor air humidity levels as needed to keep within the optimal range of 30 to 50 percent humidity all year long.

Heat recovery ventilation

A heat recovery ventilator is a wonderful appliance designed to work with any home comfort (A/C and heating) system to keep incoming air fresh and oxygenated and to ensure stale outgoing air never sneaks back inside.

Give Us a Call

Save 20 percent on any indoor air quality (IAQ) equipment with our Breathe Clean Air Event, which is going on now!

Give us a call at 905-544-2470 for help ensuring your seasonal air is clean and pure!

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It’s Ten O’Clock: Do You Know Where Your Household Mould Is Hiding?

mould on wall

In the natural world, mould has its own important role to play as it breaks down organic matter and releases still useful compounds back into the environment for re-use.

In medicine and food preparation, as well, mould can serve a purpose. For example, did you know that mould is an essential component for making the world’s most famous antibiotic—penicillin?

If you like eating cheese, you will also be interested to know that mould is used to make some types of cheese, especially soft Brie and blue cheeses. These types of mould are not only safe to breathe, but also to eat!

But the kind of mould used to treat illness or make tasty cheeses is not the same kind that likes to colonize out of the way areas in your home and make you and your family sick.

These types of mould are very toxic, indeed, yet since they often conceal themselves out of sight in low traffic household areas, you may get quite sick before you even suspect mould is the cause.

In this article, learn the most common household hiding places for toxic mould, how to spot it, and what to do to get rid of it!

What Is Mould?

You probably know what mould smells like (dank, grassy, stale).

You also likely know what it looks like (when your fresh produce caves in on one side from an exterior overgrowth of white, powdery stuff).

You may even know how to spot the respiratory symptoms of minor toxic mould exposure (throat clearing, coughing, cold-like symptoms).

But what exactly is mould?

Mould at its core is a type of fungi. It belongs to the fungi family, which also includes yeast, mushrooms, and of course mildew.

There are not just hundreds but literally thousands of different types of moulds. Moulds reproduce with spores, single-celled organisms packed with DNA that can make more mould wherever conditions are deemed suitable.

Spores are very light and aerodynamic, and they can remain airborne for hundreds, even thousands of miles until they find just the right spot to settle.

Once landed, spores need moisture and nutrition to divide and replicate themselves. Some spores need only a little moisture and some, a lot.

Mould’s favorite food comes from cellulose (organic plant-based matter). Cellulose is pretty much everywhere in the typical home. Wallpaper, carpet, fabrics, paint, adhesives, paper products, drywall, anything wooden or cardboard, fresh produce and even household dust contains cellulose.

In other words, wherever the combination of moisture and cellulose co-exist is where mould tends to be.

Mould’s Favorite Hiding Spots

So now that you have a basic working knowledge of what mould is, how it replicates, and what it likes to eat, it is time to go mould hunting!

For this, you will need some ideas of where mould especially likes to hide out. Sometimes, mould will develop a colony right out in plain sight, although perhaps in an area you seldom visit, such as a garage or basement.

But at other times, mould colonies will grow in places you wouldn’t think to look or can’t even see without prying up furnishings and disturbing the structure of your house.

For this reason, it is important to continue searching for mould if health symptoms or home odours indicate it may be there, even though at first you don’t see any signs of colony growth.

It is particularly important to check these places:

  • Basement. Under foundation or wall cracks, in corners where moisture may collect, on musty or damp stored items, in areas that have previously flooded.

  • Attic. On sheathing, under or around A/C condensation pans, anywhere there is a leak or drip, on musty or damp stored items.

  • Crawl spaces. Anywhere moisture accumulates, especially if there is dirt flooring, a poorly graded slope, a cracked foundation, or a high water table that can cause continuous water seepage.

  • Garage and uninsulated outdoor sheds. In corners, under roofing, on musty or damp stored items.

  • Bathroom. Floor-to-ceiling mould is possible in bathrooms, which are typically the dampest room in any house. Cracked tiles and compromised grout or mortar can also help mould gain access to the interior of the home, including the wood and drywall.

  • Kitchen. Under sinks, under/behind stoves or refrigerators, under/behind dishwashers, inside or behind microwaves.

  • Laundry room. Inside of/behind/underneath washer/dryer units, inside dryer vents, behind or under sinks, under floorboards or carpeting.

  • Air ducts, exhaust vents, and air registers. Mould gravitates toward these dark, moist, cellulose-rich enclosed areas.

How to Send Mould Packing

Ultimately, what you really need to know is how to get rid of mould inside your home.

Here, your most potent weapons are low humidity, dry conditions, regular cleaning, reduced clutter, ultraviolet light, and air ventilation/circulation.

If you already have a sizable mould problem, the best approach is to work with a remediation expert until your home can be declared mould-free, and then take these steps:

Give Us a Call

Right now, save 20 percent on whole home air quality equipment like HEPA filters, UV purifiers, humidifiers, and heat recovery ventilators with our Breathe Clean Air event!

Or give us a call at 905-544-2470 to learn about the many services and products we provide to help maintain your indoor air purity and freshness.

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Unmask These Hidden Home Toxins to Clean Up Your Indoor Air

carpet hidden home toxin

Here at Clean Air Solutions, we aren’t shy about sharing our passion for clean, fresh, oxygenated air to breathe. Why?

Well, one reason is that just 12 months ago, a new research study confirmed what scientists had long since suspected: oxygen levels are dropping worldwide at a rate of about 0.7 percent per year.

While currently the impact to us is deemed minimal, it is a trend worth watching and reacting to.

Taking proactive, preventative measures to keep your own air supply as fresh, clean, and oxygenated as possible will keep your body healthier, your mind sharper, and your life more enjoyable no matter what tomorrow’s forecast may bring.

In this article, we take a timely look at some of the most common indoor toxins that are often hiding in plain sight in the average home. Then we tell you what to do to send them packing!

Choose New Furnishings With Care

Who doesn’t love a good home makeover? Change a rug here, repaint a wall there, add some new wood paneling and voila—the you’ve got something fresh and new!

Unfortunately, many of those new additions are chock-full of toxic chemicals that get released into your indoor air supply.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Carpeting. Many carpets are made with chemical adhesives, pads, and treatments that can cause mild to severe health symptoms. If you’ve ever breathed in that new-carpet smell and wondered what causes it, now you know: it is a complex chemical cocktail of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The best workaround is to choose all-natural fiber carpet that is certified as “low emission” or opt for hardwood or tile instead.

  • Paint, stains, and sealants. Another common source of potent VOCs is new paint, stains and sealants, and varnishes. Here again, look for paints and sealants that are certified as low VOC.

  • Mini-blinds. Plastic, vinyl, and composite mini-blinds can emit toxic VOCs and phthalates, which are harmful to adults, children, and pets. Here, look for “green” blinds that are made from eco-friendly materials or opt for natural fiber draperies instead.

Rethink How You Clean Your Clothing

Isn’t it lovely to just drop off your clothing at the dry cleaner and then come back later to pick it up? It is so easy and convenient, and your clothes look and smell great!

There is just one tiny problem. That “dry cleaned” smell actually comes from a potent chemical called perchloroethylene (PERC), a VOC with known neurological side effects.

Here, there are three possible fixes:

  • Take off the plastic covers and air out your dry cleaning outside until the smell dissipates.

  • Use an eco-friendly dry cleaning that contains only natural cleaning products.

  • Recommit to cleaning and ironing your clothing at home.

However, if you opt for the third fix, you still need to do three essential things to keep the chemicals out of your indoor air!

  • Choose only all-natural, eco-friendly laundry products (soap, vinegar, softeners).

  • Clean out your dryer lint after every load.

  • Have your dryer vents professionally cleaned to reduce airborne toxins and fire risk.

Finally, if you are still using mothballs to protect and store your seasonal clothing, it is time to find a new approach.

Mothballs are highly toxic. One of the principle ingredients is paradichlorobenzene, a pesticide that is known to affect major organs and the central nervous system for both people and pets.

A natural alternative to moth balls that is safe and repels mosquitos is cedar chips. Also, lavender, citronella, eucalyptus, cinnamon, camphor, cloves and rosemary (either in dry leaves or essential oil forms) can all send moths and other pests packing with no negative impact on your health or that of your pets.

Reconsider Your Personal Care Routine

The bath and shower products market is thriving to the tune of $15 billion dollars in sales annually.

And it is no wonder—it feels so great to start and end your day with the pleasant scent and soothing feel of your favorite bath and body products!

Unfortunately, many popular personal care products in wide circulation today are made from highly toxic chemical ingredients. There is nothing worse than finding out you have been cleansing with chemicals, moisturizing with chemicals, and even detoxifying with toxic chemicals!

But one glance at the ingredients list for the average major label bath product will convince you of the truth of this statement. From here, you can take steps to adjust your daily routine to cut out dangerous chemical-based products and replace them with healthy, natural care products instead.

Here are some tips:

  • Look for organic products made from all-natural oils, herbs, and plants.

  • Read the ingredients—if there is anything you can’t pronounce, skip it.

  • Choose care products made for babies, since these must conform to stricter standards.

  • Switch from air fresheners and perfumes to essential oils.

  • Choose products with just a handful of ingredients—the shorter the list, the better.

  • Find cruelty-free products, which are those that have not been tested on animals.

  • Add more houseplants to your home to keep your air naturally fresh without any products at all!

Give Us a Call

Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, it is our life’s work to detoxify life for everyone we serve in the Hamilton and surrounding areas.

Right now, you can save 20 percent on your purchase of any whole home HEPA filter, U.V. filtration system, heat recovery ventilation system, or humidification system.

Just complete this easy online form or call us at 905-544-2470!

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