It's no secret allergy season started early this year and it's already shaping up to be a bad one. With the weather all over the place, we're left to deal with itchy eyes and runny noses. While we have articles on how to fight allergies
naturally, I'd like to look at a solution we haven't touched on before - air.
Air purity isn't something we always think about. Certain areas have better air quality than others, like how the urban cities suffer more from smog than more rural or open areas. But bad air can affect anyone, especially during allergy season, and it could come from your home.
What Causes Poor Air Quality
The surrounding air is made up of molecules we can't see that allow us to breathe and survive on Earth. However, there are other molecules that can make us dizzy and agitate our allergies like pollen and pollution.
Outdoor air isn't the only problem though. According the HealthLink BC
, there are several major factors that could impede the air quality of our homes including mold, insects like dust mites and chemicals from our furniture, cleaning products or even what the house was built with. Cosmetic products like shampoo, hair spray and body soaps can release chemicals like formaldehyde into the air and we're left breathing it in. Then there's tobacco smoke, regular ol' dust and pet dander that can stir up some serious respiratory annoyance.
All of this can make us more susceptible to allergies and other lung irritations. Luckily, knowing is half the battle and learning how to purify these from your breathing space is just below.
It may come as a surprise but plants breathe the same air we do. Luckily, they love all the stuff we don't. They take in chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde and ammonia while releasing pure air into the area, leaving us with the good stuff. Pretty convenient.
NASA released a Clean Air Study
and revealed the best plants to have around for air quality control. Love the Garden
put them together in an easy-to-read graphic here
. Research suggests placing one every 100 square feet at the office or at home to keep up with our breathing demand.
The downside to having plants around us is, well, having plants around us. Ok, so green is actually a great color to have around us. It's easy on the eyes and supposedly eases stress (great for the office). However, taking care of some of these plants on NASA's list is troublesome (heck, any living plant is). If you're like me, you may end up killing more of them than those that survive. Some of the plants are also poisonous to pets so those with cats and dogs should double check the list before adding any to their home.
If indoor gardening isn't your thing, you can go out and get a machine that purifies the air. These are great for trapping smoke, pollen, dust and other common allergens in the air.
You may need to wait 20 minutes before the room's air is clear, meaning you purify one room at a time. Generally, people keep them in their bedroom for better sleep quality but I also suggest daily purifying some of the spaces of the home you use most often like the kitchen or family room.
Air purifiers work by bringing air in and using a filter to pull out the dust, seasonal pollen and pet dander molecules from the air around it. Some are great at eliminating common odors from cooking, pet cages and litter boxes or tobacco smoke. It can't reach everything, though. You'll still to dust and clean pet hair from furniture and it won't suck up dust mites or dry out mold
. Also, there's a kind purifier that emits ozone which can irritate your lungs.
Because molecules are small, it's important to check the filter you're buying. HEPA filters are the most liked with fine fibers that trap 99.99% of particles. You still need to check the size by seeing how many molecules the purifier can catch. The smaller the holes in the filter, the better quality.
Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers
Humidity in your house can really agitate your allergies and sinuses. Mold, mildew, dust mites and other allergens thrive in wet, humid climates so if you have "wet" air, an air purifier may not be the best option for you. Using a dehumidifier will strip the air of water and bring it back down to common levels, making it impossible for mold to grow. You'll breathe and sleep better too.
However, if you're suffering from nosebleeds, itchy eyes, dry skin and static shocks from fabric around your home, your house could be too dry. Using a humidifier adds moisture to the air and softens your nasal passages. This may ease inflammation and help you get rid of the lingering allergen stuck in your cavities.
Quick Tip: Aromatherapy diffusers
can work as short-range humidifiers. If you're the only one suffering from dry air in the house, pull your diffuser close to you bed at night. This will only work with non-heated water diffusers, like this one
from Now Foods but you can add your favorite oil. Peppermint, basil and eucalyptus
are great for opening sinuses and relieving inflammation.
Customize Your Air
It's possible to need two or more kinds of air cleaners on this list. A basement can be stuffy with humidity and needs to dry out with a dehumidifier while your bedroom may be too dry. Different parts of the house get used it different ways so your kitchen may benefit from a purifier with all the family traffic and smell but the rest of the house would be fine with a plant in each room. Identify the problems in your house and use this list to help find a solution.
Other Allergy Survival Tips:Keep windows closed during high pollen days (or during your seasonal allergy flares)Dust and clean regularlyKeep shoes at the door to avoid tracking in outside contaminants
Remember to breathe this allergy season. We've got some great natural supplements
to help you when you're away from the house. Tell us how you prepare to battle the weather and what you'd like to see from us on our Facebook
pages. Be sure to use #eVitaminsBlog. We'll have more healthy tips for your next time. Until then, live healthy!