» Indoor Health Matters

It’s Flu Season – Do You Know Where the Flu is?

Posted by Ashley on November 25th, 2008

If you’re anything like me, you hate flu season. You loathe those times – mostly between November and March – when you can just feel the influenza coming on. During these times, everything you do is performed in a fatigued slow motion. You start popping a daily vitamin C, a powdery-tasting Zicam tablet, and maybe one of those ugly green Echinacea capsules just to be safe. You wash your hands twice as much as you usually do (and for me, that’s a lot!). You get plenty of rest (out like a light at 10!) and hope that this run-down feeling passes. To put it plainly, if you’re anything like me, you’ll do everything short of declaring yourself under quarantine during flu season to prevent catching the flu.
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Air Purifiers Help in Clean-Up from Wildfires

Posted by Ashley on November 19th, 2008

As I write this, areas in southern California are starting to recover from a string of dangerous wildfires that first sparked last Thursday and have burned at least 42,000 acres to date. These 3 fires – the Montecito Tea Fire, the Sayre Fire, and the Freeway Complex Fire – spawned thousands of evacuations and mobilized handfuls of fire crews to help contain their violent flames. They are now at least 70% contained (the Montecito Tea Fire is 100% contained), but not without destroying at least 400 houses, 500 mobile homes, scores of commercial properties, and causing at least 10 injuries.

As residents begin trickling back to their neighborhoods and homes – for some, to what is left of their homes – clean-up is top of mind. One important aspect of recovering from a wildfire, or any type of fire, is restoring the quality of the air, both outside and inside the home or office. An air purifier designed to remove smoke can expedite this process. Continue reading

Coming Soon: The World’s Smartest Heater

Posted by John on November 16th, 2008

Vornado TouchStone Vortex HeatersI’ve encountered a few semi-intelligent heaters – but none as smart as the Vornado TVH600 TouchStone Vortex Heater.

What makes it the world’s smartest heater?

While other smart heaters may be able to sense the room temperature, their sensors are located on the heating unit itself; of course, the space surrounding the heater will be warmer than the rest of the room. The Vornado TouchStone Vortex Heater takes this into account: its temperature sensor is located on the remote control for a truly intelligent reading! Continue reading

High Precipitation Linked to Autism

Posted by John on November 16th, 2008

I recently explored the question Is Autism an Environmental Illness? Now new evidence suggests that autism may indeed be an environmental illness.

CBS News reports that children living in areas of high precipitation may be more likely to have autism.

“I strongly believe it’s not the precipitation itself,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Michael Waldman. “My sense is, if truly there is an environmental trigger, my guess is it is one of the factors related to indoor activity.” Continue reading

Why You Shouldn’t Burn Leaves

Posted by John on November 16th, 2008

Communities across the country are banning the tradition of burning autumn leaves – and for good reason. That pile of burning leaves could trigger a serious asthma attack. Continue reading

Posted in General Health | No Comments »

Lung Cancer – Leading Cause of Death

Posted by John on November 15th, 2008

Lung Cancer - Leading Cause of DeathThe Argus Leader reports that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Lung cancer kills more people than breast, prostate, colon, liver, kidney, and melanoma cancers combined. Continue reading

Hypoallergenic Pets – Myth vs. Fact

Posted by John on November 15th, 2008

As the Obama family looks for a new hypoallergenic dog to take to the White House (the President-Elect’s oldest daughter suffers from asthma), Nurse Kathleen MacNaughton of reminds us all that there’s really no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog.

“It’s a fact – All dogs have dander, even if they don’t shed,” writes MacNaughton. “It doesn’t matter whether the hair is long or short or even if the dog is hairless. But because dander often attaches to hair, dogs that shed less hair may also shed less dander. Dander is not something you can easily see. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. And even though you can’t see it, it can still trigger asthma symptoms and asthma attacks.” Continue reading

Posted in Allergies | No Comments »

Teach Children to Use Asthma Inhalers Properly

Posted by John on November 15th, 2008

2008 is almost over! This is an important time for asthma awareness. If your child has asthma, by the end of the year, his or her inhaler will be replaced with a new one (if it hasn’t already been replaced). HFA (hydrofluoroalkane) inhalers will replace traditional CFC (chlorofluorocarbon) inhalers because the use of CFC inhalers releases greenhouse gases that may damage the ozone layer.

But the new eco-friendly inhalers are a bit different, and you should make sure that your child is aware of the differences. Continue reading

Posted in Asthma | No Comments »

AllerSoft Bedding Reviews

Posted by John on November 15th, 2008

There’s nothing like climbing onto a bed made with fresh, clean sheets. Ahhh. But don’t get too comfortable yet: unless you have impervious covers on your mattress and pillows, those clean sheets will soon be covered with thousands or even millions of dust mites.

If you have allergies or asthma, you’re probably already familiar with dust mites. For those of you who are not, these microscopic arachnids commonly live within the fibers of beds, furniture, and carpets. Their waste matter is a powerful allergen. Up to 80 percent of allergy sufferers are sensitive to dust mite allergen! Continue reading

Your Environment Determines Your Gene Expression

Posted by John on November 14th, 2008

Your environment not only determines your health, but it also determines who you are – quiet literally – at the level of gene expression. Continue reading

Going Postal Over Respiratory Problems

Posted by John on November 13th, 2008

ABC reports that current and former postal workers across the nation are battling severe respiratory problems. Many postal employees blame the paper dust produced by the letter-sorting machines in post offices.

“I began to have breathing problems, asthma symptoms, bronchitis,” says former post office employee Betty Booker. Continue reading

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Top Five Space Heaters

Posted by John on November 11th, 2008


A good space heater is the best way to keep warm and toasty all winter without sending your heating bills through the roof. Portable heaters give you extra heat right where you need it – safely and efficiently.

Here’s our list of the top five space heaters for Winter 2008: Continue reading

Healthy Indoor Air for America’s Homes

Posted by John on November 9th, 2008

American Profile recently interviewed Michael Vogel, director of the Montana chapter of Healthy Indoor Air for American’s Homes. He has been offering indoor air quality advice for over 20 years.

Vogel points out that “Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote an article on the importance of fresh air and ventilation back in the 1800s” – but today, experts know much more about the risks of various pollutants. Continue reading

The Green Movement – Good for Environmental Health

Posted by John on November 9th, 2008

Environmental medicine is a relatively new field of study. Once regarded with skepticism by some, environmental medicine has recently gained more attention and prestige, thanks in part to the green movement.

As more people learn about environmental chemicals, they’re realizing that these chemicals can indeed cause environmental illness, also known as sick building syndrome. Indoor mold, for example, can cause all sorts of illnesses – from allergies and asthma to neurotoxic poisoning. Continue reading

Remembering the Killer Smog Disaster

Posted by John on November 8th, 2008

Earlier this week, residents of Donora, Pennsylvania remembered the killer smog of 1948 that killed 20 residents. Nearly half of the town became ill in one of the worst air pollution disasters in history. Now the town has a Smog Museum with the slogan “Clean Air Started Here.”

“It was the first time that people really understood that a lot of air pollution in a short period of time could kill people,” said Dr. Devra Davis of the University of Pittsburgh. Continue reading