Sylvane.com » Indoor Health Matters


How Smoke Bans Improved Air Quality in New York and Atlanta

Posted by Ivey on October 18th, 2013

Smoking Prohibited SignNew York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was proud to announce that the city’s air quality recently reached its highest level in nearly half a century. In addition to the dramatic impact of smoking bans, public health officials credit buildings using lower-pollution heating oils or opting for cleaner-burning natural gas with the annual prevention of 800 deaths and 2,000 emergency room visits and hospitalizations.

If a city with approximately 8 million diverse residents known for their headstrong personalities can make this change, I began to wonder what, if any, changes were taking place in other cities. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that in Atlanta (where I live) many programs and policies—most of which I have been taking for granted—are in place to improve our city’s air quality.

One of best-known programs is the Clean Air Campaign. With some of the infamous traffic in the nation, the Clean Air Campaign’s mission is to improve air quality by focusing primarily on reducing traffic congestion, which is a vital part of Atlanta’s journey towards healthier air.  Clean Air Campaign promotes telecommuting, ride-sharing, public transportation, and has even partnered with schools to find unique ways to improve air quality so that students can enjoy the air on their campuses.

Read more about air quality improvement steps

Fall Allergies: The Other Autumn Garden Pest

Posted by Ivey on October 11th, 2013

Fall Gardening WorkingCool, pleasant autumn weather prompted my husband to suggest we get our yard and garden ready for fall. Later on, he complained of itchy eyes and a stuffy nose. “It feels like my allergies are acting up,” he said. “Do fall allergies exist?”

The short answer: Absolutely. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, of the people allergic to pollen-producing plants, about 75% have sensitivity to ragweed—one of the primary fall allergy culprits. In fact, the AAFA estimates that 10-20% of Americans suffer from itchy eyes, irritated skin, runny noses, and even interrupted sleep as result of ragweed pollen.air-quality-plants

In addition to wind-borne pollen, mold also presents a significant source of aggravation for fall allergy-sufferers. The combination of rain and fallen leaves creates a breeding ground for mold.

Despite these seemingly grim odds, it’s still possible to enjoy fall weather in your garden! Check out these tips.

  1. Consult your allergist. From the first itch or sneeze, talk to your doctor and devise a plan for keeping your fall allergies under control. If this fall marks your Woman Tending to Gardenfirst experience with pollen and mold irritations, a visit with the allergist is essential for finding your allergy triggers.
  2. Dress appropriately. Wear long sleeves and pants to keep pollen and mold spores away from your skin. Gardening gloves not only help you avoid unsightly cuts and blisters but offer a great line of defense against allergens. Sunglasses and a hat are also ideal for keeping airborne irritants away from eyes and hair, respectively. Read more fall gardening tips

Sunglasses: The Ultimate Allergen Fighter?

Posted by Tony on October 3rd, 2013

sunglasses fight allergiesIn school, I was the only kid who dreaded having class outside on a nice day. I don’t hate nature, but this usually meant sitting in the grass for at least an hour…and unfortunately, I’m allergic to both pollen and grass. It isn’t that I can’t go in my yard (although it’s a good excuse to get out of yardwork), but if I sit in the grass for long periods of time my eyes itch, get red, and have even swollen shut. It’s very glamorous.

Who knew reading Men’s Health magazine could have potentially saved me a lot of trouble? They recently published an article offering one of the coolest ways to fight allergy symptoms: wearing sunglasses. That’s right, rocking sunglasses (the larger the better!) can help ward off allergy symptoms.enjoying the sunlight

As strange as it may sound, wearing shades physically blocks out pollen, UV rays (which can stimulate symptoms), and other allergens. And it turns out this is pretty well known.

Participants in the study mentioned in Men’s Health wore large, wrap-around sunglasses, but doctors and other experts seem to agree that any type of sunglasses may help—if only slightly.

Sunglasses help by decreasing the amount of air that circulates over your eyes—which helps keep allergens from directly touching them. Since light exposure can increase allergy symptoms in your eyes, standard UV-blocking shades may even help control symptoms. Your eyes and nose are directly connected, so blocking your eyes will help keep your nose clear as well.

sunglasses help fight allergiesIt makes sense if you think about it: The less allergens that touch your eyes, the better. So wear those big aviators all the time—they’re more than just a fashion statement. And if you’re an allergy-sufferer like me, you’ll take any bit of help you can get.

Have you noticed sunglasses providing any other useful purpose? Know another strange way to help fight off allergy symptoms? Tell us in the comments below or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.