Sylvane.com » Indoor Health Matters


Must-Haves for a Healthier, More Comfortable Dorm Room

Posted by Ashley on August 17th, 2012

college signSchool is getting back in session. Whether you’re heading off to college, heading back to college, or sending your child off for the first time—there are some things that can make the experience go much smoother. Most dorm packing lists cover the basics, but they don’t take into account those things that can help you feel more comfortable in your home away from home. Plus, if you suffer from allergies or asthma, you have more to think about, not knowing what symptom triggers await you.

To help you (or your studious son or daughter) create a healthier, more comfortable dorm room, check out our list of must-have products.

Table Fan

Many dorms lack central air conditioning. Other dorms have it, but it might not be powerful enough to cool you during the late summer months and you might not have control over the thermostat. A great stand-in, a compact table fan fits easily on your bedside table, window sill, or desk to circulate a gentle breeze that cools you and keeps your space refreshed while you hit the books.

Vornado 573 Air Circulator FanOur Pick: Weighing just under 4 pounds, the Vornado 573 Air Circulator features 3 cooling speeds, quiet operation, and a sleek minimalist design that looks great on your nightstand.

Read on for more dorm room essentials

Traveling with Allergies: The Secret World of Allergy-Friendly Hotels

Posted by Vivian on August 1st, 2012

Traveling can be fun and relaxing, but if you have allergies or chemical sensitivities, it can also be stressful. Luckily, hotels are increasingly offering “allergy-friendly” room options, and some hotels are entirely allergy-friendly.

According to a 2010 survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association, in fact, 38 percent of hotels offer allergy-friendly rooms.

What do these promises mean, however? Can you count on hotels that claim to be allergy-friendly to really be so?

Allergy-friendly offerings can vary greatly from hotel to hotel, so as a traveler, it’s up to you to find out exactly what a hotel will offer before you book a room and stay there. Doing your research upfront will help save you headaches down the road.

Read on for more tips for finding an allergy-friendly hotel.

Can Dogs Prevent Childhood Asthma?

Posted by Vivian on July 24th, 2012

Dogs are beloved members of many families. They offer unconditional love, reduce stress levels, encourage exercise, and even lower blood pressure. And now, research has shown they might also reduce cases of childhood asthma.

According to research presented at the 2012 General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, children who live in homes with dogs may be less likely to develop asthma. In the study, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco fed house dust from homes with dogs to mice. Compared to a control group, the mice exposed to this dust had increased immunity to the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is associated with childhood asthma.

While still in its early stages, the research suggests that children who spend time around dogs might have a similar immunity to this virus. This is exciting news for dog-lovers, especially since a study last year proved there’s no such thing as hypoallergenic dogs.

Read on to discover tips for healthy living with dogs.

Wildfires Create Unhealthy Air in Colorado & Beyond

Posted by Vivian on July 12th, 2012

Colorado Wildfire Air QualityThe Colorado fires have affected more than just homes, forests and livestock. They’ve also impacted many people throughout the state and beyond who live downwind from them. Toxic smoke has filled the air around Colorado for weeks, and people with a sensitivity to smoke have had little relief from the fumes.

Forest fire smoke contains a soup of nasty chemicals, including nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia, and more. When these fires start burning houses the chemicals get even more toxic. The air was rated as “unhealthy” for days throughout Colorado this summer by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. According to AIRNow, this smoke can cause an increase in asthma attacks and other respiratory disorders among those exposed to it even for short periods, and the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of negative health effects. Those with heart or lung diseases, the elderly, and children are particularly susceptible to the dangers of smoke exposure.

Read more about how you can protect the respiratory health of you and your family in case of a wildfire.

Fireworks and Air Quality

Posted by Vivian on July 3rd, 2012

FireworksIt’s that time of year again, when we celebrate 4th of July by watching fireworks displays and setting off backyard fireworks. It’s a time of fun, family and happiness, and fireworks have come to symbolize all of those good things we associate with the holiday.

Unfortunately, though, all the chemicals and smoke associated with fireworks contribute to unhealthy air conditions. The fine toxic dust created by fireworks can enter our sensitive nose and lung tissues and cause health problems. The dust, in particular, threatens those people with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or asthma. In addition to the dust, firework smoke contains a toxic mixture of chemicals, gasses, heavy metals and sulfur.

Keep reading for safe firework alternatives you can try on Independence Day.

3 Ways Dehumidifiers Help Relieve Allergies and Asthma

Posted by Ashley on May 18th, 2012

Allergy and Asthma Awareness MonthMay is the peak of spring allergy season and it also marks an important event, National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. This month is a great time to educate yourself on the best ways to relieve your symptoms and eliminate common triggers from your home. You probably already know that HEPA air purifiers and HEPA vacuums remove sniffle-causing allergens in your space. Did you also know that portable dehumidifiers can help you conquer your symptoms even further? The key is controlling your humidity.

Here are 3 ways these popular basement appliances keep your symptoms in check.

    1. Dehumidifiers stop mold growth.

    Damp, humid air in your home (above 50% humidity) creates the ideal environment for mold to grow and thrive. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, mold can  trigger the same symptoms as outdoor pollen. Using a dehumidifier stops mold growth by reducing the moisture content of your air and keeping your home’s overall humidity under control. To eliminate and prevent mold indoors, use your dehumidifier to maintain a humidity level between 45 and 50%.
    Read more on how dehumidifiers curb your symptoms

    March Air Quality Evangelists

    Posted by Allison on March 26th, 2012

    Air Quality EvangelistsLast month, we announced the launch of our new Air Quality Evangelist program. The goal of this project is to celebrate other blogs and websites that appreciate good air quality and provide insight on how you can improve yours.

    Now it’s time to announce this month’s Air Quality Evangelists!

    SafeMama SafeMama

    Kathy Scoleri is a web designer, author, and mother of two boys. When she was expecting her first child in 2007 – and spending hours researching Bisphenol-A, hormone mimicking chemicals, and toy recalls – she knew she couldn’t be the only parent scouring the web for this information. So she created SafeMama to keep it all in one place.

    Winning Post: There are many choices you can make to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out Of Your Home. In this article, SafeMama hits some major points – from losing the shoes while inside to using HEPA-filtered vacuums.

    See March's Air Quality Evangelists!

    Pollen Contest: Show Your Yellow, Win Some Green!

    Posted by Allison on March 23rd, 2012

    It’s springtime, and you know what that means: yellow-covered everything. Especially here in Atlanta, where pollen counts are breaking records and a sick yellow tinge coats the city streets. For allergy-sufferers, this is devastating. So we wanted to give you something to smile about.

    Send us a picture of your pollen-covered car, and you’ll be entered to win a free $50 Visa gift card!

    Car Covered in PollenThat should cover a few good car washes to rinse away that nasty pollen.

    Post your photo on our Facebook page, tweet us a link, or email it to us at contest@sylvane.com. On April 6th, the most pollen-soaked car will win a $50 Visa gift card!

    Show us how desperately your car needs a good cleaning. Send us your photo today!

    And remember to keep those windows rolled up and wash your clothes when you get inside. That pollen settles quickly on our cars, but there are steps you can take to keep it out of your home.

    Good luck!

    10 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Air Quality

    Posted by Allison on March 19th, 2012

    Spring Cleaning Cleaning SuppliesThe beginning of spring is the one time of year that I get super jazzed about cleaning, so I always make sure to take it seriously. I leave no blind un-dusted and no pillow cover un-washed. Dust, dirt and allergens don’t stand a chance in my home.

    This spring, you owe it to yourself to enjoy a clean that’s more than dirt-deep. I’m talking allergen-deep. Dust mite-deep. Get down to the nitty gritty and really tackle what’s lurking in your home’s air. With the help of these 10 spring cleaning tips, you can do it without making yourself crazy.

    1. Make a schedule. If you have a basement, start there – this room usually has the worst air quality. The next day, tackle germs and bacteria in the bathroom. Move onto the living room on day three, and so on. Even if you live in a 600 square foot apartment like mine, this method helps you stay focused on the task at hand and avoid becoming overwhelmed with the amount of work ahead of you.

    bissell steam mop 2. Ditch the store-bought cleaners for a vapor steam cleaner. Typical household cleaners often contain harsh toxic chemicals that can aggravate allergies and ultimately cause health complications. Steam cleaners use pure vapor steam to naturally disinfect and deodorize counter tops, windows, appliances, and upholstery.

    Keep reading for more spring cleaning tips.

    Sylvane’s Top Allergy Air Purifiers

    Posted by Ashley on March 14th, 2012

    Alen A375UV Multi-Gas Air PurifierWith spring just a week away, many of us are already suffering through the usual line-up of aggravating allergy symptoms. An allergy air purifier may be the answer you need to finally be able to enjoy the season again. But if you’ve done any amount of research on air purifiers designed for allergies, you know that your options are endless. It’s often difficult to sift through your choices and figure out which model will be the best for your needs.

    We want to help you with your choice. That’s why we’ve created a cheat sheet of sorts to help you easily identify our tried and true models, those that are a hit with customers and industry insiders alike. Read on for a peek at our top allergy air purifiers for the season.

    Best Overall Allergy Air Purifier

    IQAir HealthPro Plus Air PurifierConsistently ranked a best buy and Sylvane’s Air Purifier Category Winner, the IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier is a workhorse machine designed to remove 99% of all allergen particles from your indoor air. Using HyperHEPA filtration, the HealthPro Plus removes even more irritating particles than standard HEPA filters while a 5-pound gas and odor filter absorbs odors and chemical fumes that may aggravate asthma and chemical sensitivities. Upgraded control features, a large coverage area, and a mobile design round it out as our pick for best overall.

    Read on for more top allergy air purifier picks

    Battle Early Spring Allergies

    Posted by Ashley on February 24th, 2012

    Are you battling a runny nose, itchy eyes, and a seemingly endless bout of sneezing? Don’t be so sure it’s just a cold. It could be spring allergies—in February. Strange, right?

    Doctors think so too. For the past month, allergists across the country have been treating a new wave of patients suffering from spring allergy symptoms early, more than a month before the season typically begins. The reason, reports a recent WebMD article, is an uncharacteristically mild winter in many cities in the U.S.

    Experts say that warmer-than-average winter temperatures around the country have triggered early tree pollination and led to higher pollen counts than normal for this time of year. As a result, we’re experiencing an early start to allergy season. And if you suffer from tree pollen allergies, you’re likely among the first to feel the effects.

    Scientists have a hunch that an early allergy season could mean we’re in for a longer-than-average season. But because rainfall amounts have a bearing on how long trees and flowers pollinate; it’s too early to predict for sure. Whatever the outcome, if you are prone to seasonal allergies, now is a great time to get prepared.

    Read on to learn simple tips to fight early spring allergies

    How Humidifiers Can Help You Rest Up Before the Big Game

    Posted by Allison on February 3rd, 2012

    Let’s face it – no matter which team you’re cheering for, we’re all interested in one thing this Sunday: commercials!

    Vicks is an official sponsor of the NFL. Their NyQuil/DayQuil ads depicting professional football coaches, players, and fans make an obvious statement about the power of their medication to put even the most restless people to sleep in an instant.

    We all know how important it is to get proper amounts of rest. But with changes in the weather and post-holiday stress, it can be hard to get enough sleep this time of year. Our sinuses can have a hard time keeping up, and taking medication every night can be exhausting.

    Did you know that Vicks makes another product that can help you sleep better?

    Keep reading about this commercial.

    Heat up the Winter with a Dyson Hot Fan

    Posted by Diamond on December 29th, 2011

    Dyson AM04For many, the winter season means delicious baked goods, holiday time with family, and perfect weather for a cup of apple cider or a bowl of chili. For others it means months of unpleasant frosty weather, the constant hassle of layers and layers of clothes, and an ever-increasing electric bill.

    Although there isn’t much we can do about the weather outside, we can keep warm inside while saving on heating costs with the new Dyson heater. The Dyson Hot is an innovative tower heater designed to quickly heat your space without distributing unhealthy allergens.

    Read more about the bladeless Dyson Hot personal heater

    Beat Holiday Allergy Triggers

    Posted by Ashley on December 21st, 2011

    Christmas cactusThe holidays are here! It’s the season for rockin’ holiday parties, savory meals, decadent sweets, finding (or receiving!) that perfect gift, and most importantly, cherishing the time we spend with family and friends. While many of us look forward to the holidays with sparks in our eyes, others—namely the estimated 50 million Americans who suffer from allergies—aren’t always so keen.

    Too often, the family Christmas tree, a beacon of holiday light and memories, quickly becomes your sneeze-inducing enemy. Your Aunt’s traditional walnut-sprinkled fruitcake has you racing in the other direction. And while all those scented candles add a wonderful fireside ambiance to any space, for you, they’re a stifling headache and a case of the sniffles waiting to happen.

    With so many potential allergy triggers stacking up around you, it can be tough to share in the excitement of the season. To help you avoid the wrath of this season’s allergy traps, start with these helpful tips:

    Read on to learn tips for coping with holiday allergies

    Introducing Sylvane’s Air Purifier Category Winner

    Posted by Ashley on December 9th, 2011

    IQ Air Healthpro Plus Air PurifierDo any amount of air purifier shopping these days and you’ll quickly learn it’s no secret that not all air purifiers are created equal.

    You’ll see air purifiers designed to relieve allergies and asthma, combat odors, reduce chemical sensitivities, filter out smoke, fight pet dander, kill germs, and even help restore your air quality after a flood. In most cases, each type of air purifier features varying attributes and differing levels of filtration that make them effective in solving a specific problem. It’s not often you find an air cleaner that can address a wide range of indoor air quality issues sufficiently. Add to that a user-friendly but feature-rich control panel as well as the product’s ability to provide a great lifetime value—and you’ve got a winner on your hands.

    With that, let me introduce (or re-introduce) you to the IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier, our newly chosen Sylvane Air Purifier Category Winner.

    Read more about our Air Purifier Category Winner