Sylvane.com » Indoor Health Matters


Don’t Let Pollen Ruin Your Spring Vacation

Posted by Ivey on April 16th, 2013

Road leads to SunsetWith the spring travel season in full swing, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has released its annual “2013 Spring Allergy Capitals” list. For the past 10 years, the AAFA has ranked the worst 100 continental U.S. cities for people with allergies. This year, Jackson, MS, takes top honors on the list. However, several popular vacation destinations made their way into the top 25, including Louisville, New Orleans, Virginia Beach, Chattanooga, Memphis, Oklahoma City, and Knoxville. Furthermore, a Discovery Fit & Health article points out that the Eastern, Southern, and Midwestern states are generally worse in the springtime for those with allergy sensitivities.

While these areas may be the worst offenders, no vacation destination can truly be allergy-free. Why? Well, just like many of us, pollen is pretty good at traveling. These tiny airborne particles can travel by wind, as well as by settling on the bodies of insects and other animals. Pollen can even be an unwelcome travel companion by settling on your clothes, in your hair, and even on your skin. Plus, regardless of your travel plans, there’s always the possibility of encountering mold and other allergens.

Fortunately, these simple tips can help you reduce pollen exposure and allergy symptoms so you can enjoy your vacation from beginning to end:

  1. Plan to vacation at a beach or on a cruise, if possible. These getaways tend to be easier on allergy sufferers.
  2. Monitor the pollen counts of your intended destination before and during your vacation. Read more tips to keep your vacation allergy-free.

Vacuuming like Judy Jetson

Posted by Ivey on April 1st, 2013

Neato Robotics XV-21 VacuumGrowing up, my regular chore was to vacuum the house each afternoon during the week and twice on Saturdays (once in the morning before watching cartoons and once in the evening after dinner.) While this daily ritual instilled in me a love for clean floors, it also made me cringe at the thought of vacuuming. Naturally, when robotic vacuums became popular, I was eager to reap the rewards of clean floors without the hassle of pushing around a clunky vacuum—they literally do the work for you!

My enthusiasm for robotic vacuums waned because some of the most popular models turned out to be more like sweepers than vacuums and still carried a hefty price tag. Upon my introduction to the Neato Robotics vacuum line these feelings changed completely. Featuring innovative technology, a low-profile design, and affordable price tag, these robotic vacuums easily clean places that you may have trouble reaching with a regular-size vacuum. Plus, the powerful suction effectively captures dust, dirt, pet hair, and other debris from both soft and hard surfaces, including tile, vinyl, and hardwoods.
Read more about Neato Vacuums

Miele S8 Canister Vacuums: The Next Generation of Cleaning

Posted by Tony on March 12th, 2013

Miele S8 Series Vacuums Banner

A cleaning revolution may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s exactly what Miele has created. Their new S8 line of canister vacuums are packed with extras and leading the charge in changing how we clean our homes.

I was lucky enough to chat with a Miele rep about these “next generation” vacuums. I really only had 2 questions: What makes one S8 model different from the others? And who should buy each one? I’ll share what I learned, but let’s run through the premium features they all share first. These vacuums filter air better than most canister vacuums, and they’re the lightest and quietest vacuums Miele has ever created. All Miele S8 vacuums include:

  • Parquet Twister Floor Tool: All S8 models come with this floor tool, which is air-driven and perfect for smooth floors.
  • AirClean Sealed System: It’s one thing to vacuum up dust, allergens, and other particles, but this sealed system ensures it stays in the vacuum’s bag and out of your indoor environment.
  • One-Touch Controls: No wrapping a cord, holding down a button, or even bending over. Simply touch a button with your foot to rewind the cord automatically or turn the vacuum on and off.
  • 6 Suction Settings: Different surfaces have various heights and textures; these settings let you control how much suction you use. For example, you’d use much more suction on high-pile carpet than when cleaning upholstery.
  • Onboard Accessories: Easy to find and store, use these for cleaning furniture, upholstery, and various other areas of your home. See which Miele S8 vacuum is best for you!

February Air Quality Evangelists

Posted by Tony on March 7th, 2013

February may be a short month, but there was no shortage of intriguing air quality posts! A wide-range of articles from around the world made this month’s Air Quality Evangelists list—and they’re some of our most diverse choices ever. Check out our favorite blog posts and learn a few tips to keep you healthy indoors and out: Meet our Air Quality Evangelists for February!

NASA-approved: Plants Keep the Air Clean in Your Home

Posted by Ivey on March 5th, 2013

Household plants improve indoor air qualityLet’s face it: When most people think of plants, they often think of allergies. As a result, many people choose to keep plants outside to reduce the likelihood of suffering from the sneezing, itching, and coughing that may occur in the presence of certain plants. However, a study published by NASA revealed that some common household plants can actually improve indoor air quality.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), levels of pollutants inside the home are often two to five times higher than outdoor pollutant levels. You’re probably thinking, “How is that possible? I clean my floors and counter tops regularly.” Well, don’t be too hard on yourself because these excessive levels aren’t necessarily the result of poor housekeeping. Find out which plants can clean your indoor air

Choose the Best Humidifier for Your Child’s Bedroom

Posted by Ivey on February 27th, 2013

Mother Cleans Baby's Nose Getting a restful night’s sleep is essential to your child’s health. Cold season and dry winter weather can make this difficult for your infant or toddler because of coughing, runny noses, dry skin, nasal congestion, and other uncomfortable symptoms often seen this time of year.

To help children rest easier both day and night, many parents often add a humidifier to their child’s room. Humidifiers blanket rooms with a soothing, delicate mist to help children breathe easier and get relief from flu-like symptoms. With so many people touting the effectiveness of humidifiers, including pediatricians and allergists, it’s no wonder that there are so many models available.

Here are a few tips about how to choose the best humidifier for your infant or toddler.

  • Warm versus Cool Mist Humidifiers. Although some parents choose warm mist humidifiers for perceived protection against bacteria growth, cool mist humidifiers are frequently recommended for infants and toddlers. Unlike their warm mist counterparts that can cause burn risks for children due to heated water in the tank, cool mist humidifiers offer the same benefits and no possibility of hot water coming into contact with curious hands and fingers. Cool mist is also preferred for children with asthma. Read more tips for choosing a child's humidifier

Are You Losing Sleep Due to Poor Air Quality?

Posted by Kylie on February 20th, 2013

SleepingA group of disorders known as Sleep-Disordered Breathing (SDB) is linked to a number of lifestyle factors, including age, weight and gender. A recent Harvard study shows that another cause is at work: poor indoor quality. With an estimated 17% of U.S. adults suffering from one of these disorders, this information is a breakthrough in SDB research.

While the link between poor health and poor air has long been known, this is the first known study on the relationship between air quality and sleep.

Read more to learn how to improve your sleep by improving your air.

Sylvane’s Presidents Day Sale: Discounts on Heaters, Humidifiers, Vacuums and More!

Posted by Tony on February 13th, 2013

Presidents Day Sale Sylvane

The end of February is a mixed bag of weather across the US—some people see record-breaking snow or horrible thunderstorms, while others (including myself) are preparing for an early spring allergy season. Presidents Day happens to fall around this time every year, and at Sylvane we’ll be celebrating with a major sale on products you can use in any weather.

Until February 19, we’re offering discounts on everything from heaters and humidifiers to vacuums and steam cleaners. Read on to learn more about our deals and who should consider taking advantage of them. See Our Presidents Day Sale Information!

January Air Quality Evangelists

Posted by Tony on February 5th, 2013

As we enter the second month of 2013, people are trying to keep up healthy habits and start the year off feeling good. Unfortunately, the flu and other health issues are making it more difficult this year. This makes understanding your indoor environment (and the air you breathe) even more important.

Our picks for this month’s Air Quality Evangelists all focus on the importance of your indoor environment and what your family can do to avoid health problems that originate there. Check out our favorite blog posts this month to learn what you can do to stay healthy! Read More About Our January Air Quality Evangelists!

Phthalates: The Indoor Air Pollutants in Everyday Products

Posted by Kylie on February 1st, 2013

Until very recently, phthalates (pronounced “THAL-ates” ) haven’t gotten a lot of coverage. Since they’ve been linked to a number of health issues, it’s a good idea to take a look at some of the common sources of this hidden danger.

The bad news is that list of dangers is pretty long. Phthalates, which are chemicals added to plastics to improve their durability, can be found in literally hundreds of products, many of which are found in most American homes.

Read more to find out sources of phthalates in your home.

January is National Radon Action Month – Get Involved!

Posted by Kylie on January 23rd, 2013

Radon can enter the home through a cracked floor or foundation. January has been designated National Radon Action Month by the Environmental Protection Agency to raise awareness and protect families against the dangers of radon. With more deaths from this colorless, odorless gas than from drunk driving, it’s wise to take some time to learn more about it and take action to lower your family’s exposure in the home.

Read on to learn more about radon and how to remove it from your home.

Flu Prevention Tips to Keep You Healthy for the 2013 Flu Season

Posted by Ivey on January 18th, 2013

Needle Inserted into Vaccine This flu season is shaping up to be one of the roughest in recent years. During a recent CDC Press Briefing on the rapid spread of influenza virus strains in the U.S., CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden pointed out that 47 states are currently reporting “widespread geographic influenza activity.” Additionally, Dr. Richard Besser, ABC Chief Health and Medical Director, warned in an interview that although flu activity seems to be decreasing in some states that were hit early on, such as those in the southern U.S., we could still be facing up to six more weeks of flu season. It’s no wonder that people are taking this year’s flu season seriously.

Beyond flu vaccinations, regular hand-washing, covering your cough and sneeze, and staying home when you feel sick, there are other flu prevention methods to give you the best chance of avoiding the illness this season.
Read on for our flu prevention tips.

Choosing Healthier Candles and Incense

Posted by Kylie on January 17th, 2013

Candles 1 Many people love burning candles and incense in their homes for the scent and atmosphere they create. Unfortunately, research shows that this isn’t the healthiest practice for your indoor air. According to a recent environmental study, candles and incense give off a high level
of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), damaging indoor air quality. This is due to the ingredients in many of them, particularly petroleum and fragrance.

Fortunately, there are less harmful ways to replace your habit of burning candles and incense—in fact, you can even improve your indoor air with some of these healthier alternatives!

Read on for healthy alternatives to candles and incense.

Gift Ideas for Healthy Homes from Sylvane!

Posted by Tony on December 18th, 2012

Still doing last-minute Christmas shopping? Home products are often overlooked as gifts but can make great ideas for friends and family members. From space heaters to humidifiers, customers have written us about various products they’ve given or received as gifts. These products are useful and make life easier at home. Let’s look at what customers have to say about Sylvane products they’ve received as gifts:

Crane Adorable Humidifiers: In addition to their cute animal designs, these humidifiers also provide cold mist to dry air and can help soothe stuffy noses, itchy throats, and other cold symptoms. These features make them popular in children’s rooms. Designs include a pig, tiger, cow, frog, and more!

  • As a Gift: “We received Penelope the Pig as a baby gift. We use it to help my daughter breathe easier at night now that temperatures are dropping. It’s really easy to use and a breeze to keep clean. Looks super cute in her nursery too!” -Ashley, Sylvane team member See what other Sylvane customers say about their product gifts!

Is Your Furnace Polluting Your Indoor Air?

Posted by Kylie on December 12th, 2012

Eco-friendly heating options.Although it took a while to feel like winter in many parts of the country, there’s no doubt that cold weather has arrived. As we start turning on our furnaces and space heaters, there are a few things to keep in mind. An overload of dust can be dispersed by running your furnace, especially for the first time. Help keep your air clean and fresh (and lower your risk of feeling bad around the holidays) by completing a few small tasks around your house.

When you turn on your furnace for the first time each year, you might notice a “burnt dust” smell in the air—I know I did! During warmer months, your heating ducts accumulate a lot of dust and other allergens. When it’s time to turn it back on, your home is flooded with all that has accumulated over the last year, which can lead to allergies and other respiratory issues.

It may not seem like a huge deal, but the dust and other particles floating around can also compromise your immune system. If your body is busy fighting off the impurities in your air, you’re more vulnerable to other infections like the common cold or flu.

Fortunately there are a couple of ways you can diminish this problem:

  • Use air filters to catch the dust and debris. Clean permanent filters and use HEPA filters to catch as many unwanted allergens as possible.
  • Install eco friendly heaters that don’t spread as much dust and allergens into the air.
  • Have your heating ducts cleaned regularly, especially just before you fire them up for the year.
  • Use a humidifier if your air is dry. Dry air can irritate your sinuses and cause sore throats, so make sure your humidity is between 35% and 50%.

The best way to improve your indoor air while running your furnace or heater is to use all of these strategies. The bottom line is that it’s not the air that’s bad for you; it’s the dust and allergens that accumulate when your heater’s not in use. Be sure to have adequate filtration and cleaning processes, so you can enjoy a warm home without some of these nasty side effects.

I’ve been running my heat for more than two months now (I live in North Dakota)! When did you decide it was time to kick on the furnace?

Photo Credit: Fireplace by Travis Wiens on Flickr.