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!
Let’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
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
A 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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Space heaters provide quick and efficient heat to rooms, making them a great way to stay warm this winter without sky-high electric bills. But it can be tough to know which heater is best for you. Instead of wading through your countless options, here are our Top 5 Heaters for 2012:
Vornado TVH600 Touchstone Vortex Heater
The Vornado Touchstone TVH600 is one of the most advanced room heaters around. This lightweight, compact heater uses tornado-like Vortex technology to circulate warm air throughout entire rooms. Its thermostatic remote control accurately reads your room temperature while multiple modes and safety features show off its versatility. A digital touchscreen, programmable timer, and automatic temperature control make it an easy choice for customers looking to heat entire rooms.
View all of our Vornado Room Heaters!
Honeywell HZ-817 2 in 1 Whole Room Baseboard Heater
Recently rated a “Best Buy” by a leading consumer reporting magazine, this Honeywell baseboard heater features easy-to-use manual controls, an auto shutoff timer, and an Energy Smart mode. It’s considered 2 heaters in 1 since it offers a Heat Blast option for quick, directed heat and also a Convection mode that evenly disperses warm air across your entire room. It’s perfect for bedrooms and other quiet areas because it makes almost no noise while operating and takes up little floor space. See The Rest of Our Top 5 Space Heaters!
Each month we feature Air Quality Evangelists who offer helpful information to people regarding the importance of air quality. These Evangelists make clean air (and a healthy environment) a priority in their lives. We appreciate the information they provide, so let’s hear from November’s winners who discuss everything from allergies to reducing toxins in your home.
Scientific American Blog Network – Observations
If you haven’t heard of the Scientific American, then you’re one of the few. It’s read in print by nearly 4 million people a year and has long been a leading source for science, technology, and policy information.
Last July it launched the Scientific American Blog Network, which has quickly become the go-to hub for various editorial, community, and opinion blogs. Their wide range of topics include Energy & Sustainability, Health, Evolution, and Technology. “Observations” posts feature opinions and analysis from Scientific American editors.
Warmer weather is increasing pollen counts across the country, and this winning “Observations” post analyzes research about climate change and its influence on seasonal allergies. Research suggests allergy issues increase significantly with climate change and will only get worse moving forward. Allergy season will start earlier and affect a larger segment of the population, so review the findings and what they mean for you. Learn More About November's Air Quality Evangelists!
Since Americans across the country are spending most of their time indoors this winter, healthy indoor air is more important than ever. This morning the TODAY show mentioned 7 easy tips to improve the air quality in your home.
There are several easy, inexpensive ways to improve your indoor air quality—it can be anything from adding more fresh air to using air purifiers for multiple chemicals or large room humidifiers. Check out the video to hear their tips, and click the links below to see a few of our product offerings that may assist you this winter.
As they mention in the video, adding an air purifier with HEPA filtration is one of the easiest ways to remove unwanted particles and allergens from your home. We offer a number of HEPA air purifiers, so see if one is right for you. Get More Tips!