Sylvane.com » Indoor Health Matters


Why Flood Clean Up Is Important for Your Indoor Air

Posted by Tony on November 9th, 2012

Between Hurricane Sandy and a powerful “nor’easter” storm, the Northeast United States has had a rough couple of weeks. Some much needed sun is in the forecast for this weekend, but unfortunately, water damage doesn’t leave with the clouds.

In fact, water damage can do more than just ruin your favorite items; it can actually make the air in your home unhealthy. Failing to remove contaminated materials and reduce moisture in your home can present serious long-term health risks. It’s a breeding ground for viruses, bacteria, and mold.

When household items are wet for more than a day or two, they usually get moldy, collect germs, and become a hot-bed for bugs. So what you can you do? Here are a few tips to make sure your home is dry and safe to enter after flooding: Learn More Flood Clean Up Tips!

Mold: Evicting the Unwelcome Houseguest

Posted by Ivey on September 10th, 2012

Woman Cleaning MoldHave you noticed a strange pungent odor in your home lately? Perhaps you have been coughing, sneezing, or suffering from other allergy-related symptoms and can’t find the trigger? These can all be signs that your home has a mold problem. Before you condemn your home and call a demolition crew, here are a few tips for identifying a mold problem, treating it, and avoiding future issues.

Most mold experts agree that small amounts of mold are present in every home. However, large amounts of mold can cause hay fever symptoms and be particularly irritating to people with allergies, immune suppression, and asthma, according to the CDC.

Find out where to look for mold, how to remove it, and more

Resolve to Breathe Better Air This Year

Posted by Ivey on December 29th, 2010

New Year's Celebration and a ClockAs the year draws close, most of us are reflecting on the past year and assessing what we would like to change or improve in the upcoming year. Most of the time, these changes focus on ways to be healthier and improve your quality of life, like losing weight, quitting smoking, or going to the gym more often. Instead of making the same resolutions year after year, try something new for 2011—improving the quality of your indoor air!

According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), indoor pollution levels can be two to five times higher than pollution levels outdoors. This increase in indoor pollution levels is even more shocking when you consider that Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time doors. The good thing about indoor air quality is that it is absolutely within your ability to dramatically improve it. Find out how you can improve your home's indoor air quality

Do-It-Yourself Mold Removal

Posted by Ivey on August 12th, 2010

Removing Bathroom MoldOn August 2, NBC’s Today Show aired a great segment on finding and removing mold from your home with advice from the DIY Network’s John DeSilvia. In the segment, DeSilvia points out that summer time is peak season for mold growth, which can cause a variety of health issues including respiratory problems and allergy flare-ups.

Mold Test KitDeSilvia suggests looking for leaky pipes, condensation, and other wet or humid areas inside your home to determine if there is a mold problem. If you don’t see any potentially damp areas or actual mold but still think you may have a problem, consider purchasing a Mold Test Kit or a Toxic Mold Test Kit. Both of these do-it-yourself test kits will provide a comprehensive analysis of mold in your home. Plus, all the materials you will need and the lab fees are included in the cost of the kit.
Read more of John DeSilvia's DIY mold removal advice

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. Read more about green environmental health

Got Allergies? Photos of Home May Help Your Doctor

Posted by John on November 8th, 2008

I rarely watch television (I prefer online media), but when I do watch TV, one of my favorite shows is House M.D. Dr. House always considers all potential causes of illness, including environmental factors. In fact, in several episodes, the maverick diagnostician sends his interns to break into the homes of sick patients.

While I appreciate Dr. House’s efforts, I wouldn’t want a bunch of 20-somethings dressed in white coats breaking into my home! Thankfully, US News and World Report offers an alternative: take photos of your home to show your doctor. Read more about environmental photos and allergies

Is Your Office Literally Making You Sick?

Posted by John on November 6th, 2008

Forbes reports that your office may be making you sick – literally. From poor indoor air quality to unhealthy lighting, workspace woes can lead to chronic illness, stress, and depression. Read more about environmental illnesses at work

Indoor Air Quality and Asthma

Posted by John on November 2nd, 2008

If you have asthma, you should be familiar with all of your asthma triggers so that you can avoid them. Get tested for allergies if you haven’t already. Most asthmatics are sensitive to at least one common household allergen.

Indoor air quality is a major concern for people with asthma. If you can manage to avoid inhaling the particles that make you sick, then you’ll feel better. Read more about air quality and asthma

Mold Dangers in Mobile Homes

Posted by John on October 30th, 2008

Mold can invade any home, but mobile homes are at increased risk of mold problems.

Tom Riley discovered this after his family moved into a mobile home in Mississippi. Within six months of moving in, his family experienced respiratory problems, coughing, and laryngitis. At one point, his seven-year-old son collapsed in the hallway.

Riley then found mold dots sprinkled throughout the mobile home in the top of closets, according to the Clarion Ledger.

“With the mobile home industry, structure and installation is a problem. Builders are in a hurry; things get in a hurry. Who wants to step up to the plate and fix this? It will be expensive to fix. Medical issues are expensive. Environmental cleanup is expensive,” Riley said. Read more about mold in mobile homes

What is Relative Humidity?

Posted by John on September 27th, 2008

Keep your indoor relative humidity below 50 percent to avoid growth of mold and dust mites. That’s standard advice for allergy sufferers. But what exactly is relative humidity?

Relative humidity is a measurement of the amount of water vapor in the air expressed as a percentage of how much water vapor the air could hold. If relative humidity is 100 percent, for example, then it’s raining. Most people are comfortable with an indoor relative humidity of 45 to 50 percent. When relative humidity goes above 50 percent, the excess moisture in the air makes it easier for mold and dust mites to spread. Read more about relative humidity

Federal Agencies Hold First Healthy Homes Summit

Posted by John on September 23rd, 2008

Last week four federal agencies held their first Healthy Homes Summit in Baltimore. The goal of the summit was to promote the building of healthy homes free of lead, chemicals, mold, moisture, and pests.

“Health doesn’t happen in the hospital. It happens at home,” says Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Our goal isn’t to be Big Brother, but people are asking for advice and information.” Read more about the Healthy Homes Summit

2008 Fall Allergy Capitals

Posted by John on September 3rd, 2008

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has released its list of 2008 fall allergy capitals – the worst places to live during fall allergy season – based on pollen counts, number of allergy medications used per patient, and number of allergy specialists per patient.

Ragweed, the most common seasonal allergy trigger, peaks in September in most parts of the country. Mold allergy is also a problem during the fall. This year, more than 50 percent of the U.S. population lives in one of the top 100 Fall Allergy Capitals! Read more about fall allergies

Anxiety and Stress Make Allergies Worse

Posted by John on August 30th, 2008

Even a slight increase in stress and anxiety can substantially worsen allergic reactions to common allergens, according to a new study from Ohio State University. Anxiety and stress also cause the allergic reaction to last longer.

Anxiety can also trigger late phase reactions which appear hours after exposure to the allergen (typically the next day).

“What’s interesting about this is that it shows that being stressed can cause a person’s allergies to worsen the next day,” explains researcher Janice Kiecolt-Glaser. “This is clinically important for patients since most of what we do to treat allergies is to take antihistimines to control the symptoms – runny nose, watery, itchy eyes, and congestion.” Read more about anxiety and allergies

Heavy Rain Storms Set the Stage for a Fall Allergy Explosion

Posted by John on August 27th, 2008

Here in Georgia, it rained for five days straight because of Tropical Storm Fay. The aftermath of the storm is now moving up the East Coast, as Tropical Storm Gustav threatens to slam the Gulf Coast next week.

An abundance of rain this time of year is not a good sign for allergy sufferers. Heavy rain causes ragweed plants to grow much faster – and produce more pollen.

Ragweed allergies affect 10 to 20 percent of Americans, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). Ragweed pollen is a major nuisance to allergy sufferers because the plants are so widespread (they grow well even in urban areas) and because the pollen grains can travel so far. Ragweed pollen has been found 400 miles out to sea and two miles up in the atmosphere! Read more about fall allergies

Mold Allergy Treatment – Environmental Control

Posted by John on August 21st, 2008

I know all about mold allergy. During my first few years of grade school, it seemed like I always had a cold. My chronic cold turned out to be allergies, mold and grass pollen allergies in particular. After the diagnosis, I was given allergy medication and allergy shots (immunotherapy) – but back then, I never learned about the other effective method of treating mold allergies: Environmental control. If you can eliminate the source of mold in your environment, then your allergy symptoms will subside.

PR Newswire recently published a press release from Sylvane.com: Creating a Healthy Home Environment: Mold and Mildew Free.

Stephen Hong, President of Sylvane.com, explains, “The key to mold control is moisture control… Indoor mold is a major cause of sinus infections, allergies, and asthma attacks, not to mention structural damage to buildings, but if you control your home’s humidity, then mold doesn’t stand a chance.” Read more about how to combat mold allergy using environmental control