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Asthma

2 Important Cleaning Tips For Asthmatics

Some asthmatics have likened their respiratory conditions to having someone trapped in their chests, gripping their lungs and closing off their airways. Simply put, asthma makes it hard to breathe. Therefore, it’s wise for all asthmatics to take important precautions when it comes to keeping their airways free of irritants.

For many asthmatics, smoke is a major trigger for symptoms. Some have described the presence of smoke in their vicinities as “poison” that has a “severe choking effect”. Naturally, asthmatics generally stay clear away from smoke as well as other irritants such as dust, pollen and pet dander. And this makes many an asthmatic a neat freak.

But did you know that the very act of cleaning the home can present problems for asthmatics? Here are two important cleaning tips that will help:

1. Do away with harsh cleaning products.

Most of us are pretty used to opening up scented bottles of cleaning products so that our homes smell clean and fresh once we’ve completely our housecleaning chores. Those smells, however, are actually signs that there are harmful chemicals lingering in the air. Volatile organic compounds do favours for no one’s respiratory system. Asthmatics should stay away from them. On AllergicLiving.com, Jennifer Van Evra refers to such products as “chemical soups”.

“With their cheerful advertisements and colorful bottles, it’s easy to forget that many household cleaners are chemical soups that may set off respiratory and skin reactions in people who are sensitive,” she writes, “But not only are they triggers, Massachusetts research scientist Anila Bello says they can actually cause new sensitivities to form.”

Evra goes on to point out that Bello has even helped Boston-area hospitals to use safer cleaning products after their nurses complained of respiratory issues after entering rooms that had just been cleaned.

2. Make cleaning up after your pet a non-existent chore.

Sometimes the best way to clean is not to have to clean at all. And, in the case of pet dander, that’s especially true. It can be hard for an asthma sufferer who is also an animal lover. But the fact that dog and cat fur can trigger breathing trouble makes it so that being a pet owner isn’t always a good idea. On EverydayHealth.com, Elizabeth Shimer Bowers suggests that asthmatics think twice before bringing a dog or cat home.

“Pet dander is one of the most problematic triggers when it comes to allergic asthma symptoms,” she informs, “it’s the proteins in a pet’s dander, saliva, and urine that aggravate asthma symptoms.”

She goes on to quote Ohio-based allergist, Dr. Princess Ogbogu, who notes that “When people with asthma inhale (pet dander) particles, this can really set off an asthma attack… If you do choose to have a pet…limit your exposure to the animal by keeping it out of your bedroom.”

Of course, there are many other cleaning tips that asthmatics should consider. De-cluttering the home to minimize dust accumulation and keeping smokers out of the home are just two more. However, at DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we highly recommend having the indoor air quality of your home tested.

For more information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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The Importance Of Vacuuming To Promote Optimum Health

There is a growing trend emerging in homes all across Canada. And that is to rip up carpets and have them replaced with hardwood floors. The commonplace thinking behind this trend is that hardwood floors provide more desirable and even sophisticated appearances to living spaces. Further to that, homeowners feel that hardwood floors increase the value of their homes.

And there are those who believe that hardwood floors are easier to keep clean than carpets. This is especially true in the event of spills. These people wouldn’t be wrong. In fact, the concept of cleanliness is one that speaks to a larger issue: the health of Canadians nationwide. It can be stated with confidence that the less carpet you have in your home, the more likely you will be to avoid numerous health concerns. Sufferers of asthma and other allergies know this all too well. Simply put, carpet is a breeding ground for allergens and other allergy-triggering irritants.

“When you vacuum, you’re not simply cleaning your house or apartment for appearance’s sake, you’re also safeguarding the health of yourself and your family,” insists Jason Roberts on VacuumsGuide.com, “There are dozens of tiny microbes constantly floating around, which can cause a lot of problems for people with asthma and inhalant-related allergies such as hay fever. Dust mites, bacteria, and mould attack an asthma sufferer’s respiratory system, making them wheeze, have difficulty breathing, and cough violently at night.”

Roberts also provides an infographic that offers up ten different reasons why we should all be vacuuming our homes at least once a week. Topping the list is the fact that we all shed millions of skin cells by the hour. They accumulate in our carpets and rugs, creating environments that are rife with dangerous microorganisms.

Because of this, experts often recommend taking vacuuming practices a step further. On FullHouseCS.ca, A.J. Pipkin discusses the importance of installing a quality HEPA filter in your vacuum cleaner. “Dirt, hair and dust particles can trigger the onset of allergy symptoms if there is a large amount of dust mites in your home carpets or in the air,” he points out, “Not vacuum cleaning regularly will cause those in your home to be unprotected from allergies and asthma symptoms.”

Regular vacuuming is an even more essential requirement for smokers. It’s important to note that the reality of “thirdhand smoke” can impact the health of non-smokers who enter environments where a smoker had previously lit up. Roberts’ infographic reveals that carcinogens and other substances from cigarettes can “impregnate” carpets, rugs and upholstery. This has the ability to increase the risk of cancer in both children and pets.

And, by the way, it’s time to do away with the so-called “five second rule” that many people practice towards dropped food. When people drop food on the floor, it should be recognized as immediately contaminated. The infographic explains that our floors carry Salmonella, E-coli and other viruses that have the potential to wreak havoc on our digestive systems. This provides all the more reason to regularly vacuum our floors, regardless if they are carpeted or not.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know the importance of keeping a clean home. Our Air Quality Services focus on problem areas that may be presenting health hazards to your family and other visitors to the home. For more information on how we can help you to live in a healthier environment, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Winning The Battle Against Dust Mites With Regular Bed Sheet Washing

How often do you think you should wash your bed sheets?

Some people wash their bed sheets once a week. Some decide to throw them in the washer every other week. And some even think that once a month will suffice. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we highly recommend the weekly routine. As Marisa Ramiccio puts it on SymptomFind.com, “if you’re washing your sheets only once a month, that’s not going to cut it. Your sheets need to be washed at least every other week, but weekly is ideal.”

Why is it so important to wash your bed sheets at least once a week?

Let’s consider how often you sleep and what you leave behind when you sleep. On average, you’re in your bed approximately eight hours each night – that is, of course, if you’re getting the recommended amount of sleep for optimum health. Let’s suppose that you’re in your clothes for approximately the same amount of time each day. Usually, you’ll put them in the wash after one wear, right?

When you sleep, you leave behind hair, oil, sweat, bodily fluids and even food crumbs (for those in-the-bed snackers). We also leave behind a bunch of dead skin cells. And, as far as dust mites are concerned, this means you’ve left behind a scrumptious buffet meal! Your body sheds about a million skin cells a day. So, as you can imagine, this attracts a lot of dust mites who practically live in your bed.

What are dust mites?

Dust mites are microscopic bugs that aren’t visible to the naked eye. As Ramiccio explains, “these little things live, die and reproduce in the same bed sheets that you sleep in. The only way to keep these creatures under control is to wash your bed sheets on a regular basis. Otherwise, you may develop an allergy, or even a lowered immune system.”

On AllergicLiving.com, Dory Cerny goes into greater detail about these “cousins to the spider”. She explains that “they spend their two to four months of life eating, creating waste and reproducing. A female will lay 100 eggs in her lifetime, and each mite produces about 10 to 20 waste pellets a day…Mites eat minuscule flakes of human skin and animal dander. They can’t drink, but absorb moisture from the atmosphere.”

So how do dust mites impact our health?

The waste produced by dust mites is a known allergen that triggers asthma attacks. Because dust mites thrive on warmth and moisture, your mattress and bed sheets are often sought out as their ideal homes. The skin flakes and other above mentioned things that we all leave in our beds are consumed by dust mites, giving them more opportunities to leave behind allergy-triggering waste products.

“An average mattress contains between 100,000 and 10 million bugs,” informs Cerny, “A study in 2000 found that more than 45 per cent of American homes had detectable dust mite levels associated with the development of allergies, and 23 per cent had bedding with concentrations of allergen high enough to trigger asthma attacks.” This is why regular bed sheet washing is so important. Washing your sheets in hot water on a weekly basis is the best way to win the battle against dust mites.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we strongly promote the need for Canadians to live in healthy homes. This is why we’re so proud to offer Air Quality Services that work to eliminate health hazards from the air we breathe. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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3 Harmful Substances In Our Household Cleaning Products

Who doesn’t like a clean and tidy, fresh-smelling home? Most of us, we’d think, relish the idea of walking into our homes with everything in their proper places, having no dust to look at and enjoying the smell of a fresh summer day. Oh, those pleasant smells! Too often, they have us thinking our homes are clean and safe to inhabit. And that’s why cleaning product manufacturers go to great lengths to add fragrances to cleaning products.

But are scented cleaning products good for our health? Overwhelming evidence insists that they are not. And that’s because they contain an array of harmful substances.

What are those substances and how do they impact our health? Here are three to watch out for:

1. Phthalates. These are commonly found in many of our fragrance-enriched cleaning products such as dish soap, air fresheners and even toilet paper. As Jessie Sholl explains on ExperienceLife.com, the word “phthalates” doesn’t appear on product labels due to proprietary laws. Therefore, it’s important to look out for the word “fragrance” instead. It’s a sign that phthalates are present.

“Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors,” explains Sholl, “Although exposure to phthalates mainly occurs through inhalation, it can also happen through skin contact with scented soaps, which is a significant problem…Unlike the digestive system, the skin has no safeguards against toxins. Absorbed chemicals go straight to organs.” It is highly recommended that you opt for fragrance-free or all-natural organic products to clean your home.

2. Ammonia. Ammonia is a more commonly known cleaning substance, but it’s a powerful irritant. It’s especially hazardous to sufferers of asthma and other respiratory diseases. Nevertheless, the chemical is found in numerous polishing agents for bathroom fixtures, sinks and jewellery. It’s also found in glass, floor and oven cleaners.

According to Dr. Edward Group on GlobalHealingCenter.com, if a product is at least 5 percent ammonia, it must be labelled as poisonous. He notes that studies have confirmed that ammonia can irritate, burn and even damage the eyes and skin. “Ammonia is irritating to the respiratory tract and causes coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath,” he explains, “Higher exposure can cause pulmonary edema, a life-threatening issue.”

3. 2-Butoxyethanol. The sweet smell that emanates from window cleaners is thanks to a chemical known as 2-Butoxyethanol. And just like phthalates, law does not require it to be listed on a product’s label. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Especially when you consider that the Environmental Protection Agency has found that 2-Butoxyethanol can cause sore throats, narcosis, pulmonary edema and severe liver and kidney damage, reveals Sholl.

Safer options for cleaning mirrors and windows are diluted vinegar. “For other kitchen tasks, stick to simple cleaning compounds like Bon Ami powder; it’s made from natural ingredients like ground feldspar and baking soda without the added bleach or fragrances found in most commercial cleansers,” Sholl suggests, “You can also make your own formulas with baking soda, vinegar and essential oils.”

As you may have guessed, we’re only scratching the surface here. There is a long list of harmful substances that are found in many of our household cleaning products. Every time we clean our homes with them, we’re doing our health a disservice.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re committed to helping our clients enjoy safe air to breathe in their homes. Our Air Quality Services are designed to locate any areas of concern in your home that may be presenting reasons for poor indoor air quality. Allow us to help you eliminate them!

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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3 Ways To Minimize A Dust Mite Infestation In Your Home

Stop Dust Mite - Red Sign Painted - Open Hand Raised, Isolated on White BackgroundWarning: this is going to sound a bit gross. But when you lay your head down on your pillow to go to bed each night, you’re not exactly alone. Your pillow, in all likelihood, is home to millions of dust mites. And while they are so microscopic they cannot be seen by the naked eye, they remain health hazards for those with asthma and allergies. Now don’t worry – dust mites do not bite, sting or enter our bodies.

Instead, it is their feces and body fragments that present harmful allergens. They love to feed on our dead skin and, as a result, they exist practically everywhere our dead skin may fall. As you may have guessed, they tend to really enjoy our beds considering how often we’re in them and the fact they generally provide warmth. Dust mites thrive on heat and humidity and this is why special attention should be paid to reducing the number that live in your home this summer.

So how can you minimize a dust mite infestation in your home? Here are three ways:

1. Wash your pillows often. Most of us wash our bed linens on a regular basis and naturally, that includes pillow cases. But did you know that you should be washing your pillows as well? Angela Mulholland of CTV News advises us to throw our pillows into the laundry at least two or three times a year in order to remove dust, sweat and saliva stains. If you’re an allergy sufferer, you should wash your pillows more often than that.

“There are lots of guides on washing pillows,” informs Mulholland, “but essentially, a little detergent and Borax to neutralize sweat smells is all you need. Almost all pillows except foam ones can go in the wash. Just be sure they are fully dried to eliminate all leftover moisture. Since foam pellet and solid foam pillows cannot go in the dryer, they should be regularly vacuumed or periodically replaced.”

2. Remove carpets and/or become a “vacuumaholic”. Many Canadians have replaced their carpets for hardware floors to give their homes more aesthetically pleasing looks. But they’ve also done their health a favour by getting rid of these havens for dust mites. If you choose to keep carpet in certain rooms of your home, be sure to vacuum as regularly as you can. Removing dust from your living environment is essential for keeping dust mites at bay.

The Canada Safety Council recommends that you buy a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter. “Ordinary vacuuming will only send dust mites and their particles into the air,” they report, “It’s not clear how much a HEPA filter actually helps with allergies, but it’s worth trying. Ideally, if you’re allergic, get someone else to vacuum and dust. Vacuum bags should be changed often, since mites and debris can get out.”

3. Try vapour steam-cleaning. Not many people have heard about this technique, but it is one that can definitely help with the dust mite issue in your home. You see, not all of your bedding can be thrown in the laundry. Take your mattress, for example. As revealed on Gaiam.com, in her book, Home Enlightenment: Create a Nurturing, Healthy, and Toxin-Free Home, Annie B. Bond suggests vapour steam-cleaning as a dust mite removal option.

“Vapour steam-cleaning (using a small machine that heats surfaces with dry steam) kills fungus, dust mites, bacteria, and other undesirables,” she writes, “This is a good way to clean bedding that you can’t launder, such as mattresses. Vapour contains only 5 to 6 percent water (conversely, most steam cleaners use lots of warm water to clean), so the vapour steam doesn’t contribute to a moist environment. Vapour steam deeply penetrates whatever it is cleaning, and it is great for upholstery, couches, carpets, and mattresses.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is for Canadians to live in homes that promote good health. Eliminating health hazards from the air we breathe is the primary objective of our Air Quality Services. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Keeping Asthma Symptoms At Bay During The Summer

Depositphotos_69019997_s-2015Indoor air quality is a year-round concern. After all, we spend the majority of our time in our homes. So when you consider that the majority of the air that we breathe is located within our homes, it highlights the importance of taking measures to keep air quality high. This is especially true for asthmatics. Difficulties with breathing are only exacerbated by poor air conditions. And during the summer, air conditions only stand to get poorer.

Humidity is largely at fault for that. The more humid it gets, the harder it is for most asthmatics to breathe. Known as a common trigger for asthma, humidity is a reason that some sufferers stay indoors during the summer. “Stay indoors on hot, humid days,” recommends Madeline Vann on EverydayHealth.com, “If going out into the sauna-like summer is too much for your asthma, stay inside with the air conditioning on, especially during the heat of the day.”

What if you can’t be indoors during a humid day? No matter how hot and humid it gets outside, there are bound to be reasons why an asthmatic can’t lock him/herself up in the house all day. Since nothing can be done about the weather outside, it’s important to control how humid it gets inside. Vann writes that asthmatics should ensure that the humidity in their homes is kept low.

“Even if you can’t control the weather, you can control your home environment,” she reminds us, “Set your indoor humidity to 50 percent or lower to cut down on dust mites, mould, and humidity-related allergens that grow in warm, moist environments.” Speaking of moist environments, precautions should be taken when considering a dip in the pool. For asthmatics, wet surfaces that present havens for mould-growth can become health hazards.

How do swimming pools trigger asthma symptoms? Chemicals in the chlorinated water can present problems. This is especially true for indoor pools. According to the Asthma Society of Canada, asthmatics should opt for outdoor swimming. “Chlorinated swimming pools can also adversely affect people with asthma who are sensitive to the irritant chemicals,” says their website, “Outdoor pools are less likely to cause symptoms because there is better ventilation.”

Vann agrees that asthmatic swimmers should be careful during the summer. “Swimming is a recommended exercise for asthmatics, and in the summer it reduces your chances of becoming overheated,” she admits, “However, some people find that their summer asthma symptoms are triggered by the chlorine added to most pools for water safety. If chlorine triggers symptoms in you, find another activity or exercise program, such as an indoor fitness class.”

What other asthma symptom triggers should be watched out for during the summer? Tree and grass pollens, ragweed, dust, cigarette smoke and other airborne allergens should all be avoided. Of course, many are found outdoors and but some can be found indoors as well. This is why it’s important to both maintain a clean house and beware of the outdoor humidity levels – among other healthful tasks – on a daily basis.

Summer can still be a fun season for asthma sufferers. If you’re an asthmatic and would like some assistance in maintaining a home that is void of asthma symptom triggers, contact DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. Our Air Quality Services are designed to help you enjoy the best possible indoor air quality all year round! For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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The Impact Of Indoor Air Quality On Asthma

Asthma Symptoms Word Circle Concept with great terms such as coughing, wheezing and more.Those who suffer with asthma never take their breathing for granted. Most of us go through each day not even paying attention to the fact that we are continually inhaling and exhaling – no matter where we are. Asthmatics, on the other hand, know that the quality of the air they breathe is of paramount importance. Avoiding asthma symptom triggers is part of their everyday lives – and so many of those triggers can be avoided by paying close attention to indoor air quality.

What asthma symptom triggers are most often associated with indoor air quality?

Humidity. When we are at home, we have the ability to determine just how humid it is. The more humidity that exists, the more an asthmatic is susceptible to succumbing to the symptoms of his/her disease. The presence of excess moisture is a sign that it’s too humid. And moisture allows for the growth of mould and mildew – two contaminants of the air that can make breathing harder for those with asthma.

“Keeping the humidity in the air in your home between 30 and 50 percent can help asthma symptoms,” says Dr. Farrokh Sohrabi on EverydayHealth.com, “Any higher, and dust mites thrive. Mold also grows in high humidity. If your home is damp and humid, clean with fungicides and use a dehumidifier, an air filtration system, or central air conditioning. On the other hand, if the air is too dry, your respiratory tract reacts.”

Dust. It’s highly recommended that asthmatics are neat freaks. Keeping a dust-free home is a great way to improve its indoor air quality and minimize the amount of asthma symptom triggers that exist within it. The presence of dust indicates the presence of dust mites – microscopic creatures known for feeding on the flakes of dead skin that we leave behind. Their feces contain enzymes that are major contributors to the symptoms experienced by asthmatics.

Dr. Sohrabi offers tips to diminish the amount dust mites that are commonly found where we sleep. “One of the easiest and fastest steps you can take to keep these tiny insects under control is to cover bedding with mite-proof barriers, zippered covers in which you encase your mattress and pillows,” he suggests, “Then wash all your linens at least once a week in hot water — 150 degrees; anything less won’t kill the critters.”

Smoke. It shouldn’t be necessary to inform you that cigarette smoking is probably the worst thing you could possibly do if you’re an asthmatic. There are asthmatics out there who couldn’t smoke if they were paid a million dollars to do it. The smoke is simply too unbearable to inhale. However, smoke of any kind is a trigger for most asthmatic symptoms. So you’ll want to keep your home smoke-free if you want to avoid an attack.

“You probably know you shouldn’t smoke or let people light up inside your house, but smoke from a wood stove or fireplace could cause you just as much trouble,” says Dr. Sohrabi, “Hot, dry air tends to trigger asthma. On top of that, wood stoves emit volatile organic acids that cause even more drying…Keep in mind that smoke from cooking can also trigger asthma, so run the exhaust fan to clear out kitchen fumes.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that greatly assist with limiting the asthma symptom triggers that may exist in your home. We consider ourselves indoor air quality experts given our long standing history of being able to locate any and all sources of air contaminants in the properties we inspect. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Eliminating The Risks of Thirdhand Smoke

Cigarette butt with ash, isolatedBy today’s standards, exclaiming that smoking cigarettes is harmful to your health is met with a “tell me something I don’t know” response. It’s actually hard to imagine that, not too long ago, researchers were tirelessly working to prove that such was the case. Today, we’re very well aware that both cigarette smoke and the secondhand smoke breathed in by surrounding non-smokers can cause cancer, among many other health issues.

But what is thirdhand smoke? A relatively new concept, thirdhand smoke refers to the smoke that lingers long after the actual cigarette smoking has been completed. You know that smell that persists within our clothes, hair, furniture and pretty much anything else that the smoke comes into contact with? That thirdhand smoke can be responsible for such health issues as asthma attacks and allergic reactions.

As reported by Susan Brink of National Geographic, “researchers now know that residual tobacco smoke, dubbed thirdhand smoke, combines with indoor pollutants such as ozone and nitrous acid to create new compounds. Thirdhand smoke mixes and settles with dust, drifts down to carpeting and furniture surfaces, and makes its way deep into the porous material in paneling and drywall.”

How can thirdhand smoke affects us? Brink writes when the after effects of smoke linger in the hair, skin, clothing and fingernails of a smoker, it can come into contact with those surrounding that person. “The new compounds are difficult to clean up, have a long life of their own, and many may be carcinogenic,” she informs us, “One of those compounds, a tobacco-specific nitrosamine known as NNA, damages DNA and could potentially cause cancer.”

Is thirdhand smoke really that dangerous? According to a CTV News report, studies have found that thirdhand smoke can be just has harmful as secondhand smoke. Thirdhand smoke accumulates on surfaces throughout the home and attaches itself to dust, which can progressively become more toxic over time. Not only does thirdhand smoke produce long-lasting foul odours, but it significantly worsens indoor air quality.

CTV News points to a University of California study that observed the effects of thirdhand smoke on mice. “For six months, the mice lived in ventilated cages containing materials that had been exposed to second-hand smoke,” they explain, “Manuela Martins-Green, a professor of cell biology who led the study, says at the end of the six months, her team found significant damage in the mice’s livers and lungs, such as higher fat levels in their livers.”

How can we get rid of thirdhand smoke? A thorough cleanup of your home will certainly help. Brink quotes Bo Hang, a scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California as saying that such remedies as repainting rooms, replacing carpets and cleaning up ventilation systems may be in order to remove the harmful effects of thirdhand smoke from a home. And naturally, no indoor smoking should be made a strict rule.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are well aware of the harmful effects of cigarette smoking. In fact, there is nothing worse that a person can do for his/her indoor air quality than to smoke inside the home. Our Air Quality Services work to detect all sources of indoor contaminants in an effort to improve your indoor air quality. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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3 More Ways To Make Cold Weather Breathing A Breeze

Side portrait of a beautiful healthy young woman breathing fresh air with her arms raised and outstretched up while in the snowed mountains during a winter snow day, outdoors.In our last blog, we revisited the topic of indoor air quality during the wintertime. Whether we like it or not, the coldest months of the year are coming up! And, as a result, we should all be taking measures to ensure that our respiratory systems don’t suffer the consequences that often come with winter’s colder air. Taking precautions will be especially important for asthmatics. And while our last blog offered some very helpful tips, there are a few more to go around.

Here are three more ways to make cold weather breathing a breeze:

1. Eliminate or minimize gluten, dairy and sugar consumption. We’re going to wager a guess and say that most of you may be surprised to see this tip topping our list. It’s true, however, that what you eat can affect how you breathe. On Care2.com, Michelle Schoffro Cook explains that gluten-rich foods (that include those made with wheat, rye, oats and barley) often present problems for asthma sufferers.

As well, “dairy products like cheeses, butter, ice cream, milk, and cream are mucus-forming and can aggravate inflammation and respiratory conditions,” Cook informs us. She recommends dairy-free beverages like almond or coconut milk as alternatives. As well, she notes that asthma sufferers are also sensitive to sugars of all kinds. “If you have a sweet tooth, opt for a piece of fruit or sweeten your beverages or foods with natural stevia,” she advises.

2. Try herbal remedies when asthma symptoms arrive. Most asthmatics are used to steroid-based inhaler medicines such as Ventolin. In fact, they’re so popular that most people envision the blue L-shaped “puffer” when they think of someone taking asthma medication. While this medicine is commonly known to help asthma sufferers open up their airways, naturopath Mim Beim highly recommends some herbal remedies that are known to control and treat asthma symptoms.

“Herbs such as euphorbia and grindelia are well known by herbalists as broncho-dilating and anti-inflammatory,” she writes on BodyAndSoul.com, “Licorice is another much loved herb that can reduces spasm, and is gently demulcent, gentle on the mucous membrane that line the lungs. A steam vaporizer by the bedside is an excellent way to ease symptoms during the night, with the addition of some essential oils to boost the therapeutic value.”

3. Do away with scented candles and perfumes. It’s not unreasonable to want to fill our homes with sweet smells. It can be comforting to light candles that are made with perfumes. Sure, they usually smell great. But as Cook reminds us, the perfumes in these products contain lung irritants. “If you want a fresh-smelling home add orange rinds and cinnamon sticks to a pot of water and boil it on your stove for 10 to 15 minutes,” she recommends.

Cook also insists that we skip on the perfumes. “Perfumes can contain up to 400 different ingredients, 95% of which are chemicals used in the single ingredient ‘fragrance’ and are derived from petroleum products,” she writes, “Many of these ingredients cause coughing and aggravate respiratory conditions in addition to headaches, depression, and other symptoms. Switch to a natural essential oil-based product if you just can’t live without perfumes.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we completely understand the need to have a sweet smelling home. But we’re also aware that the best way to have such a home is to keep it clean and free of irritants to our respiratory systems. We also know that there may be issues that you’re not even aware of. This is where our Air Quality Services come in! We highly recommend them for the best possible indoor air quality this winter.

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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3 Ways To Breathe Easier This Winter

Profile of an explorer woman breathing fresh air in winter with a snowy mountain in the backgroundOver the past couple of weeks, our blog has been predominantly dedicated to finding ways to making breathing an easier task this winter. We often take breathing for granted, don’t we? Usually, we don’t even think about the fact that we’re doing it non-stop. For most asthmatics, however, easy breathing is a luxury not taken lightly. This is especially true during the harshly cold Canadian winters which can produce additional problems for those with asthma.

So how can those problems be avoided? Here are three ways to breathe easier this winter:

1. Build up your immune system. Many of us often forget that our bodies have the ability to heal themselves. That is to say, of course, that if we are giving our bodies fighting chances to stave off infections and viruses that are commonplace in the winter, we will be able to be a lot healthier. This involves eating healthfully and staying away from smoke of any kind. As naturopath, Mim Beim points out on BodyAndSoul.com, prevention is the best medicine.

“For many asthmatics, symptoms often rise after a cold or flu,” she informs us, “These respiratory infections cause added stress and inflammation to the respiratory tract that may snowball into an asthmatic reaction. The best treatment is prevention. Building up the immune system increases the potential to avoid the offending virus. Herbs and supplements that boost immunity include the old-fashioned remedy, cod liver oil (as well as) zinc and vitamin C.”

2. Do away with air fresheners. When winter arrives, it will be a lot less likely that Canadians will be keeping their windows open in order to allow fresh air into their homes. In its place, many will choose to spray their homes with air fresheners in an attempt to do away with stale and stagnant smells. Unfortunately, this does more to worsen indoor air quality than it does to “freshen” things up.

According to Michelle Schoffro Cook on Care2.com, we should eliminate air fresheners altogether. “The Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) conducted a study of ‘air fresheners,’ ‘air sanitizers,’ and other related products,” she reveals, “They found toxic ingredients like acetone, butane (yes, that’s lighter fluid), liquefied petroleum gas, propane, and formaldehyde (among many others), all of which are linked to respiratory problems.”

3. Step up your dusting and vacuuming game. Our blog has often provided incredibly helpful tips in the world of dusting and vacuuming. They may seem like mundane, simple-to-do tasks, but you may be surprised to know that we’re not all cleaning our homes as effectively as we should. Eliminating as much dust from the home all winter long will go a long way in helping you to breathe easier each day.

As Beim points out, asthma is often triggered by common allergens that are found in the home. “Common allergens include cigarette smoke, mould, pet dander, pollen and cockroach saliva,” she reminds us. It should go without saying that minimizing the presence of all the above from your home should top your to-do lists this coming winter. Diligent dusting and vacuuming to improve your indoor air quality will do quite the favour for your respiratory system.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’re very well aware that you can’t always be cleaning your home. As a result, dust and other allergens are bound to make their ways into your living space. With that said, there will be times when extra help will be necessary. We’re only too happy to provide Air Quality Services that work to improve your indoor air quality all year round!

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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