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Indoor Air Quality and Environmental Experts



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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Taking Precautions To Avoid Winter’s Asthma Triggers

Isolated on whiteFor the most part, we tend to take breathing for granted, don’t we? Generally, we don’t even think about doing it. However, our lungs and their natural capacity to work for us by inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide are absolutely necessary for everyday living. That goes without saying. Yet, there are many of us who can’t take breathing for granted. Asthmatics live life each day knowing that there are triggers that cause their disease to interrupt their normal breathing.

Asthma is one of the top reasons that DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. takes the issue of indoor air quality so seriously. Our many services work to find solutions to problems in homes and other properties that may be contributing to the triggers that impact asthma sufferers. And these triggers can be exacerbated during the winter. With the Canadian winters being as harsh as they are, it is always wise for asthmatics in our nation to take precautions when the season arrives.

“Winter can be beautiful with sights like sunshine sparkling off snow covered trees,” says the Asthma Society of Canada, “For those who enjoy winter sports this is a wonderful time, but for those with asthma triggered by cold air, it is a time for advance planning. Although cold air is a common asthma trigger, its effects can be anticipated and prevented from having an impact by taking a reliever medication 10-15 minutes prior to exposure.”

Outdoor precautions. As explained by HealthCommunities.com, “during the winter months, cold, dry air can tighten airways and worsen breathing.” If you’re an asthmatic, it’s important to be mindful of the precautions that can be taken when spending time outside in the cold. They include limiting or avoiding exercise outdoors, says the website. It also recommends that you wear scarves, turtlenecks or neck gaiters over your mouth and nose to warm up the air you breathe.

You’ll also want to be mindful of the outdoor areas you visit during the winter. The combination of pollutants and cold air can be especially harmful to those who suffer with asthma. The Asthma Society of Canada warns Canada’s numerous hockey players to bear this in mind. “Other triggers common to the winter season are hockey arenas where a combination of cold air, exhaust and vapours from the ice cleaning machines often trigger or aggravate asthma symptoms,” they report.

Indoor precautions. Of course, one of the easiest ways to avoid the asthma triggers that come with winter’s cold weather is to spend as much time indoors as possible. HealthCommunities.com points out, however, that there are precautions to take when you’re inside as well. As you may have expected, limiting dust through frequent dusting and vacuuming is always a wise choice. Vacuums with HEPA filters are highly recommended.

As well, it’s important to monitor the humidity levels of your indoor locations. “Ideally, you want to keep the humidity level in your home between 30 and 45 percent,” says HealthCommunities.com, “When humidity is too high, it can lead to the growth of dust mites, mould and mildew. Clean the humidifier regularly and replace the water daily as a preventative. If possible, use distilled or demineralized water in your humidifier.”

It is also recommended that you avoid down comforters and pillows and regularly wash your bedding in hot water above 130°F. It should probably go without saying that asthmatics should keep their homes smoke-free as well. That doesn’t just mean eliminating cigarette smoking, but also avoiding the use of fireplaces and even candles. Smoke can travel from room to room, even through closed doors, HealthCommunities.com remind us.

For more information on how the Air Quality Services provided by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. can help you avoid asthma triggers this winter, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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5 Ways To Minimize The Effects Of Pet Dander

Girl owner is grooming the fur of retriever puppy after showerIn our last blog, we pointed out an unfortunate truth about being a pet owner. In many cases, it can negatively impact your health to own an animal with feathers or fur. As we mentioned, it’s not the feathers or fur that’s the problem. It’s that these bodily coatings often carry allergens that eventually become airborne. As a result, the air that we breathe becomes affected. This is especially a problem for those with asthma and allergies.

According to the American Lung Association, “animals with fur may be more likely to carry allergens from other sources, like dust, but the fur itself is generally not a trigger. For that reason, short-haired or hairless animals contribute dander and allergens to indoor air pollution just as effectively as long-haired animals do. There is no such thing as a non-allergenic dog or cat.” So how can pet owners protect themselves?

Here are five ways to minimize the effects of pet dander:

1. Give away your pet. We’ve decided to list the most obvious solution first. However, we also recognize that it’s not one that most pet owners are likely to follow, no matter how bad their allergies may be. The American Lung Association notes, however, that “pet allergens may stay in the home for months after the pet is gone because the allergens remain in house dust. Allergy and asthma symptoms may take weeks or even months to improve.”

2. Become a consummate cleaner. Okay, so there’s no way you’re going to give up your familial bond with Fido or Fluffy. We get it. In that case, you’ll need to pay extra special attention to the cleaning routines of your home. As you may have guessed, removing pet dander will take a little bit of extra effort than your regular clean. FreeDrinkingWater.com advises that you regularly vacuum your carpets, furniture, and upholstery with HEPA filters.

3. Pay greater attention to personal hygiene. Pet owners – especially very loving and affectionate ones – need to be mindful of how often they come into contact with their pets. After every interaction, it’s wise to wash your hands thoroughly. FreeDrinkingWater.com also recommends that you wear gloves and a mask when you are grooming your pets. It’s also best to keep your pets out of your bedroom so that they are not impacting the area where you sleep.

4. Regularly change and wash bedding materials. To further the last point made, it’s important to consider just how much time you spend sleeping. There’s a lot of breathing going on at night. And you don’t want it impacted by pet dander. FreeDrinkingWater.com advises that you both wash your pets and their bedding often, but also try to use allergen-protecting bedding encasements for yourself.

5. Find love with a furless animal. To reiterate an earlier-made point, we know that it’s not easy parting with a beloved pet. But, in worst case scenarios when you are suffering severely from symptoms associated with pet dander, it is in your best interest to consider another type of pet. Perhaps, setting up a fish tank is in order? FreeDrinkingWater.com highly suggests that you “get pets without feathers or fur (such as fish), if possible.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we believe in providing our clients with the means to enjoy the purest indoor air quality possible. If you feel that pet dander may be negatively affecting your health, it’s important to locate all areas of the problem in your home. We offer Air Quality Services that provide such thorough inspections. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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Are Your Pets Affecting Your Health?

Cute gray kitten with owner on floor at homeAre you a pet owner? Many Canadians are. Dogs and cats are most popularly considered members of many families all across this great country of ours. Animal lovers make up a huge part of our population. According to Tracy Hanes of The Globe and Mail, “pet owners represent $6.5-billion a year business opportunity”. So, it should go without saying that pets are quite a big deal in Canada.

But can having a pet affect our health? It certainly depends on the types of allergies pet owners may have. This is because pet dander has the ability to impact the air that we breathe. As the American Lung Association explains it, “pet dander is composed of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, rodents, birds and other animals with fur or feathers. These bits of skin can cause reactions in people who are specifically allergic to these triggers.”

Are there other allergy triggers that come from our pets? Apparently, it isn’t just flecks of skin from our beloved animals that can affect the indoor air quality of our homes. The American Lung Association points out that “proteins found in saliva, urine and feces from cats, dogs and other pets can cause allergic reactions in some people.” And some animals happen to impact those with allergies worse than others.

Which animals tend to impact those with allergies the most? The American Lung Association points out that animals with fur are most likely to carry allergens, although the fur itself is not considered a trigger. They note, however, that “roughly twice as many people report allergies to cats when compared to dogs. Research also indicates that male cats produce less Fel d I allergen than female cats, although the reason is not clear.”

What is a pet allergen exactly? Similar to dust mites, pet allergens are microscopic in size. However, the American Lung Association notes that they tend to stay in the air for much longer periods of time. Their “jagged shape” allows them to “stick to furniture, bedding, fabrics and many items carried into and out of the home. Animal dander is easily spread through the home and out to public places like schools and hospitals.”

What are the symptoms of having allergies to pets? Unfortunately, they can be quite severe, in some cases. According to FreeDrinkingWater.com, “some of the symptoms to watch out for include coughing, dizziness, lethargy, fever, watery eyes, sneezing, shortness of breath, and digestive problems. The people most susceptible are children, older folks, and persons with general allergies or breathing problems and diseases.”

So what can be done to minimize pet dander-related allergies? The answer is not what an animal lover wants to hear. Unfortunately, the only surefire way to prevent such breathing issues is to not have pets. Either that, or stick with pets that don’t have any fur or feathers. “The best possible solution is the removal of pets (although it may take months to get rid of the effects of the lingering dander),” admits FreeDrinkingWater.com.

Is there an alternative way to get help? At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we are well aware that the majority of pet owners don’t have any plans of excluding their beloved pets from their families – even if they are presenting health issues. It is important, however, to have your home inspected for all sources that present indoor air quality issues. For more information about our Air Quality Services, call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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How Does Humidity Impact Indoor Air Quality?

The rising humidity rate level rising on a thermometer past 100 percent to tell you of danger or uncomfortable weather conditions in the hot summer heatFor a lot of Canadians, summer is a favourite time of the year. To many, nothing beats warm and sunny days, especially after what always seems to be a long and drawn-out winter. To many others, however, the summer isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. When the sun is shining and the air is warm, there is often humidity. And with humidity comes difficulty breathing for those with allergies and asthma.

Sure, we can remain indoors and crank up the A/C. But no one likes staying cooped inside all summer long. What’s the fun in that? It’s important, of course, to control the humidity of our living and working spaces. As Coolray.com informs us, “when the temperatures warm up outside you can experience too much humidity in your home.” So it’s important to find ways to lower the levels of humidity at home.

What’s wrong with humidity in the home? Well, first of all, it doesn’t make for a comfortable living environment. As Theo Etzel points out on ConditionedAir.com, “moist air feels clammy and sticky, and dry air leaves you reaching for hydration. So, your level of comfort is affected by humidity.” He goes on to note that having either too much or too little humidity can also affect the structural damage of your home.

But how does humidity in the home affect our health? Humidity can cause condensation. And this excess moisture in the home can allow for the development of mould. The presence of mould, as you may already know, can send spores into the air that is detrimental to our respiratory systems. This is especially a problem for asthmatics. Coolray.com notes that there are other health hazards to having too much humidity in the home.

“High humidity can be especially dangerous when combined with high temperatures, as it will disrupt the body’s ability to cool itself, which may lead to a heat stroke,” reports the website, “People with heart problems or asthma are advised to be extremely careful during such conditions. Drier air provides comfort at higher temperatures, so homeowners can raise the setting on their central air conditioners thereby reducing their energy use.”

So what can be done to lower the humidity in our homes? Ventilation is the first step. Etzel writes that when homes are “tightly constructed”, they tend to retain more heat and moisture. Therefore, ventilation is especially important in order to minimize humidity levels. “If a home does not have the proper mechanical ventilation, excess water vapour can move through walls and ceilings, causing wet insulation, peeling paint, and mould on walls and woodwork,” he says.

Etzel also strongly recommends that you check your air conditioners to ensure that they are in proper working order. In some cases, you may even want to invest in a whole-house dehumidifier. “It operates in tandem with your central air conditioner to reduce mould and mildew, improve indoor air quality, extend the life of your A/C and help control your energy bills,” he informs us.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we highly recommend that you take advantage of our Moisture Monitoring Services. We evaluate your property for moisture sources that may be causing the development of mould. Such sources may include envelop failures or leakage issues. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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