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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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2 Important Ways To Do Away With Dust Mites

The illustration of a prohibition sign for house dust mitesIf you were asked how many living organisms live in your home, what you say? Chances are that you would mention the members of your family or any other residents of your home. Clearly, the question is posed in a pretty specific way. So you would also likely include your pets, if you have any. The truth is, however, that you would never know the true answer to the question. And that’s because of dust mites!

Sure, there are other living organisms in your home. The odd fly or other insect is bound to make its way into your living space. Dust mites, on the other hand, exist in uncountable numbers. They are so tiny and basically invisible to the naked eye that you could never prevent them from being among your home’s inhabitants. So what’s the big deal, right? Well, the truth is that dust mites can impact the quality of your air.

They are known for being allergens, especially to asthmatics. Therefore, reducing the amount of dust in your home is incredibly important. Yes, regular vacuuming can help. But you’ll want to be sure to take some measures that can improve your home’s overall indoor air quality on a long-term basis. This is especially important if you have small children or elderly people in your home, as they are more susceptible to allergens.

Here are two important ways to do away with dust mites:

1. Give dust mites less places to live. Try to limit the number of places where dust often accumulates. As WebMD.com points out, this includes carpet, upholstered furniture, and heavy drapes that collect dust. “Avoid furniture covered with fabrics,” insists the website, “Use pillow and mattress covers made from a tight-weave fabric that keeps out dust and mites.” You’ll also want to remove rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting and opt for hardwood floors instead.

If you wish to include carpeting in your home, it’s best to use smaller rugs that you can easily wash. WebMD.com admits that this can be tough for some people to accept. “Talk with your family about this and about how this will affect family life,” the site recommends, “If you cannot or do not want to remove carpeting throughout the home, consider removing it only in the bedroom.”

2. Become a consummate cleaner. Dust mites are known to live in our bedding. Sounds gross, doesn’t it? They literally lie with us while we are asleep! Instead of grossing yourself out any further at the thought, be sure to wash all of your bedding and blankets at least once a week in hot water. MedicineNet.com recommends that you use water that is at least 130-140°F in order to kill dust mites.

As well, the site recommends that you use damp mops and rags to remove dust. It’s not enough to simply use a feather duster. That will only spread the dust around. “Never use a dry cloth since this just stirs up mite allergens,” insists MedicineNet.com. It’s also not enough to vacuum with a regular cleaner. “Use a vacuum cleaner with either a double-layered microfilter bag or a HEPA filter to trap allergens that pass through a vacuum’s exhaust,” advises the site.

The quality of the air in your home is incredibly important for some very obvious reasons. While dust mites can’t be seen by the naked eye, they can certainly have an impact on our health. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services to ensure that the air you are breathing is as pure as it can be. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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4 Household Cleaning Tips For Asthmatics

rear view of woman with yellow gloves in kitchen doing houseworkAsthmatics have it rough. The simple act of breathing – something most of us take for granted – can be an arduous task for those who suffer with asthma. Obviously, breathing air that is as pollutant-free as possible is important for everyone’s overall health. But, it goes without saying that asthmatics need to take special precautions to breathe the purest air possible. As a result, the indoor air quality of an asthmatic’s home is a top priority.

Most of us have some sort of cleaning regimen when it comes to the home. At least, on a weekly basis, we tend to do the laundry, vacuum the floors, scrub the bathrooms, dust the furniture and wipe down surfaces. Asthmatics, however, should follow some meticulous cleaning practices to ensure that they don’t leave room for triggers of their disease to get the better of them. Reducing the risk of asthma symptoms will play a huge role in their quest for better health.

Here are four household cleaning tips for asthmatics:

1. Keep a spotless kitchen. According to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, it’s important to ensure that your kitchen is immaculately clean. “Use an exhaust fan on a regular basis to remove cooking fumes and reduce moisture,” they insist, “Place garbage in a can with an insect-proof lid and empty trash daily. Store food—including pet food—in sealed containers, and discard moldy or out-of-date items.”

The AAAA & I also recommends that you mop the floor and wipe the cabinets, countertops backsplashes and appliances down at least once a week. Using a detergent and water solution is advised. As well, it’s important to limit moisture in the kitchen. Checking for plumbing leaks and wiping up all spills and condensation in the refrigerator area will help to ward off the development of mould – a known asthma trigger.

2. Eliminate dust from the bedroom. As we’ve blogged about before, dust mites are also known to trigger asthma symptoms. Significantly limiting their presence in your home will do a long way in keeping asthma attacks at bay. “Encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in dust-mite-proof covers,” advises the AAAA & I, “Wash sheets, pillowcases and blankets weekly in 130o F water. Remove, wash or cover comforters.”

They also suggest that you vacuum your carpets at least once a week with a cleaner that has a small-particle or HEPA filter. Don’t forget your area rugs, floor mats and curtains either. They should be washed seasonally, says the AAAA & I. As well, they recommend that you “keep windows closed and use air conditioning during pollen season”. And if you have mould to clean up, be sure to wear a protective mask while doing it.

3. Keep the bathroom dry. This is practically impossible considering what bathrooms are used for. But bear in mind that limiting moisture is a key component to keeping an asthmatic’s home as safe as possible. The AAAA & I advises that you always use your exhaust fans during showers and to towel dry the tub after it has been used. In addition, you should “clean or replace mouldy shower curtains and bathmats (and) quickly repair any leaks.”

4. Don’t ignore the basement. Basements are known for becoming overly cluttered areas. When people stop using things, they often stick them in the basement. Before you know it, it becomes a makeshift junkyard. This presents a breeding ground for dust accumulation and mould growth in the damper areas. The AAAA & I recommends that you always clean wearing gloves and a mask. As well, remove any water-damaged carpeting.

When all else fails, DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. is here to help! For more information on our Air Quality Services, Moisture Monitoring Services or Mould Assessment Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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5 Rules For Asthmatics To Improve Indoor Air Quality

Young woman breathing fresh air during the summerHaving asthma is no fun. This statement would certainly be a top contender in the “Understatement Of The Century” category. Asthma is a debilitating disease that restricts the lungs from taking in enough oxygen. Some asthmatics have described its symptoms as having their chests “squeezed” or airways “closed off”. Needless to say, purified air is a necessity in the life of an asthmatic.

For sufferers of asthma, indoor air quality is an incredibly important topic that literally belongs in the “matters of life and death” column of discussions. And while improving indoor air quality is important for all people, asthmatics are required to take special measures to ensure that the air they are breathing is as pollutant-free as possible. So what are the best ways for asthmatics to improve their indoor air quality?

Following these five rules would be very helpful:

1. Insist upon a smoke-free living environment. It should probably go without saying that no asthmatic should smoke cigarettes, or anything else for that matter. For many asthma sufferers, smoke is the number one trigger for an attack. They should also ensure that no one smokes around them or inside of their homes. For many asthmatics, the mere smell of cigarette smoke is enough to get them coughing.

2. Avoid pets. There are many dog and cat lovers out there who suffer with asthma. It is best, however, that they avoid being pet owners in order to improve the air quality of their homes. As Elizabeth Shimer Bowers writes on EverydayHealth.com, “pet dander is one of the most problematic triggers when it comes to allergic asthma symptoms — it’s the proteins in a pet’s dander, saliva, and urine that aggravate asthma symptoms.”

3. Pass on the scented products. Many of us get tricked into thinking that our homes are clean and fresh when they smell that way. However, scented products can trigger asthma symptoms. So, as nice as they smell, they should be avoided. “Wash and dry clothes with unscented laundry detergent, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets,” advises HealthyKids.org, “Use unscented or nonaerosol versions of household cleaning products and avoid scented candles or room fresheners.”

4. Become a neat freak. If you’re the type of person who keeps a messy home, you’re not doing your respiratory system any favours. The more clutter that exists in your home, the more opportunities you provide for dust to collect. “Think of books, knickknacks, and stuffed animals as collection areas for dust and other allergens that can trigger allergic asthma,” says Bowers, “These items are better kept out of your living space and stored in plastic bins.”

5. Do away with dust. In keeping with the previous rule, you’ll want to ensure that dust doesn’t accumulate in the other parts of the home where it is known to gather. That includes your bathroom exhaust fans. Be sure to vacuum them out regularly. As well, HealthyKids.org recommends that you “clean all air ducts in the house and change the filters in your furnace and/or air conditioning system regularly.”

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we know how important it is for you to live in a home where the indoor air quality is the best it can be. If you suffer from asthma, however, the quality of your home’s air couldn’t be a more important issue. We’re here to help! For more information on our Air Quality Servies, 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 For Optimum Indoor Air Quality

Close up a young man vacuuming at homeNeat freaks rejoice! You’ll be happy to know that there’s no harm in dusting and vacuuming. That is, of course, unless you are consistently using scented cleaning products which contain VOCs. As explained by Cambria Bold on ApartmentTherapy.com, “Volatile Organic Compounds (are) a variety of organic chemicals that are released as gases from certain solids or liquids. They’re widely found in household products, including paints and varnishes, cleaning and disinfecting supplies, building materials and furnishings.”

And while it’s important to choose your household cleaning products wisely, it’s just as important to use a strong vacuum. Believe it or not, your indoor air quality is not only significantly affected by what is sprayed in your home. You can’t always rely on smelling pollutants to know that they are there. Eliminating dust is incredibly important in maintaining the cleanest breathing air in your home and office possible.

This is why Bold highly recommends that you “invest in a very good vacuum with strong suction, rotating brushes, and a HEPA filter, which traps smaller particles and allergens that regular vacuums miss.” The presence of dust, as you might know, encourages an infestation of dust mites. And although they are so tiny, they practically can’t be seen by the naked eye, they are known to severely impact indoor air quality.

On CleanLink.com, Bob Croft explains that “dust generated inside the building includes soot, bacteria, allergens, paper dust, mould and dust mite droppings.” He goes on to explain that dust mite droppings along with spores, pollen and bacteria are some of the most common allergens found in our homes. They range in size from about 10 microns in diameter down to a micron, he explains, noting that standard paper vacuum cleaner bags don’t always filter them out.

What’s so bad about dust mites? Well, you may be happy to know that these tiny little creatures don’t bite or sting. However, their feces and body fragments (it’s already sounding gross, isn’t it?) are often found on our pillows, bed sheets and carpets. And they have been widely known to trigger respiratory problems. Because dust mites are nearly everywhere, it’s important to be very diligent with your vacuuming habits.

“They are a major cause of asthma and allergies; especially in vulnerable individuals, such as children and the elderly,” reports Environment, Health and Safety Online, “According to the American College of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology, approximately 10 percent of Americans exhibit allergic sensitivity to dust mites.” And because humans tend to shed dead skin daily, we continually feed these dust mites on a regular basis without even knowing it!

So what’s the best way to vacuum? According to Croft, “a vacuuming strategy designed to catch the dust before it migrates throughout the building, involving aggressive vacuuming of entry mats and the carpet near entrances (“cross-hatch” those areas), moderate vacuuming of traffic paths (probably nightly), and as/needed detail vacuuming (perhaps once or twice per week). Using a backpack vacuum allows janitors to easily reach corners, edges and under furniture.”

The importance of improving your indoor air quality cannot be understated. It goes without saying that we need to breathe to live. So it makes sense to take measures to ensure that the air that we are breathing is as clean as it can be, doesn’t it? At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., our Air Quality Services provide clients with the means to ensure the best indoor air quality possible. For more information, call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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The Importance Of Improving Air Quality For Asthmatics

World Asthma Day background.According to the Asthma Society of Canada, “every year, about 250 Canadians die from asthma. Most of these deaths, however, could have been prevented with proper education and management.” Defined as “chronic inflammatory disease of the airway”, asthma is most commonly associated with difficulty breathing. Most asthmatics describe the condition as one where their chests feel compressed as if someone were “squeezing” their lungs.

Symptoms include shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing and wheezing. Needless to say, the purity of breathing air is a major concern for an asthmatic. And while the Asthma Society of Canada notes that the cause of asthma is not known and there is no cure, there are many different triggers to the disease that should be avoided. And, as you may have guessed, they all impact that air that we breathe.

Dust mites. Described as “tiny, spider-like creatures that eat the skin particles humans shed”, dust mites are most often found in pillows, sheets, blankets, carpets, stuffed toys, sofas, mattresses and curtains. These regular elements of the home, therefore, should be regularly cleaned and/or laundered to minimize dust mite infestations. This is because “their body parts and droppings contain a substance that can cause inflammation of the airways in those who are allergic.”

Mould. Readers of our blog will not be surprised to learn that mould is an irritant to asthmatics. We’ve made many mentions of the fact that mould growth in the home significantly downgrades the quality of your breathing air. “When moulds reproduce, they release spores into the air that can trigger asthma episodes,” Asthma.ca reminds us, “People with asthma can come into contact with these spores both outside and inside. The air is never free of mould, but you can prevent growth by keeping your house clean and dry all year.”

Pollens. Going outside for some fresh air isn’t always necessarily the best course of action for an asthmatic. Many sufferers complain that they aren’t “outdoorsy” due to the fact that elements of nature trigger the symptoms of their disease. “Pollens are common allergens,” Asthma.ca informs, noting that they can certainly trigger asthma attacks. Pollens produced by trees, grass and weeds are carried by the wind on hot and windy days, says the site.

Air Pollutants. Another reason that going outside isn’t always the best asthma remedy is because of all of the man-made pollutants that exist in our world. Between vehicle exhaust fumes and smog, there are many outdoor triggers to asthma attacks. “The particles in the air along with ozone, cause lung damage and breathing problems in people with asthma,” says the Asthma Society of Canada, “Where possible, avoid going outdoors on days that have poor air-quality indexes.”

Smoke. It probably goes without saying that cigarette smoke is an automatic no-no for asthmatics. In fact, many complain that, among all triggers, it’s the worst for them to be around. “Even secondhand smoke can be a trigger,” says Asthma.ca. This makes it especially important for parents of asthma sufferers to keep their children as far away from any smoke of any kind as much as possible.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Inc., we consider our Air Quality Services highly important for those who suffer from asthma. The purity of your breathing air is of major importance. Taking steps to improve your indoor air quality should be a top-of-your-list task each and every day. For more information on how we can help, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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