We’re pleased to guest blog today for Lauren’s Hope. Our company, Molekule, was born because a father wanted to help relieve his son’s asthma, which was often triggered by pollutants in the air. He was frustrated by the other air purifiers on the market, and decided to invent another solution. That’s why at Molekule, we’re passionate about air quality and want to bring clean air to everyone. If you have allergies and asthma, we especially want to reach out to you about ways you can improve your indoor air quality.
From August 1 – August 27, 2017, enter daily for your chance to win $1850+ in prizes, including a Molekule Air Purifier, during the Lauren’s Hope Big Birthday Basket Giveaway!
We realize that many people may not know this startling fact: indoor air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Allergens like dust, pollen, and mold can aggravate allergies and asthma in ways that can cause great discomfort or episodes and also inhibit daily activities. There are various reasons why pollutants in the air can make your allergies or asthma worse. However, there are also ways to deal with the problem of indoor air pollution that will make breathing indoors much easier.
Let us first explore the common allergy and asthma triggers.
Common Allergens and Asthma Triggers
When a person has allergies, his or her immune system response is oversensitive. The immune system is supposed to protect the body from invaders, and the body produces a response to allergens that are specific to your body. People with asthma have sensitive airways, and when they breathe in certain allergens or triggers, they may have symptoms. Common triggers include pet dander, mold, dust mites, pollen, and gaseous chemicals. When the person comes into contact with these allergens, the body may begin a complex reaction to these substances.
Dust and dust mites
Dust mites are found in every home, often in carpets, bedding, and upholstered furniture. When their body parts or droppings are inhaled, this can trigger asthma attacks for those who have dust mite allergies. Dust itself can also trigger asthma symptoms.
Mold is microscopic fungi that spread through tiny airborne spores. These spores float through the air and will land on damp areas. If inhaled, mold can cause asthma symptoms for those who are sensitive to mold.
Pollen from plants contributes to allergic disease and asthma. Pollen grains often come in through windows and doors or are tracked in through our shoes, clothes, and pets. Because pollen grains are large, they usually settle into the floor or other surface, but if disturbed, will re-suspend into the air and can be inhaled.
Our pets are great companions, but their skin flakes do not carry that same camaraderie with people, especially if you are allergic to pet dander. In fact, it’s the proteins in the skin flakes, saliva, and hair of pets that trigger allergic or asthma attacks.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are gases released from certain solids or liquids, like paints, aerosol sprays, cleansers and disinfectants, building materials, and furnishings. A common VOC is formaldehyde. There are several studies that suggest that VOCs can make asthma symptoms worse.
Solutions to the problems of indoor air pollution
Controlling the source
Source control is often the easiest and most economical method of addressing indoor air pollutants. This can be straightforward when it comes to eliminating mold that is visibly growing or restricting pets from sleeping areas or other areas of the house. It can also mean keeping organic chemicals like cleaners or paints away from living areas.
Ventilating the home
Another simple way to control indoor air pollution is to make sure to ventilate your home by opening windows and doors, if the weather and situation permits. Otherwise, pollutants will remain trapped in the home. Also, running a window air conditioner with the vent control open, as well as kitchen or bathroom fans that exhaust outdoors, can increase the outdoor ventilation rate. It’s especially important to increase the ventilation rate when engaging in short-term activities like cleaning, painting, or cooking.
Cleaning the home
Cleaning may not be the most exciting activity (though it could be for some!) but it’s an easy way to control dust and dust mites. Vacuuming carpets and furniture once a week and washing bedding in hot water can help a lot to reduce dust mites. Also, dust-mite covers can be an effective way to protect mattresses and bedding.
Replacing HVAC filters
Another simple way to improve air quality is to make sure to replace HVAC filters according to standard recommendations. Energy Star recommends checking your filters every month, and replacing them every three months, which many people may not realize. This prevents possible mold and other bacteria build-up on the filter from being released back into the air.
Keeping humidity levels low
It’s recommended to keep humidity levels in your home between 30%-50% relative humidity. Because mold grows in damp areas, it’s important to monitor moisture levels. Dust mites also thrive in humid conditions.
Investing in an air purifier
The EPA suggests air cleaners as one of the three basic strategies (among ventilation and source control) to improve indoor air quality. There are a variety of air purifiers on the market today; however, there are some that may make asthma worse, like air ionizers and ozonators that produce ozone. Also, the traditional HEPA filter that is present in many air purifiers can collect mold and other biological pollutants and release them back into the air.
Because conventional air purifiers were not able to address the triggers of his son’s asthma, our Chief Scientist, Dr. Yogi Goswami, decided to pursue an alternative solution using his background in solar energy. After 20 years of research and development, the technology behind Molekule was introduced.
We hope that these steps are helpful to you as you improve the indoor air quality in your home. More and more, people are realizing the importance of indoor air quality for health, especially if you have allergies and/or asthma.