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Author: Jennifer Frye

What’s Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality?

What’s Affecting Your Indoor Air Quality?

There’s a lot of concern over air pollution — especially the haze you can distinctly see settling on the horizon. But it might be surprising to learn that the air quality indoors is often just as bad, and in many cases worse, than the air outdoors.  People, on average, spend the majority — about 90% — of their day indoors, so they’re more likely to inhale the pollutants that are lurking indoors.

Poor indoor air quality can be blamed partially on common pollutants entering buildings through air leaks in the structure. But indoor air pollutants can also come from sources commonly found indoors, where they often become trapped, as newer homes tend to be better built — meant to retain heat and cold better, and not be drafty. While there are obvious positives to better quality homes, their unintended ability to trap pollutants isn’t one of them.  Household items like consumer products, gas appliances, building materials and furniture can all release toxic emissions, called VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that can lead to serious repercussions for the health of you and your family.

VOCs are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature. They’re emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids, and can include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. According to the EPA, concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing and hobby products. All of these products can release VOCs while you’re using them, and, to some degree, when they’re stored.

Pollutants come in two main forms: particulate (particles) and gasses.  Particulate pollutants include things such as fine dust, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, and pollen.  Gas pollutants include VOCs that come from many sources including cleaning solutions, carpets, building materials, and plastics.  Other common pollutants include tobacco smoke, radon, and fumes from fuel combustion (from furnaces, gas stoves, cars, etc.).

Poor indoor air quality can aggravate allergy symptoms, like runny nose and watery eyes, or it may lead to headaches, dry eyes, nasal congestion, nausea and fatigue.  Low quality indoor air also wreaks havoc for asthmatics. The EPA also reports that “indoor allergens and irritants play a significant role in triggering asthma attacks. Triggers are things that can cause asthma symptoms, an episode or attack or make asthma worse. If you have asthma, you may react to just one trigger or you may find that several things act as triggers. All of these air pollutants may lead to serious health consequences over time.”

The best way to protect against indoor air pollution is to prevent or minimize the release of indoor pollutants.  Indoor air pollutants can be reduced by

  • following safety instructions when using chemical products
  • using appliances properly
  • taking precautions when using building materials
  • carpets and fabrics that emit gasses
  • keeping the indoors free form dust, mold and mildew
  • providing good ventilation

Another way to reduce poor indoor air quality is by using a high quality air purifier to help remove many of these contaminants from the air.  This will ensure that the air you’re breathing is clean, fresh and free from harmful contaminants.

 

 

 

 

A Better Kind of Energy Drink

A Better Kind of Energy Drink

Energy drinks have become a staple at workplaces, campuses and homes nationwide. With different flavors, bright colors and grab-and-go portability, they’ve become an easy, legal way to keep the energy going…but that’s not always a good thing.

Between gulping energy drinks, sodas and coffee, it’s easy to see how anyone could quickly become overly-caffeinated. While straight-up brewed tea and coffee does have varying amounts of caffeine, what they (and even soda) don’t have – that many energy drinks do – is questionable ingredients. According to a Huffington Post article, because energy drinks “often contain plant and herbal extracts in addition to caffeine, they can choose to label themselves as dietary supplements rather than food, and aren’t regulated or evaluated for safety by the FDA.”

energy drinksIn addition to unregulated ingredients, energy drinks can also be incredibly dehydrating. “…[E]nergy drinks are [not] appropriate to consume while exercising,” the article noted. “The diuretic effect of caffeinated energy drinks can cause the body to lose water, dehydrating you in the process.”

Many energy drinks also are loaded with sugar (and calories), which accounts for part of the buzz and rush of energy many people experience. But as with anything featuring a high sugar content, that “sugar crash” is also bound to occur. Sugar crashes can actually have the opposite effect that students are wanting, making them irritable, hungry and fatigued.

Mixing alcohol with energy drinks has also gained popularity with young adults in the past decade. It’s become such a problem that Brown University dedicated a webpage that addresses the issue. According to Brown, the problem with mixing alcohol and energy drinks is that one is a stimulant (energy drink) and one is a depressant (alcohol); the combination of effects may be dangerous. “The stimulant effects can mask how intoxicated you are and prevent you from realizing how much alcohol you have consumed. Research has [also] found that people drink more and have higher blood alcohol contents when they combine alcohol and caffeine. In addition, both energy drinks and alcohol are very dehydrating (the caffeine in energy drinks is a diuretic). Dehydration can hinder your body’s ability to metabolize alcohol and will increase the toxicity, and therefore the hangover, the next day.”

It’s important to understand that in moderation, energy drinks can be fine. And not all “energy drinks” are created equal, which is why at Vollara, we created Re:Vive, a unique, natural supplement that significantly boosts energy, elevates mental focus and supports your health without the unwanted side effects found with most stimulants and drugs.

 

Re:Vive

 

A convenient, on-the-go supplement, Re:Vive comes in individually-packaged powdered form that you mix with water, creating a delicious and exhilarating boost for your day. It comes in a refreshing wild berry flavor, and contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes and natural extracts to enhance mental focus, support the immune system and maintain overall well-being. It also doesn’t contain any sugar, so you won’t need to worry about “crashing” later on.

 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult with your health practitioner and/or pharmacist if you are using any medications.

 

 

Tips for Healthy Holiday Travel

Tips for Healthy Holiday Travel

Whether you’re traveling for work, vacation or during the holidays, it’s important to stay healthy. Getting sick or feeling under the weather when you’re away from home is no fun at all! The good news is, with a little extra thought, you can arm yourself with the tools and knowledge you need to protect yourself and your health when you travel.

stocksnap_c26e1dka02Lodging

One thing almost all hotels –whether they a motor lodge or a 5 star hotel — seem to have in common is that each room has housed hundreds or thousands of guests – and with that many guests, your likelihood of exposure to a host of germs, bacteria, allergens, and other contaminants increases.

In your average hotel mattress, you can find skin cells (humans shed about 1.5 million cells or cell clusters per hour they sleep), human hair, bodily secretions, fungi, bacteria, dust, dust mites, lint, insect parts, pollen, cosmetics … and more.

“Unless a hotel has impervious covers on their mattresses and pillows, they’re contributing to allergies and exacerbating them,” said Philip Tierno, Director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University, and author of The Secret Life of Germs. “Even if you don’t have allergies now, you can develop them over time. You don’t need to be breathing in this garbage from mattresses and pillows,” he told The Chicago Tribune.

Vollara Tip: You might consider investing in a small, lightweight air purifier like the FreshAir Mobile or FreshAir Focus which can help diffuse stale, lingering odors. Bringing along your own pillow (complete with dust-mite proof case!) can ease your worries as well.

Plane Travel

According to The New York Times, Charles P. Gerba, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona, swabbed airplane bathrooms and tray tables on eight flights to see what contaminants he could find. Four out of six tray tables tested positive for the superbug methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and norovirus, the highly contagious group of viruses that can cause severe flu-like symptoms, was found on one tray. Most of the bathrooms he swabbed had E. coli bacteria. 30% of sinks, toilet handles and faucet handles had E. coli, as did 20% of toilet seats.

Vollara Tip: Carrying individually wrapped sanitation wipes or a small bottle of hand sanitizer can help keep your hands germ-free. As for the air circulating around your person, traveling with a FreshAir Personal can be a great idea. It creates an almost particle-free zone around the wearer by generating high intensity ion streams that add charges to nearby airborne particles. These charged particles then repel each other and adhere to surfaces out of your breathing zone.

stocksnap_svhf6muwvzHydration

According to EverydayHealth.com, some of the common health problems that affect airplane passengers are often the result of a lack of humidity in the cabin air, which can lead to dehydration. The air inside the cabin of a plane usually has a humidity level of 10-20% — much lower than a comfortable typical indoor humidity of 30-65%. So it’s really important to take measures to keep yourself hydrated while you’re on a plane.

Vollara Tip: Drink plenty of water days before you’re set to travel so your hydration levels are optimal. Forgo alcohol or sugary soda during the flight and continue to drink water throughout your flight. If you’re traveling by car, we love the H2Fuel Performance Hydration Bottle. If you can take a few canisters of water with you, fill up a few reusable bottles of LivingWater! Packing a good moisturizer for your hands and face can also help hydrate and plump up skin that’s a little dull from jet lag!

pexels-photo-143654Supplements

Did you know? Airline passengers are 20% more likely to catch the common cold. Infectious bacteria and viruses that circulate within an airplane cabin can attack an already-weakened immune system. A study in the Journal of Environmental Health Research found that colds may be more than 100 times more likely to be transmitted on a plane than during normal daily life on the ground. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is required for the growth and repair of tissues in all parts of the body.

Vollara Tip: We love our supplement Re:Gain, which has 125% DV of Vitamin C. Re:Gain provides nutritional support that your body can use to function at its best. Re:Sist helps your body regulate and balance immune responses, and boosts natural killer (NK) cell activity by 40%.

5 Reasons You Eat When You’re Not Hungry

5 Reasons You Eat When You’re Not Hungry

If the swath of time between Halloween and New Year’s feels like a months-long grazing session, you’re probably not alone. During the holidays especially, most of us are guilty of eating something not because we’re famished…but because it’s there. And it’s Aunt Linda’s fudge, and you only get it once a year. And it’s delicious!

This phenomenon explains why many of us also pack on unwanted pounds during he holidays, and that’s never fun. One of the best ways to stave off gaining weight (and this goes for the whole year!) is to resist the urge to eat when we’re really not hungry. Let’s tackle the 5 biggest reasons people reach for something even if they’re perfectly satisfied.

Maybe it’s a special occasion.

It’s mom’s cornbread dressing she only makes at Thanksgiving. Or it’s your office Christmas party. Or it’s a NYE potluck at your neighbor’s house. The thing is, most of us don’t have 2 or 3 special occasions every year — we have dozens and dozens. Anything can turn into a special occasion: your daughter’s graduating from kindergarten, your spouse got a promotion, your friends just got engaged, your dog finally mastered the art of potty training. EVERYTHING can be an occasion. And if you use every one as an excuse to celebrate with food, you may find yourself shopping for new jeans by year’s end.

Maybe you’re bored.

You’re not hungry. Or sleepy. You just finished your book. And there’s nothing interesting on television. Might as well go stand in front of the fridge, right? Eating is definitely an activity, and there’s no question it’s fun (and usually pretty satisfying). But a restless, wandering mind often leads right to the pantry. Take a walk instead!

Maybe there’s pressure.

We’ve all been there: standing at a party, eyeballing a beautiful spread of treats, trying our best to forget it’s there. And then you’re approached by your lovely host. “You’d better go try that crab dip. Robert made it and it’s delicious!” Or maybe your colleagues decide after a long day to go grab a bite to eat at a restaurant. You have a perfectly good chicken breast at home you could fix…but you give in and go anyway. Finding yourself in these scenarios a few times a month can add up to a pound or two, and over a year that really adds up! Don’t feel too bad about declining events where food is the main feature.

Maybe it’s because you’re sad.

A pint of ice cream + a bad breakup is now just a cliche. Food can make us feel comforted, so it’s natural if we’re feeling anxious, stressed, or sad, we reach for a piece of chocolate pie instead of thinking about a better long-term solution. An article on Today.com posits that stress can lead to a release of hunger hormones, and once that response is triggered, your body will start looking for more nourishment — even though it may not need all those extra calories.

Maybe you’re really just thirsty.

Did you know? Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually just thirsty. According to this article, a hunger cue is the same as a thirst cue? “Because the signal your body sends when it wants a tall glass of water can be mistaken for the sign it sends when you need a snack, you have to react wisely to save yourself hundreds of calories. Your best bet: have a drink first, wait to see if you’re satisfied and then eat if you are still hungry.” Our pick is to have a glass of LivingWater, which provides acid-buffering alkaline water for drinking and cooking. LivingWater has an excellent negative Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP) for increased antioxidant properties.

 

How to Stay Energized Over the Holidays

How to Stay Energized Over the Holidays

For a lot of people, the holidays (that crush of time from November to New Years) is at once wonderful…and potentially an energy drain. For every memorable meal, decorated home, sleigh ride and perfect gift is a person who ran themselves ragged to make sure it happened! So if you’re one of the architects of festivity this holiday season, be sure to take care of yourself and keep your energy at optimum levels. After all — you should be able to enjoy yourself too! So we’ve come up with some smart tips to keep you from burning out this year.

Watch Out for Sugar

What other ingredient (well, besides pumpkin) is as ubiquitous during the holidays as sugar? It’s everywhere — dusted over cookies, baked into pastries, whipped into that cranberry salad and calling your name from a platter at the office Christmas party. But after the initial buzz from your sugar fix wears off, you can end up feeling even less energized than before — and possibly worse, since sugar can cause sluggishness, fatigue and irritability.

Re:Sults + Re:ViveAnd if you’re eating a lot of sugar, you might be neglecting other key nutrients, which can leave you feeling run down as well. Make sure you continue getting the right amounts of essential vitamins and minerals, and if you need an energy pick-me-up, try something that’s healthy and sugar-free like Re:Vive, which is designed to be a natural source for energy, mental alertness, immune support and overall well-being.

Sugars can also be found in carb-heavy foods. Consider trimming some carbs from your diet…and try Re:Sults! Re:Sults gives your body the ability to burn fat for energy and helps you flip your own switch to a better fuel.

Take a Walk Outside

Although some fall and winter weather conditions can make it impossible, talking even a quick 10 minute walk outside can go a long way in helping you stay energetic and focused. The exposure to sunlight alone can provide much-needed Vitamin D — levels which can drop in colder months where people tend to stay indoors. A walk outdoors can help you clear your head, take a quick break from a stressful situation, and keep your blood flowing.

Be Mindful of Alcohol Intake

It seems like there’s a reason to toast every time you turn around during the holidays! From family dinners to office get-togethers, breaking out the booze seems to happen quite a bit this time of year. While we’d never tell you to turn down every flute of champagne that comes your way, it is important to sip slowly and follow each drink with a full glass of water. Alcohol can have dehydrating effects…which does nothing to help energy levels. You’ll sleep better (and have a better chance of keeping off extra pounds) if you stick to one drink. And what you drink can matter too — the calories and sugar in a 4 oz glass of wine is significantly less than a brimming cup of eggnog (sugar + fat + booze, oh my!).

Stay Hydrated

LivingWaterSince we’re on the topic, drinking water after an alcoholic beverage is a great idea…but then, so is staying properly hydrated all the time, holidays included! As temperatures drop outside, people sometimes don’t hydrate enough. They figure if they’re not sweating, they don’t need it. But proper hydration can boost energy levels like you wouldn’t believe, and can go a long way in preventing dry, flaking skin. We love our LivingWater, and keeping a refillable bottle with you when you’re on the go is a great idea. The alkaline LivingWater will help buffer acid, remove toxins, and is easily absorbed by your body. It’s a win-win!

Stay Active

Sticking to your regular exercise routine can be hard when you’re out doing last-minute shopping, cooking a feast for 20 or coordinating a party. But it’s important to keep moving, since exercise is a key component of maintaining healthy energy levels. It’s okay to get creative about how and where you squeeze in some physical activity: if you’re at the mall or our shopping, make an extra lap or two around the building. Opt for stairs instead of an elevator. Enjoy your favorite holiday movie, but promise yourself to do 10 push ups and 10 sit ups every commercial break. You might find you wake up with more energy than normal!

 

 

The Benefits of Healthy Fats

The Benefits of Healthy Fats

Conventional dieting wisdom from the last quarter-century has drilled into the heads of a generation that fat = bad. For most adults, it’s crossed our minds at least once to eliminate high fat foods from our diet — maybe at our doctor’s recommendation, or because an article in a health magazine convinced us it was in our own best interest. Fat has always been a controversial topic when it comes to diet, health and overall nutrition. It seems like fat goes through stages of being both maligned and exalted..and the truth is, it probably falls somewhere in the middle. The longer answer to the question of fat’s role in your diet is less about high-fat versus low-fat, and more about quality, healthy fats versus unhealthy fats.

To be sure, fat is an absolute essential in the human diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, your body makes its own fat from taking in excess calories. “Some fats are found in foods from plants and animals and are known as dietary fat,” they note. “Dietary fat is a macronutrient that provides energy for your body. Fat is essential to your health because it supports a number of your body’s functions. Some vitamins, for instance, must have fat to dissolve so they can be used by your body.”

Fat can be put in two basic categories: saturated and unsaturated fat. As the Mayo Clinic points out, saturated fats are solid at room temperature (like butter or scoop of coconut oil). Unsaturated fats are in oil form (fluid) at room temperature (like olive and canola oils). Fats that are mostly saturated or that contain trans fat will appear solid at room temperature. This has earned them the nickname of “solid fats.” They can include beef and pork fat, butter, shortening and margarine.

When people drastically cut fat from their diets, it usually gets replaced with more processed, simple carbohydrates — many of which are high in sugar. Eating a lot of these types of refined carbs—like white bread and white rice—can actually increase triglyceride levels, which can contribute to heart and blood vessel disease, according to Health.com.

abstract-1238248_640Healthy: Polyunsaturated fat

Polyunsaturated fats can be found in nuts, seeds, vegetable oils such as corn and safflower oil, and fatty fish. This category encompasses omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are known as essential fatty acids because our bodies don’t make them —we have to get them through the foods we consume.

Says the Mayo Clinic: “One type of polyunsaturated fat is made up of mainly omega-3 fatty acids and may be especially beneficial to your heart. Omega-3, found in some types of fatty fish, appears to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease. There are plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids.”

olive-oil-968657_640Healthy: Unsaturated fat

Health.com tells us that healthy unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature, while trans and saturated fats (which are pretty unhealthy) are solid, If you want to increase the unsaturated fats in your diet, consider replacing solids like butter with olive and vegetable oils, and opt for seafood and nuts over red meat. (Note: seafood and nuts also contain saturated fat, but usually less than red meat.)


Healthy: Monounsaturated fats

Monounsaturated fats raise HDL (your good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol). Sources of monounsaturated fats include canola, olive and peanut oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. For snacking, using hummus (which is rich in olive oil) or guacamole instead of sour cream can give you a boost of monounsaturated fats. Peanut oil can also add great flavor when cooking, and avocado oil also supplies lutein, an antioxidant that improves eye health.

-oil-356102_640Grapeseed oil is great for cooking something where you don’t want to taste the flavor of the oil itself. Grapeseed oil has a clean, light flavor, and is a good source of both vitamin E and oleic acid — a fat that may help reduce stroke risk by up to 73 percent.

If you were wondering (or worrying): eating healthy fats won’t necessarily make you fat. While fat does pack more of a caloric punch per gram than carbohydrates and protein, fat also makes food more flavorful and keeps you feeling fuller quicker and for longer periods of time — which may mean that you don’t feel the need to snack as much or as often as before.

 

What Happens When You Carry Excess Weight

What Happens When You Carry Excess Weight

You know how it goes: a celebratory dinner here, an office party there, a few weekend barbecues and birthdays sprinkled throughout…and the next thing you know, a year’s gone by and you’ve mysteriously gained 10 pounds. Most people don’t intend to let excess weight creep on, but for many — year after year — it does. And it doesn’t take much for a few pounds to add up to some major health issues, especially as we get older. Maintaining a healthy weight is important not just for fitting into your favorite jeans, but because it can improve and prolong your quality of life.

If you’re carrying extra weight, chances are you’ve felt some of the side effects — ranging from physical to emotional. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • Fatigue, which can range from mild to severe
  • Shortness of breath after sudden physical activity (feeling winded)
  • Back pain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased sweating
  • Joint pain (osteoarthritis)
  • Snoring and/or waking up for no reason during the night
  • Depression
SOURCE: CDC/NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011–2014.
SOURCE: CDC/NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2011–2014.

According to the Mayo Clinic, one of the most problematic places to store excess fat is in the abdominal area. “The trouble with belly fat is that it’s not limited to the extra layer of padding located just below the skin (subcutaneous fat). It also includes visceral fat — which lies deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your internal organs.”

Regardless of your overall weight, having a large amount of belly fat increases your risk of:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Sleep apnea
  • Premature death from any cause
  • High blood pressure¹

Obese-related conditions cause an estimated 300,000 premature deaths in the US, according to Stanford Health Care. In addition to a decline in the quality of life you experience, carrying extra weight can also be costly. In 2008, according to the CDC, the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight people; the estimated combined medical cost of obesity in the US that same year was $147 billion dollars.

Stanford Health Care defines the top three most common factors for extra weight as genetics, metabolic and hormonal factors, and lifestyle. When you combine those with a lack of exercise and physical activity, it can be difficult to lose or even maintain your weight as you get older. Modern-day food choices are also part of the problem — since the convenience and low cost of poor-quality “food” can be difficult to pass up. An article at HealthDay.com noted: “In the simplest terms, Americans as a whole are eating more calories than they burn. And why not? Food is more plentiful and more convenient than ever before. We don’t have to hunt it or scavenge it or harvest it. We just have to pull it out of the fridge, pick it up at one of 170,000 fast-food restaurants, or order it over the phone. Everywhere, from coffee shops to restaurants, portion sizes have swelled beyond imagination.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the American diet has increased by about 530 calories a day over the past 35 years.

Eat real food! If you want to start a weight loss program, first schedule a visit with your primary care physician to make sure you’re in otherwise healthy condition. Choosing the right weight loss plan for you and your lifestyle is important. For example, a former athlete may find it easier to incorporate physical activity back into their daily routine than someone with physical limitations or someone used to a sedentary lifestyle.

Most nutritionists will agree that cutting out junk and opting for “real” food is a good start. Preparing your own meals can also help — letting you control the quality and amount of ingredients, which can help trim unnecessary calories. Another helpful tip? Forgoing starches and simple carbohydrates, which can leave you feeling hungry sooner, and even lead to cravings. So opt for vegetables and healthy fats instead. (Try mashed cauliflower in lieu of mashed potatoes — it’s delicious!) And decreasing your sugar intake can have a big effect — both calorically and in the way you feel energy-wise. If you’re craving something sweet, a fresh bowl of strawberries is a much healthier bet than strawberry shortcake!

 

 

Sources:

¹ The Mayo Clinic: www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/mens-health/in-depth/belly-fat/art-20045685

 

Trouble Breathing: Is it Allergies or Asthma?

Trouble Breathing: Is it Allergies or Asthma?

Tightness in your chest, difficulty breathing, adverse reactions to environmental and biological triggers. Are you experiencing an asthma attack…or do you have a wicked case of allergies?

Answer: it could be both. Allergies and asthma often occur together. Certain allergens – like dust mites, pet dander, and pollen – can act as triggers for both allergies and asthma.

An allergy is an inflammatory reaction or response to a specific substance. Allergic reactions can involve nasal membranes, the eyes, the skin, the tongue, and the breathing passages in severe reactions. Allergy symptoms include an itchy, stuffy, or runny nose, sneezing, itchy, red, or irritated skin, and itchy, burning, or watery eyes.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory lung (lower respiratory) disease that causes difficulty breathing.

via acaai.org

asthma symptoms

So, how does an allergic reaction cause asthma symptoms? According to Mayo Clinic: “An allergic response occurs when immune system proteins (antibodies) mistakenly identify a harmless substance, such as tree pollen, as an invader. In an attempt to protect your body from the substance, antibodies bind to the allergen. The chemicals released by your immune system lead to allergy signs and symptoms, such as nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy eyes or skin reactions. For some people, this same reaction also affects the lungs and airways, leading to asthma symptoms.”

Although most treatments for allergies and asthma are different, there are a few that can help with both conditions.

Leukotriene modifier (Singulair) is a medicine that helps with both allergy and asthma symptoms by controlling immune system chemicals that are released during an allergic reaction.

Allergy shots can help ease asthma symptoms by gradually reducing your immune system response to particular allergy triggers.

Anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) therapy (Xolair) can help when you encounter an irritating allergen: IgE antibodies sense it and signal your immune system to release a chemical called histamine, as well as other chemicals, into your bloodstream.

In short: go see your doctor. Whether it’s asthma, allergies, or a combination of the two, he or she can properly diagnose and help you manage your symptoms and get some relief through medication.

In the meantime, there are steps you can take to improve the indoor air quality in your home and workspace. Reducing dust, allergens, smoke, contaminants, pet dander, chemical fumes, mold and mildew will go a long way toward lessening allergy and asthma symptoms. Use natural cleaning products (free of VOCs and synthetic fragrances) when possible, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to regularly clean carpets, use exhaust vents when cooking, and invest in a high-quality air purifier that can remove these irritants from your air space.

 

 

 

Banish Stinky Odor With FreshAir!

Banish Stinky Odor With FreshAir!

If you’ve ever owned a Vollara FreshAir unit, then you know what kind of positive impact it can have on your home, your family and your overall wellness.

The FreshAir works by replicating a process that occurs in nature, which then destroys odors, eliminates smoke and reduces harmful contaminants ordinary cleaning can leave behind. So if you or someone in your family struggles with breathing difficulties, allergies or asthma, the FreshAir can be an invaluable asset to your home.

But consider this: there are a lot of great uses for your FreshAir unit that you may not have even thought about. One of the best ideas we’ve heard? Using the FreshAir to deodorize a stinky closet!

Does your daughter or son play sports, bringing home smelly, stained uniforms? Do you or your spouse keep that old pair of running shoes or hiking boots in your closet? What about hunting clothes? Did your recent trip to see Aunt Mary (who smokes) take a toll on your favorite coat?

Try this: use a FreshAir in your closet. Placing the unit inside of the offending closet and closing the door for a few hours will have an amazing effect on offensive odors. You’ll immediately notice a difference when you step back into that closet and take a deep breath. If it’s one item in particular (your kid’s basketball shoes, for example) you can place that item right in front of your FreshAir unit for even more odor removal.

From diaper pails to stinky pet beds to the kitchen the morning after you cooked halibut – the FreshAir works to destroy odors, not mask them with artificial scents and chemicals.

What are some of your favorite uses for your FreshAir unit?

 

Avoid Germs On Your Summer Travels!

Avoid Germs On Your Summer Travels!

Most of us don’t want to think too much about what all we could be exposed to when we travel, especially when it comes to the super-scary contaminant king E.coli. But it’s everywhere – on transportation, at schools, and even in the sanctuary of our own (seemingly clean) home.

In truly disturbing news, two researchers recently discovered that certain pathogens – of which E.coli is one – can linger on airplane surfaces for days. Considering the number of people who could be exposed in a single day, their findings are cause for concern.

James Barbaree, associate director for research at the Auburn University Center for Detection and Food Safety in Auburn, Alabama, and his colleague Kiril Vaglenov presented their study at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology. They analyzed both MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and E. coli O157:H7.

What they found was that the plane’s more porous surfaces allowed the pathogens to linger the longest. Specifically, the E. coli O157:H7 survived longest – 96 hours – on material from an airplane armrest. “The porous surfaces…are more protective for the bacteria – cloth, like the pocket cloth on the back of the seat, something like that has a lot of crevices where bacteria can get in,” Barbaree said.

And it’s not just on airplanes; it’s indoor environments, too. So if you’re renting a beach house or sharing lake lodge this summer, keep in mind what germs could be lurking, just waiting to ruin your summer fun!

“People think that the bathroom is the dirtiest place in [a] house,” says Cheryl Luptowski, a Home Safety Expert at the National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF International), an independent public health and environmental organization. “…kitchen[s] [have] the most germs,” she said.

Lupotowski along with University of Arizona-Tucson Professor and Microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba revealed the 10 dirtiest spots in the average home kitchen. #1 offenders on the list? Sponges and dishcloths. According to the NSF, “more than 75 percent of dish sponges and rags have some sort of coliform bacteria–a family of bacteria that includes Salmonella and E. coli and is an indicator of potential fecal contamination.”

Other places most likely to be teeming with e.coli? The sink, the refrigerator meat compartment, blender gaskets, kitchen countertops, can openers, and rubber spatulas. Running items through a dishwasher, or cleaning with hot, soapy water is key. A bleach and water mixture can also be helpful, as can disinfectants designed for kitchen use.

And ladies? Careful where you set those handbags. Dr. Gerba found the unthinkable on the ubiquitous fashion staple. “We found fecal bacteria you normally find on the floor of restroom,” he said. “We found bacteria that can cause skin infections on the bottom of purses. What’s more amazing is the large numbers we find on the bottom of purses, which indicates that they can be picking up a lot of other germs like cold viruses or viruses that cause diarrhea.” When at all possible, place handbags on a hook or in an adjacent chair rather than on the floor. It’s worth nothing that leather and vinyl purses are less susceptible than ones made of cloth.

Vigilance and a little simple hand washing can go a long way in warding off E.coli-based illness. For a more thorough approach, using specially-designed air purifiers (some travel-sized!), fabric protectants, and microbial barriers can add an extra layer of protection to your home.

Our pick:

Vollara’s FreshAir Mobile is portable and perfect for cars, trucks, R.Vs. or campers!

 

The FreshAir Focus plugs into any outlet — making it great for hotel rooms or when traveling!

Our FreshAir Personal is a wearable unit that removes airborne contaminants and allergens from the air immediately around your body. Take it on the plane with you!