In this blog post, we underline the importance of maintaining a healthy indoor environment at home and explain the link between air quality and allergy symptoms.
What Could You be Allergic to in Your House?
When it comes to poor air quality and allergy triggers, many of us tend to think of outside triggers such as vehicle pollution and high pollen levels. However, the concentration of pollutants can actually be two to five times higher inside than outdoors. If you or family have been sneezing or wheezing more than usual at home, indoor pollution and allergy triggers could be to blame. Let’s examine the common culprits below:
1. Dust Mites
Dust mites are microscopic insects that feed off human skin flakes. They are among the most common in-home allergens. These tiny bugs thrive in warm, moist environments, which means bedding and soft furniture are often filled with these invisible pests. Although they don’t bite, they can inflame the nasal passages, leading to itchy, watery eyes and nasal congestion.
Mold is another common household allergen because it tends to grow in damp, dark places like basements, behind drywall, and in small, poorly-ventilated bathrooms. Like dust mites, mould can cause respiratory problems along with dry, itchy skin. Some types of mould, like black mould, are more toxic than others.
Indoor pollen levels can also be higher than you might think, particularly if your family tends to enjoy the outdoors during the spring and summertime, as all that outdoor pollen is easily tracked indoors.
Pets can also carry pollen inside, which is why some people mistakenly think they are allergic to dogs when it’s actually the pollen on your dog.
Homes may have cockroaches that secrete allergens in their saliva and faeces. It’s a common myth that the chemicals used to eradicate cockroaches cause allergic reactions, when in fact the bugs themselves are the culprits.
5. Pet Allergies
If your household includes four-legged members, you may be exposed to more allergen triggers than you think. Cats and dogs shed invisible dust particles that can become airborne and travel throughout your home with ease. Even the protein in animal saliva, urine, and feces can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
Signs of Allergic Reactions in the Home Include:
- Watery eyes
- Itchy skin
- Nasal congestion
- Difficulty breathing
- Allergic Rhinitis
- An overall feeling of malaise
Symptoms of indoor allergies can range from mild to severe, and some people even require prescription medication to get relief from the swelling within their breathing passages caused by dust mites, mould, pollen, and other irritants. Kids are particularly susceptible to poor indoor air quality because of their developing alveoli (tiny air sacs in the lungs), so long-term exposure can lead to respiratory issues.
Simple Solutions to Improve Indoor Air Pollution
Ensure proper ventilation
Ensure proper air filtration/cleaning
Replace Old Filters
Avoid Painting, Spraying Combustible products indoors (or near ventilation units)
Reduce and Remove Moisture
Looking for solutions to deal with indoor air quality pollution? Contact us for comprehensive solutions.
Not All Meal Supplements Are Created Equal
In the busy and rushed world we live in, finding time to sit down and eat a proper meal is difficult.
Correctly incorporating a meal supplement into daily dietary needs can present a unique opportunity to add essential components to daily uptake.
These dehydrated, energy-packed products are ideal for athletes and civilians alike, but not all meal supplements are created equal.
These 5 facts about meal supplement quality can help you make the right choice.
Low Calorie Content Is Important
This isn’t necessarily just an indication of the products usability in the fields of weight loss or fat burning, but also represents the products constituent ingredients. High quality meal supplements will likely contain a fraction of the calories of lower quality competitors, likely averaging around the 50-100 calorie per serving. At the same time, empty calories located in artificial transfatty acids are not only an indication of poor ingredient quality, but also represent potential health hazards.
Low Quality Means High Sugar Content
This is certainly not a hard and fast rule for all meal supplement products, as certain brands may offer items that are responsibly sweetened with natural ingredients. However, a high sugar content will likely represent the brand looking to compensate for the bad taste of inorganic ingredients. At the same time, use of bleached or inorganic sugars can be a health hazard. Look for products that offer natural sweetener alternatives such as Stevia. This will lower the overall calories and provide a more effective sweetening alternative that is healthier, sourced naturally, and tastes better.
Not all Proteins Are the Same
Protein is essential to rebuild muscles, provide energy, and help round out the nutritional content of meal supplements. In many cases, the more protein a meal supplement offers the better, but some proteins are difficult to digest and therefore less effective. Though the constituent chemicals may be the same or similar, such as amino acid content, looking for protein components which are more soluble will lead to more effective protein intake. Some good choices are:
1) Whey Protein
2) Soy Protein
3) Hemp Protein
Whey protein is potentially the best example, representing about 20% of the protein found in milk. This protein is not only easily digestible but will also dissolve well when mixed with liquids, ensuring a more pleasant consumption experience.
Dietary Fibre Is Extremely Important
This factor is often overlooked by health conscious consumers, or individuals looking to locate the best quality meal supplements.
Appropriate consumption of dietary fibre has important effects on digestion, and will make you feel full faster. However, not all dietary fibres are created the same. Some natural sources such as roughage and grains have certain health effects that artificial fibre sources do not.
Meal Supplements With Natural Ingredients
Based on the four preceding facts about meal supplement quality this may seem obvious, but it cannot be stressed enough. Natural ingredients are overall much better for the quality of the product. This includes sugar, protein, and fiber sources, but also includes essential vitamins and minerals.
A high-quality meal supplement will provide more than just the bare bone essentials of fat and protein. Look for a product that has a high daily serving of essential vitamins and minerals.
Need assistance in testing of meal supplements? Contact us for a free consultation.
Importance of Nutrition Labels
Nutrition facts labels tell you about the nutrition of a particular product. This information includes serving size, number of servings in the package, calories per serving and the amount of various nutrients contained in the product. Once you understand the labels, they can help you follow a healthy diet and make it easier to choose the most nutritious foods.
Making Healthy Food Decisions
Nutrition Labels do affect people’s food choices. When you are deciding between two different foods, you can look at the nutrition labels to determine which food is more nutritious. You can compare the labels to determine which foods are lowest in calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and sugar. These are the ingredients you should limit for good health. Checking the ingredients list will help you avoid foods that contain additives or other ingredients that you want to avoid. The foods with the fewest ingredients and those that only contain ingredients that you would have in your own kitchen are healthier than those with lots of ingredients you don’t recognize.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Reading nutrition labels can help you make the right food choices when you are trying to lose weight or prevent weight gain.
Many Indians don’t consume enough fiber, iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C, so these are always included on nutrition labels. You can use the percent daily values listed on the label to give you a good idea which foods are high or low in these essential nutrients. Foods that contain at least 10 percent of the daily value for a nutrient are good sources of that nutrient, and foods that contain 20 percent of the daily value for a nutrient are considered high in that nutrient.
While nutrition facts labels can be helpful, not everyone understands the information included or the importance of it. Many people who had low levels of literacy and numeracy often didn’t understand these labels and that even some people who were more literate sometimes had trouble interpreting nutrition facts labels.
@Fogiene, we think it is very important as part of our social responsibility to provide education how to use these labels when making food choices.
Need help with nutrition labelling for your products? Call us for a free consultation today.
What we eat directly impacts our body. Food affects everything from our energy levels and mood, to our weight and ability to complete tasks. What we put into our bodies is what sustains us throughout the day, so it’s important to eat nutrient-packed foods that will set us up with an energized body and positive attitude. It is also important to realize that nutrition is a huge factor in staying healthy and avoiding potential diseases or other issues.
Let’s look at some tips to help you adopt a healthier, balanced diet:
- Plan Ahead – We often find ourselves relying on outside food multiple times a week, whether its ordering lunch at work or going out for dinner. With work, family, friends, and commitments it’s convenient to buy meals rather than prepare them. By planning meals out at the beginning of the week, we avoid last-minute unhealthy choices. Packing a lunch and cooking dinner will allow you to choose healthier options and improve the quality of your food intake.
- Pack Snacks – It’s always a good idea to have a few healthy snack options with you so you can avoid a situation where you are desperate for food and have to turn to an unhealthy option. Pack a bag of nuts or fruits, and have it with you in case you need a quick snack.
- Focus on Healthier Foods – Eating healthier foods will hugely benefit your overall health. Not only will you be able to control your weight, but your energy levels will be higher, and you will work more efficiently and effectively throughout the day. Focus on eating protein and nutrient-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and try to avoid foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, sugars and cholesterol such as deserts and baked goods.
- Improve Your Eating Habits – A great way to improve your diet is to become conscious of your eating habits and identify routines that are unhealthy and unnecessary. One of the most common habits is eating when you are bored. Asking yourself if you are hungry before grabbing a snack is a good way to avoid consuming unnecessary calories. Another good habit to adopt is to take your time while eating. This way you will be more likely to notice when you are actually satisfied than if you eat your meal fast and find yourself with a stomach ache because you ate too much.
- Choose Water – Avoid drinking juices or sodas. Though they satisfy and energize you in the moment, they contain a ton of sugar that will actually leave you feeling slow and lethargic soon after. Additionally, the sugar in those drinks adds unnecessary calories to your body. Try to replace unhealthy drinks with water. Water will quench your thirst and keep you hydrated, healthy, and energized.
Remember that the types of foods that we put into our bodies are what fuels us throughout the day. Nutrition matters, so choose foods that will set you up for success! Work to become aware of your eating habits, and adopt a healthier and more balanced diet to make sure you are taking care of yourself.
Need assistance in food testing? Contact us for expert services.
Food poisoning can be painful, exhausting, and honestly quite dangerous. The worst part about food poisoning is that once you get it, there’s not much you can do. For hours or days or however long it takes, you feel completely exhausted and searching for answers.
“Food poisoning” is a blanket term for any form of illness that results from eating expired or contaminated food. Food can become contaminated with bacteria such as E. coli, viruses such as hepatitis, and even some forms of parasites. Symptoms vary, but common experiences include fever, aches, pains, vomiting, and frequent trips to the bathroom.
Some extreme cases of food poisoning can result in a hospital visit or even death — but these cases often involve other interfering factors, such as an already poor state of health or effects of dehydration. If you do get food poisoning, it’s crucial to stay hydrated. Other tactics for surviving the onslaught of illness include eating simple, unseasoned staple foods such as bread and rice and avoiding substances like dairy, caffeine, and alcohol. You should also take care to eat slowly, so you can gauge your stomach’s reaction to the food before it’s too late.
Though you can’t guarantee you’ll avoid it entirely, food poisoning is somewhat preventable. Use these simple tips to avoid food poisoning as best you can.
Always Wash Your Hands
This one’s obvious — you should always wash your hands before eating or preparing food. Hand sanitizer is a good alternative for when you don’t have access to a sink, but it’s never as effective. Hand washing should be done with soap and warm water; ensure you lather for at least 20 to 30 seconds. The friction is how most of the bacteria get washed off.
Refrigerate Your Leftovers Immediately
It’s normal to keep cooked food out during dinner, just in case anyone wants to go in for seconds. But once your meal is over, put away your leftovers promptly. After two hours, cooked food is at a risk of going bad if left at room temperature. Pathogenic bacteria love room-temperature food; if bacteria grow and you later eat it, you’re likely to get sick.
Keep Your Kitchen Clean
You should really be keeping on top of kitchen cleaning, anyway Keeping a clean kitchen ensures that the surfaces where you’re preparing and serving food are safe from pathogens. If you hate harsh chemicals, you don’t need to rely on store-bought products. You can use all-natural alternatives that work just as well!
Wash Your Dishcloths
Dishcloths are used almost every time you cook. You touch them after you wash your hands. You dry your counter with them. They sit in your kitchen and can catch all kinds of germs. Make sure you wash your dishcloths regularly; you can throw them in your laundry with the rest of your clothes and towels.
Store Raw Meat on the Bottom Shelf
This might seem like a random recommendation, but fridge placement matters. If you put meat on the bottom shelf, you eliminate the risk of any juices from the meat dripping onto your other food.
Keep Your Fridge Cold Enough
Most refrigerators offer an option to alter the temperature of your fridge and freezer. To prevent an environment with temperatures where bacteria can grow, keep the fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower and the freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Look Out for ‘Use By’ and ‘Best By’ Dates
Even though “use by” and “best by” dates can sometimes be preemptive and overly cautious, they are important to pay attention to. After the expiration date, dispose of the food properly to ensure your food is still safe to eat.
Avoid Unpasteurized Dairy Products
Otherwise known as raw milk, unpasteurized milk is generally regarded as dangerous to consume. Unpasteurized cheese has also been linked to food poisoning outbreaks. All of these unpasteurized dairy products can carry food-borne bacteria such as listeria, E. coli, and Brucella.
Know Which Foods Pose the Most Risk
It seems like some foods are just always getting recalled. Lettuce, for instance, has been involved in all kinds of outbreaks, especially recently. That’s no coincidence — some foods are more prone to catching food-borne bacteria than others, whether it’s due to their texture or methods of packaging and production. Be extra cautious when handling the foods that are most likely to make you sick.
Keep Cold Foods Together
When grocery shopping, you might not give much thought to how you arrange the food in your bags. However, a careful tactic for practicing food safety is to bag all frozen and refrigerated items together. Collectively, they’ll stay colder, lowering your risk of attracting bacteria on their journey from the store to your home.
Store Your Food Properly
If you’re strategic with your storage, you can get your food to last longer and remain safer. Brush up on which foods you absolutely need to put in the fridge — and which foods should never be stored there. You might be refrigerating foods needlessly, which can actually make them go bad! Alternatively, some foods should always be kept in the fridge, for similar reason. Did you know apples can last weeks longer if you refrigerate them?
Defrost Food Carefully
For many, it’s common practice to throw a chunk of frozen meat on the counter to defrost it faster. But this can be dangerous, attracting food-borne bacteria if the meat is left out just a little too long. Instead, you should always defrost meat either in the refrigerator overnight or with the defrost setting in the microwave.
Never Reheat Leftovers More Than Once
Every time you reheat or cool leftovers, you’re at a risk of allowing bacteria to multiply. Reheat and cool food more than once and your risk of getting sick can multiply, as well. Don’t be afraid of leftovers, though. So long as you’re only reheating what you’re eating one time, there are delicious ways to repurpose leftovers into a satisfying lunch. When preparing any kind of food though, be aware of cleaning surfaces first. Some places in your kitchen have more bacteria than a toilet seat!
Do you know how and when to use a dehumidifier to get the best results in your home? Running a dehumidifier is an important step toward improving your home’s indoor air quality. If the air feels sticky or swampy, a dehumidifier will reduce moisture levels, so your home is more comfortable, and your HVAC system can run more efficiently and effectively.
Keep reading to learn when to use a dehumidifier and how to run it to maximize indoor air quality, enhance comfort and boost energy efficiency.
What’s the Difference Between a Humidifier and Dehumidifier?
While a humidifier adds moisture to the air to prevent dryness, a dehumidifier removes moisture. Studies have shown that maintaining home humidity levels between 30% and 50% will help you achieve the healthiest, most comfortable environment, prevent mould and keep your home and belongings safe from damage caused by excessive humidity or dryness.
Depending on the climate in your area, you may need to use a humidifier or dehumidifier at different times of the year to support optimal indoor air quality.
When Is the Best Time to Use a Dehumidifier?
Any time your home feels humid is a good time to run a dehumidifier. Typically, the summer months bring higher levels of humidity that can lead to too much indoor air moisture, resulting in mildew, mould and bacteria growth.
If you notice any of these signs in your home, it’s time to consider running a dehumidifier:
- Sticky, swampy, or stuffy rooms
- Window condensation
- Musty odours
- Increase in mould or mildew
- Water marks on walls or ceilings
- Increase in pest problems
- Rotting or warping wood
- Exacerbation of allergy symptoms
The best time to use a dehumidifier is before the humidity begins to affect your household. When you walk in the house after being outside on a hot and sticky summer’s day, you want to be met by a blast of refreshing, cool air – not additional stickiness. Because humid air makes a room feel warmer, you may notice your air conditioner isn’t making your home feel as cool and comfortable as you prefer. Hot air retains more moisture than cold air, which is why using a dehumidifier at appropriate times of the year can help your HVAC to run more efficiently and make your home feel cooler, even at a higher thermostat setting.
How Often Should You Use a Dehumidifier?
Should you keep your dehumidifier running all summer long? Not necessarily. How often you should use a dehumidifier will depend on your home, climate and other factors. To achieve the highest energy efficiency, run a dehumidifier for at least 12 hours a day. This will allow you to remove moisture from the air without racking up the energy costs.
If you notice your home is still too humid, you may need to address the sources of moisture. You can use a hygrometer, which measures humidity, to determine how much dehumidification your home needs to stay at the optimum level for indoor air quality.
Looking for Air Quality Monitoring? Contact Fogiene Sciences for a free consultation.