Achoo and Gesundheit!

Whether you say “gesundheit” or “bless you”, the intent is the same: to wish good (health) to the person who sneezes. Sneezing is a protective reflex that babies are born with, and luckily, it doesn’t disappear with growth or aging. We don’t need to learn how to sneeze and we can never forget how to do it!

Sneezing may feel annoying, but in reality, it helps the body get rid of things that are irritating or harmful. By sneezing, newborns (as well as older babies, children, and adults) can expel germs and particles from the nose and help protect themselves from getting sick.

Sneezing is how the body clears the nose. When pollen, smoke, dust or even fragrances and odors enter the nostrils, each individual’s nose may react differently. If it’s irritating or tickling in some way, the body tries to ease that feeling and does so with an achoo! In this way, a sneeze is one of the body’s first defenses against invading bacteria and/or viruses. Other foreign particles that can trigger sneezing include mold, mildew, dander and smog.

Sneezes also perform another vital role in the body. In 2012, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania discovered that sneezing is the nose’s natural way to “reset.” They found that cilia, the cells that line the tissue inside the nose, are rebooted with a sneeze. In other words, a sneeze resets the entire nasal environment.1

When we are allergic to something, sneezing is one of the most common reactions as the body tries to clear its airway of the offending allergen. Researchers aren’t sure why some people sneeze multiple times. It may be a sign that your sneezes aren’t quite as strong as a person who only sneezes once. It could also be a sign that you have ongoing or chronic nasal stimulation or inflammation, possibly as a result of allergies.

The most important indoor pollutant is tobacco smoke. It is strongly associated with allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory ailments.2 The most common sources of outdoor pollution include ozone, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide.3 These pollutants have been shown to be especially hazardous to adults and children with asthma.

•          Ozone is a big contributor to smog. It’s produced when sunlight reacts with the fumes produced by cars and industrial plants. Although ozone helps protect from UV rays, when it’s present at high amounts on the ground level, it acts as an irritant to the lungs, aggravates asthma and makes breathing difficult.

•       Sulfur Dioxide is a water-soluble gas commonly emitted into the air by coal-fired power plants, refineries, smelters, paper and pulp mills, and food processing plants. Sulfur dioxide has such a pungent odor that for some people, just the smell can cause sneezing. Sulfur dioxide is a precursor for sulfuric acid, an air pollutant that plays a major role in causing respiratory distress.

•          Nitrogen Dioxide is produced largely by burning fuel. In urban areas, it’s produced when there is a lot of traffic congestion or diesel fumes. Indoors, it’s produced by unventilated heaters and gas stoves.

The air that we breathe not only can cause sneezing, but it can also produce runny noses, burning eyes and respiratory distress. An interesting fact is that allergies are more prevalent in highly developed countries in North America and Europe than in less developed nations.4 This suggests that something about contemporary lifestyles may be causing more allergies.

Some items we tend to overlook that can cause allergies include artificial food coloring (especially red dye), latex (commonly found in medical gloves, adhesive bandages and other medical devices), nickel (an element often mixed into gold-toned jewelry), cosmetics (makeup is often full of chemicals, perfumes, and dust mites (that often live in pillows, sheets, mattresses, carpets or even stuffed animals). And of course, the more fumes we breathe in from car exhaust, vehicles that run on diesel, and industrial air pollution, the more likely we are to suffer from breathing difficulties.

What is the bottom line? Indoor air quality is just as important as outdoor air quality, with tobacco smoke being the worst and most offensive air pollutant that clearly promotes both allergy and asthma. Diesel fumes likely promote allergy, whereas other outdoor air pollutants act more as irritants that can aggravate allergies and asthma. Although we are not in control of outdoor air, we can take steps to make sure our indoor air quality is healthy. Keeping dust to a minimum and washing bedding often, using fragrance-free detergents and cleansers, brushing pets often and disposing of fur—these are all part of an Active Wellness lifestyle—and always use a good air filtration system indoors.

Since May is designated as National Asthma & Allergy Awareness month, Nikken is participating by offering you affordable access to top quality HEPA 13 air filtration with 20% off each order of the KenkoAir Purifier®. In addition, each order of the KenkoAir Purifier comes with items that provide an extra line of defense to support an Active Wellness lifestyle—Kenzen® Hand Sanitizer, Kenzen® Surface Cleaner and the Surface Cleaner refill. This offer lasts through the end of May, so take advantage of it while you can!

1 https://www.healthline.com/health/why-do-we-sneeze

2, 3, 4 https://www.medicinenet.com/air_pollution_and_allergies__connection/views.htm

New Studies Show Microplastics Affect Indoor and Outdoor Air

When we hear or read about microplastics, it’s generally in the context of water pollution, since plastics, as they take hundreds of years to break down, systematically leach from landfills into our waterways. A less known way that microplastics might adversely impact our health is through the air we breathe.

What microplastics are we breathing in every day—when working at home, driving to the office, outdoors cycling or running, or in different environments? There’s a big gap in knowledge and thanks to researchers around the globe, answers will be found but time is of the essence. The American Lung Association’s chief medical officer Albert Rizzo, poses the analogy between the decades-long effort to convince the government that smoking causes cancer and the current attempts to prove the adverse reactions caused by inhaling and ingesting microplastics. “By the time we got enough evidence to lead to policy change, the cat was out of the bag. I can see plastics being the same thing. Will we find out in 40 years that microplastics in the lungs led to premature aging of the lung or to emphysema? We don’t know that. In the meantime, can we make plastics safer?”1

Plastics continue to fragment in the environment, “shredding” into fibers even finer than a strand of human hair and therefore easily airborne and inhaled. Realistically, we live in a cloud of airborne dust particles and our bodies have grown accustomed to them; however, people with dust allergies and/or those who are asthmatic, show visible signs of suffering. Add microplastics to the mix of airborne dust and the results may well be concerning.

This spring, scientists from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom announced they had found tiny plastic particles in living humans, in two places where they hadn’t been seen before: deep inside the lungs of surgical patients, and in the blood of anonymous donors. Together the studies signaled a shift in the focus of concern on airborne microplastics.2

Dick Vethaak, a professor emeritus of ecotoxicology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and co-author of the blood study, says, “Plastics should not be in your blood. We live in a multi-particle world, so the trick is to figure out how much plastics contribute to that particle burden and what does that mean.”3

In both studies the plastic particles found were primarily smaller than one micrometer, small enough to have been inhaled. Whether such particles can pass from the blood into other organs, especially into the brain, which is protected by a unique, dense network of cells that form a barrier, isn’t clear. “We know particles can be transported throughout the body via the river of blood,” Vethaak says.4

The lung study done at University of Hull in the U.K., showed just how intrusive airborne particles can be. Researchers were stunned to find the highest number of plastics of various shapes and sizes embedded deep in the lower lung lobe. One of the fibers was two millimeters long. “You would not expect to find microplastics in the smallest parts of the lung with the smallest diameter,” says Hull environmental ecologist Jeannette Rothchell.5  And, according to Kari Nadeau, a Stanford University physician and director of allergy and asthma research,” the particles identified in the University of Hull lung study are known to be toxic to humans and have caused lung irritation, dizziness, headaches, asthma and more.”6

Another team—at the University of Plymouth in the U.K.— decided to compare the threat from eating contaminated wild mussels in Scotland to that of breathing air in a typical home. They concluded that people would take in more plastic by inhaling tiny, invisible plastic fibers floating in the air around them, fibers shed by their own clothes, carpets and upholstery, than they would by eating the mussels.7

Since May is designated as National Asthma & Allergy Awareness month, Nikken is participating by offering you affordable access to top quality HEPA 13 air filtration with 20% off each order of the KenkoAir Purifier®. In addition, each order of the KenkoAir Purifier comes with items that provide an extra line of defense to support an Active Wellness lifestyle—Kenzen® Hand Sanitizer, Kenzen® Surface Cleaner and the Surface Cleaner refill. This offer lasts through the end of May, so take advantage of it while you can!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7 https://apple.news/ANZkcJ1YzT5qNJI9q0XwZLA

Air Quality Affects Children in Many Ways

To breathe is to live! The quality of air we breathe is so important that it impacts us even before we are born; the air a pregnant woman inhales is the air that transfers into the womb where new life is formed.

Studies conducted through the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Child Health and Human Development division, suggest minimizing exposure to air pollution during pregnancy, infancy and early childhood — all key periods for brain development. Studies have linked exposure to common air pollutants in pregnancy to low birthweight, preterm birth and stillbirth. Exposure to poor air after birth has an even greater effect on developmental risks. A few studies have found a higher risk of autism and of lower cognitive functioning in children living near freeways.1

When we think about air quality, we generally bring up images of smog and industrial pollution or exhaust from vehicles in traffic. In reality, indoor air impacts young children more because many sleep 12 or more hours inside homes. Two of the deadliest issues that low IAQ [Indoor Air Quality] bring to children are allergens and asthma. They are exposed to particulates of dust, dirt, smoke, and pollen which often settle on the furniture inside the home. By getting rid of these types of airborne particles through effective air filtration, we can reduce or eliminate their ill-effects on children and help them maintain a healthy respiratory system.

Children face special risks from air pollution because their lungs are growing and because they are so active and breathe more rapidly than adults. Just like the arms and legs, the largest portion of a child’s lungs will grow long after birth. Eighty percent of their tiny air sacs develop after birth. Those sacs, called the alveoli, are where the life-sustaining transfer of oxygen to the blood takes place. In addition, the body’s defenses that help adults fight off infections are still developing in young bodies. Children have more respiratory infections than adults, which also seems to increase their susceptibility to air pollution.2

As children grow, they end up spending increasingly more hours outdoor, but during the first five years, indoor air quality impacts them most. Household cleaning products, dust mites, central air systems, pet dander and even chemical air fresheners can cause allergic reactions. And if there is a smoker in the family, that is the worst air polluter of all. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, allergies can lead to hives, eczema, asthma, infections and more.

Asthma affects more than 230 million people around the globe and is the most chronic disease among children.3 Underdiagnosed and undertreated because people think of it as a simple breathing problem, it can be serious enough to be life-threatening and is the cause of more than 10 million school absences a year in the U.S. alone.4 Asthma occurs everywhere in the world but can be exacerbated not only by poor air quality but also by humidity levels and genes. It’s estimated that a child with a parent who has asthma is three to six times more likely to develop asthma than a child with parents who are not asthmatic.5

May is National Asthma & Allergy Awareness month and May 3 was World Asthma Day. During the entire month of May, various organizations, including the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA), the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and others, drive public awareness campaigns to educate the world about the importance of clean air.6

Nikken offers you affordable access to top quality HEPA 13 air filtration the entire month of May with 20% off each order of the KenkoAir Purifier®. In addition, each order of the KenkoAir Purifier comes with items that provide an extra line of defense to support an Active Wellness lifestyle—Kenzen® Hand Sanitizer, Kenzen® Surface Cleaner and the Surface Cleaner refill.

1 https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/air-pollution-impacts-childhood-development-study-shows

2 https://www.lung.org/clean-air/outdoors/who-is-at-risk/children-and-air-pollution

3,4,6 https://nationaltoday.com/national-asthma-awareness-month/

5 https://www.webmd.com/asthma/asthma-risk-factors#:~:text=Your%20inherited%20genetic%20makeup%20predisposes,have%20a%20parent%20with%20asthma.

Resolve to Reuse, Reduce & Recyle to Restore our Oceans

As members of the Global Wellness Community, each of us is aware of plastic waste. Fortunately, we are capable of decreasing our personal plastic waste. If each one of us committed to less consumption of plastic packaging, imagine the cumulative outcome for the world! One of the simplest ways is to stop buying and drinking water sold in plastic bottles. Here’s why that is so important.

One component of ocean pollution that’s especially threatening to not only ocean life forms but human life, is micro-plastics. When plastic pollution enters the ocean, large pieces are broken down over time by exposure to sea elements and become tiny particles. These particles, the estimated size of a 5mm sesame seed, break loose from the large “garbage patch” and spread throughout the ocean.

Depending on its density, some sink, some float, and some just hover in the water column. Because the plastic resembles food, it is eaten by a huge range of animals throughout the food chain, including fish, birds, turtles, whales, and even microscopic plankton, eventually working their way up to humans.1

Micro-plastics are extremely difficult to clean out of the ocean, and since they are so tiny, they travel far and wide, basically making their way to every ocean in the world. This is why most ocean anti-pollution projects, such as The Ocean Cleanup, focus on removing larger pieces of trash, before they can degrade.2

Remarkably, in 2019 a then 18-year-old named Fionn Ferreira, invented an effective new method for removing micro-plastics from the oceans. Ferreira was kayaking along the coast in Ballydehob, his hometown in West Cork, Ireland, when he came upon a rock coated in oil. Ferreira noticed that small bits of plastic were sticking to the oil-coated-rock. “In chemistry, like attracts like,” Ferreira noted.  He decided to combine vegetable oil and magnetite powder to create a nontoxic ferrofluid, a “magnetic liquid,” or liquid that acts as a carrier for tiny magnetic particles—since ferrofluids and plastics attract when in the presence of water. Ferreira would add his ferrofluid to water samples full of micro-plastics, then remove the ferrofluid using a magnet, taking the micro-plastics with it. After hundreds of tests, Ferreira’s ferrofluid was able to successfully remove at least 87% of micro-plastics from the water samples.3

Since then, while pursuing a Chemistry degree at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, Fionn has established a company focused on micro-plastic removal technology. Early tests on ferrofluids as a tool for cleaning up oil spills have been promising, but Ferreira believes that the only true way to solve the massive problem of ocean pollution is to change our consumption habits.3

Fionn is part of the new generation of scientists that has never known life without plastic pollution. He and other innovative young scientists, such as Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao who developed bacterium to transform plastic into carbon dioxide and water, are committed to restoring our oceans.

The KenkoAir Purifier®, PiMag Waterfall® and PiMag® Sport Bottle are durable filtration systems that can help us reuse, reduce and recycle. The filters are recyclable and help decrease our carbon footprint. For the remainder of January, you can take advantage of four special filter packs that give you a bonus item when you purchase a PiMag Waterfall® filter cartridge and a KenkoAir Purifier® HEPA filter in the same order.

1 https://www.good.is/articles/end-plastic-pollution-pick-it-up-bin-it-take-three-for-the-sea

2, 3 https://www.good.is/microplastics-magnet-removal

Making Health Resolutions

Making health resolutions is an annual event for many of us. For example, I resolved to lose 10 pounds for at least a dozen years. I eventually reframed that specific resolution, and it’s led to achieving and maintaining my annual resolution, which is to keep my numbers, not just my weight, at acceptable levels. That means numbers related to cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, blood sugar and body-mass index—and if the weight decreases, so much the better.

We can practice Active Wellness as a Global Wellness Community and individually, every day. We can commit to keeping joints mobile, maintaining muscle flexibility and exercising mental agility. Staying hydrated, eating healthy food, drinking alcohol conservatively, exercising consistently and getting restful sleep are all necessary to keep the numbers in check. Health resolutions challenge us to stick to them. Here are five tips to help achieve health resolutions:

1.         Listen to your body. Dr. Nikole Benders-Hadi says, “By consciously listening to your body you are better able to discover what your body actually wants and what makes you feel healthier. You may be surprised to learn you need more sleep or need to drink more water or eat healthier.”1

2.         Find an exercise you really like. Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo says, “Every New Year, people spend a lot of money on gym memberships, workout studio memberships, and online fitness programs. Even though most people start strong, most of them fail to turn their new routine into a long-term habit. Even so, there are ways to improve your odds of sticking to your exercise goals. To begin, pick an activity that you will enjoy and that fits into your schedule.”2

3.         Take time for self-care. Putting ourselves higher up on our priority lists can have a beneficial impact on our well-being. We can really help others better when we are in good shape ourselves. Dr. Candice Seti says, “Self-care can be about scheduling time for yourself, planning fun or relaxing activities, or focusing on healthy behaviors. For example, “I am going to eat four whole-foods based meals a week. Or, “I’m going to take 10,000 steps for five of the next seven days.”3

4.Just cut down on the “bad’ and up the “good” a little bit at a time. Don’t withhold. Some people are able to give up sugar completely or walk three miles a day every day. Know yourself and set your goals accordingly. Aim to keep the scoreboard of healthy behaviors on the plus side and commit to doing better a little bit every day.

5.         Check out PiMag® products for hydration, True Elements® Marine Organic skin care for state-of-the-art COSMOS certified formulas, KenkoAir Purifier® for filtered indoor air, and Kenzen® organic nutrition for smart supplementation. Nikken can help you stick to your health resolutions!

Remember to change your water and air filters to keep your units functioning optimally and take advantage of our four special January packs that each contain a bonus item when you purchase a PiMag® Waterfall filter cartridge and a KenkoAir Purifer® HEPA filter in the same order.

1, 2, 3 https://www.choosingtherapy.com/new-years-resolutions/

Activate Your Breathing Power

To breathe is to live, but how can we breathe better to live better in our pursuit of Active Wellness? We know the use of a Kenko Air Purifier® can help improve indoor air quality in multiple ways, but there are ways to physically enhance our lung capacity.

Good breathing techniques may not only help our bodies get the oxygen needed but also keep our lungs healthy and strong. One particular exercise that helps the lungs intake oxygen is called diaphragmatic breathing.1 In layman’s terms, this type of exercise is called “belly breathing.” Follow these steps:

  1. Relax your shoulders and sit back or lie down.
  2. Place one hand on your belly and one on your chest.
  3. Inhale through your nose for two seconds, feeling the air move into your abdomen and feeling your stomach move out. Your stomach should move more than your chest does.
  4. Breathe out for two seconds through pursed lips while pressing on your abdomen.
  5. Repeat.

Another exercise helps keep our airways open longer, which helps reduce the “work” of breathing. It’s called pursed-lips breathing and helps improve the lung’s function of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide.2 Pursed-lips breathing is simpler than diaphragmatic breathing and can be practiced at any time. Follow these steps:

  1. Inhale slowly through your nose.
  2. Purse your lips, as if pouting or about to blow on something.
  3. Breathe out as slowly as possible through pursed lips. This should take at least twice as long as it did to breathe in.
  4. Repeat.

To help increase lung capacity, the British Lung Foundation advises deep breathing in general. It’s believed that deep breathing can help clear mucous from the lungs, which allows more air to circulate.3 Simply inhale deeply through the nose, 5-10 times, then cough a couple of times and repeat.

In addition to breathing exercises, do the following for healthy lung maintenance:

  • Stop smoking, and avoid secondhand smoke or environmental irritants.
  • Eat foods rich in antioxidants. 
  • Exercise more frequently, which can help your lungs function properly. Swimming is especially helpful for increasing lung power.
  • Improve indoor air quality. We highly recommend our KenkoAir Purifier.

For the entire of month of September, you save significantly when you purchase the September Exclusive Pack (Item 4445) by receiving the KenkoAir Purifier® and HEPA replacement filter for the price of the KenkoAir Purifier. In addition, all KAP HEPA filter replacements (Item 1445) are 20% off.

1, 2 https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-increase-lung-capacity

3 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323787#when-do-they-work

Inhale Positive Energy, Exhale Stress

Did you know that our respiratory system works hard for us by taking in 20,000 breaths daily? Deep breaths are more efficient: they allow us to fully exchange incoming oxygen with outgoing carbon dioxide. They have also been shown to slow the heartbeat, lower or stabilize blood pressure and lower stress.1 That’s why it’s so important to make sure the air we breathe in is clean and energizing.

According to a two-year study led by researchers at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, Utah, outdoor air pollution is a major contributor to indoor air pollution, but HEPA filters in the home may significantly reduce fine-particulate matter in the air compared with non-HEPA air filters. They found over a 12-week period of time that HEPA filters reduced indoor particulates by 55% and outdoor pollutants coming inside by 23%.2

HEPA stands for “high efficiency particulate air” and the HEPA standard is defined by the United States Department of Energy. First developed in the 1940s, HEPA filters were used to trap potentially radioactive particles found in facilities containing nuclear materials. By the 1960s, HEPA filters expanded into the consumer market for air conditioners, vacuum cleaners and stand-alone air purifiers.3

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recommended air purifiers as an effective tool to combat viruses and smoke, noting that the airborne particles from smoke and respiratory aerosols that contain viruses are often in a similar size range, mostly between 0.1 and one micron. Authentic HEPA filters are able to trap particles of this size range effectively.4

HEPA filters are not all the same. Because these filters are designed to run 24/7, they can run up your energy costs. Therefore, an Energy Star qualification is recommended.5

Air filter construction is another consideration. If air can flow around the filter, it is less efficient. Some filters are labeled “HEPA-style” and these generally are not air-tight.

Nikken supports clean air every day with eco-friendly KenkoAir Purifier® and its HEPA replacement filters. To celebrate the global effort for “healthy air, healthy planet” Nikken is offering two specials for the entire month of September. You save significantly when you purchase the September Exclusive Pack (Item 4445) by receiving the KenkoAir Purifier® and HEPA replacement filter for the price of the KenkoAir Purifier. In addition, all KAP HEPA filter replacements (Item 1445) are 20% off.

Here are some specific benefits of the KenkoAir Purifier that go above and beyond a standard HEPA filter and that Nikken is proud to share:

• The KenkoAir Purifier® (KAP) houses an advanced, multiple-stage HEPA filtration system that actually exceeds the measured efficiency of capturing up to 99.97% of 0.3 micron particles in the air. (0.3 microns is approximately 3% of the diameter of a human hair6)

• The KAP operates ozone-free so it is non-toxic and environmentally-friendly.

• The advanced system is designed to generate negative-ions, similar to those found in natural environments, such as forests and lakes.

• Energy Star qualified, the KAP is 35% more efficient than standard models and saves at least 215 kilowatt-hours annually. Its power consumption is designated at 55 watts and covers 313 sq. ft./29 sq. m.

• Having a re-usable prefilter reduces the KAP’s carbon footprint.

• Replaceable filters extend the longevity of the KAP.

• In addition to environmentally-friendly active carbon and microfibers, even the body of the KAP is made of recyclable materials, such as polyurethane, polypropylene and ABS plastic.

• The KAP allows you to select manual or automatic operation, and you can clearly see the condition of the room air from the air quality display on the top of the unit.

To breathe is to live and the KenkoAir Purifier helps us on our path to Active Wellness.

1 https://www.uchealth.org/today/understanding-breathing-and-the-importance-of-taking-a-deep-breath/

2, 3, 6 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/09/180925110030.htm

4 https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/what-hepa-filter-1

5 https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/why-hepa-air-purifiers-are-the-best-in-fighting-indoor-pollutants/2021/08/20/70aa6888-ec06-11eb-8950-d73b3e93ff7f_story.html

Breathe in Clean Air for Healthy Living and Active Wellness

The United Nations has declared the International Day of Clean Air to be September 7 this year. In support of the global effort for “healthy air, healthy planet,” the clean air initiative emphasizes the health aspects related to what we breathe in. The United Nations states, “This year’s focus is on prioritizing the need for healthy air for all, while keeping the conversation broad enough to encompass other critical issues such as climate change, human and planetary health as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.”1

Here are five main health benefits2 we can enjoy simply by breathing in clean air:

  1. Decreased Allergies and Asthma Symptoms: Clean indoor air can greatly improve the symptoms of allergies and asthma, thus increasing well-being and productivity.
  2. Cleaner Lungs: Clean air keeps lungs healthy and functioning optimally. Breathing in polluted air is similar to inhaling cigarette smoke.
  3. Improved Digestion: The respiratory system is important not only for healthy lungs but also for healthy digestion. Clean, fresh oxygen is needed in order for the muscles of the digestive tract to function as they should by breaking up food and moving it along in the digestive system.
  4. Improved Mood: Serotonin is a highly important neurotransmitter responsible, among other things, for regulating mood and anxiety. One of numerous factors that serotonin production and serotonin uptake in the brain are dependent upon is oxygen intake. Enzymes responsible for the production of serotonin can be impaired by low quality oxygen intake, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety.
  5. Longer Life Span: Breathing in clean air can also improve the immune system, which is one way our bodies build on for a long and healthy life.

We can’t always control outdoor air, but we can actively monitor our indoor air and keep it as fresh as possible. Here are five simple tips for keeping indoor air fresh and clean:

  1. Air purifiers can be an effective way to reduce harmful particles in the air. It can be helpful to have one in each room, especially bedrooms.
  2. Keep pets well groomed, especially if they are big shedders. Removing excess fur not only helps keep pet skin less irritated, but it also helps keep air cleaner.
  3. Take your shoes off before going inside. The dirt your shoes bring in can contain pesticides, pollen, fungi, bacteria and more undesirables.3
  4. Indoor houseplants can help improve air quality, according to a study published by the American Society for Horticultural Science. Several types of houseplants help filter out common volatile organic compounds from indoor air. For example, spider plants are effective at reducing benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.4
  5. Rather than using chemically-based detergents and air fresheners, try using natural cleaning products and remember to open your windows at least part of the day.

Nikken supports clean air every day with eco-friendly KenkoAir Purifier® and its HEPA replacement filters. To celebrate the global effort for “healthy air, healthy planet” Nikken is offering two specials for the entire month of September. You save significantly when you purchase the September Exclusive Pack (Item 4445) by receiving the KenkoAir Purifier® and HEPA replacement filter for the price of the KenkoAir Purifier. In addition, all KAP HEPA filter replacements (Item 1445) are 20% off.

1 https://www.un.org/en/observances/clean-air-day

2 https://cascadeenviro.ca/5-important-health-benefits-of-clean-air/

3, 4 https://www.treehugger.com/ways-get-clean-air-without-chemicals-4864310

Do You Have Allergies?

Allergies are irritating, but they can be managed, especially if you stick to an Active Wellness lifestyle. An allergy is when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance, called an allergen. It could be something you eat, inhale into your lungs, inject into your body or touch. Allergens can cause coughing, sneezing, hives, rashes, itchy eyes, a runny nose and a scratchy throat. Although there is no cure for allergies, you can manage them with prevention and treatment.

More than 50 million Americans experience various types of allergies each year.1 That’s why it’s important to know what you are allergic to and avoid those allergens as much as possible. Some allergens are easier to avoid than others—the main sources of allergens are drugs, food, insects, latex, mold, pets and pollen.2

Many people suffer from allergies but don’t know the causes. Because many allergies are irritants but not life-threatening, it’s common practice to take any number of over-the-counter allergy medications. If the medication helps stop the symptoms, then people simply keep taking them without knowing the root cause. The most common side effect to taking allergy medications is sleepiness, so over the years, new formulas have popped up that are “non-drowsy.” Most commonly used are antihistamines, cortisone ointments, decongestants and epinephrine—people with severe allergies carry “epi-pens” so they can self-inject epinephrine to counteract serious allergic reactions.

An Active Wellness lifestyle may not be able to get rid of your allergies; however, being healthy can certainly bolster your overall immune system to help you cope with them. For example, with seasonal allergies from pollen or certain trees, sometimes the allergic reactions disappear. Whether this is your body’s way of adapting over the years or the result of healthy living can’t be proven, but it certainly might be helpful.

There are treatments without using medications. For example, people with airborne allergies may choose to wash out their noses daily with a nasal saline solution, plain water or by using a Neti pot. Others may choose to diffuse natural scents to help the nasal passages open.

With food allergies, avoiding the primary offenders generally takes care of any issues. The most common food allergies are to milk, egg, peanut, tree nut, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish.3 Food allergies are different from food intolerances. For example, you can be lactose-intolerant but not allergic to lactose—food intolerance does not involve the immune system. To determine any possible food allergies, track what you eat, when symptoms occur, and what seems to be helpful.

Insects that may cause allergies are generally divided into three groups: stinging, biting, and non-stinging/biting. Stinging insects such as bees, wasps, hornets and fire ants inject a toxic venom when they sting. Biting insects such as mosquitoes, bedbugs, fleas and certain flies may cause itchiness, swelling, rashes and/or pain.

One particularly unusual development that may result from a Lone Star tick bite is becoming allergic to meat. This is because a tick transfers alpha-gal, a sugar, into the person’s bloodstream. When the person’s immune system reacts to it, the meat allergy develops because alpha-gal is also found in beef, lamb and pork.4

Your indoor environment plays an important role in keeping allergens away. Dust mites and pet dander are common offenders that can be filtered out with a good air purifier. There are still a few days left in May to take advantage of the outstanding promotion for the KenkoAir Purifier® and get 30% off the regular price! Tell your friends about it and share the benefits with your family! To breathe is to live!

1, 2 https://www.aafa.org/allergy-facts

3 https://www.aafa.org/prevent-allergies/

4 https://www.aafa.org/insect-allergy/

How Do You Feel When You Breathe?

To breathe is to live! We take breathing for granted, but there are people who have trouble breathing. People with asthma sometimes have trouble catching their breath. Why does this happen? The good news is that there are ways to mitigate asthma.

People with asthma may be sensitive to things which may not bother other people. These things are known as “triggers.” Asthma causes swelling of the airways. This results in narrowing of the airways that carry air from the nose and mouth to the lungs. Allergens or irritating things entering the lungs trigger asthma symptoms, which may include trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest.

Asthma triggers vary from person to person. Some people react to only a few while others react to many. Most commonly, triggers come in the form of dust mites, pollen, molds, pet dander, smoke from cigarettes, smog, wood fires, charcoal grills, fumes and vapors from paint, gasoline, perfumes, deodorizers, dust, floating particles in the air and any number of chemicals.1

There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed with medications, preventative measures and a healthy Active Wellness lifestyle. The key is to learn from past asthmatic episodes and to track them. In other words, if you know your asthma triggers, you can try to avoid them as much as possible, which will lower the risk of an attack.2 Some questions to help track triggers are:

  • Was I making a bed or vacuuming?
  • Was I near an animal?
  • Was I near someone who was smoking a cigarette?
  • Was I exercising vigorously?
  • Was I extremely upset or happy?
  • Was I exhausted?

You can see from the questions which triggers they represent. You then can acknowledge whether or not you’re triggered by dust, pet dander, smoke, exercise, extreme emotions, or fatigue. There are other triggers, but these are just examples of things to pay attention to.

People may feel asthma symptoms come on gradually. For example, warning signs include coughing, chest tightness and/or a feeling of tiredness unlike the usual fatigue. These symptoms occur as the lungs are narrowing slowly. People may also not even notice anything unusual before the airways are uncomfortably blocked. Experience will help determine whether or not an asthma attack is about to happen.

Just to be on the safe side, you can work on reducing the usage of chemical detergents and artificial deodorizers in the home. You can also get rid of old carpeting, vacuum often, and keep pet hair cleaned up as much as possible. Perhaps the one most important thing to do is to use an air purifier.

Since asthma is one of America’s most common and costly illnesses, using a good air purifier is a good preventative measure to help even the healthiest of us breathe clean air. Why not take advantage of the outstanding May promotion for the KenkoAir Purifier® and get 30% off the regular price? Your lungs will appreciate it!

1 https://www.aafa.org/asthma.aspx

2 https://www.aafa.org/asthma-prevention/