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.

Take Care of Yourself and Stay Healthy

This Fourth of July, our thoughts of freedom may be more pronounced. For those of us who were born into a life of freedom, these trying times may be as close as we come to not experiencing freedom as we know it. Those who enjoy partying, dining out and group activities in general are particularly vulnerable to feelings of deprivation and depression with the current state of affairs. Even homebodies may be craving some human closeness with all the social distancing we have been practicing.

Nikken just launched three products priced at only cost and handling to help us maintain Active Wellness through these trying times and beyond—Kenzen® Face Mask, Kenzen® Hand Sanitizer and Kenzen® Surface Cleaner. The Nikken mission has always been to produce exceptional products that help us create a Wellness Home but some are especially designed to help us maintain indoor health and our sense of independence.

This entire month of July, three items that can help us make the best of indoor living are available at a 20% discount with no purchase limits. They are KenkoSeat® II, KenkoGround®, and KenkoTouch®. Here’s a summary of why they help you maintain Active Wellness while staying indoors:

  • KenkoSeat® II addresses the issue of sitting. Excessive sitting is believed to cause slow metabolism, compromised posture, increased back injuries, chronic pain and many other health risks.1 KenkoSeat II does not pretend to fix any of these issues; however, it is designed to help promote proper posture while seated and is made of breathable materials for ventilation. The Kenko PowerButton® with patented Dynaflux® technology, 100% latex core and 100% nylon cover are a trifecta of back support and relief. (I personally have sat on one for many years as I commuted 84 round trip miles a day and truly believe KenkoSeat II has helped sustain my back.)
  • KenkoGround® serves as an indoor and portable way to reconnect with Mother Nature. When you cannot sink your feet into real sand, soil, grass or sea water, KenkoGround is the next best thing to help connect with natural energy sources. In these times when even children too often use multiple electronic devices, KenkoGround under our feet when seated or sleeping, draped around our shoulders or touching our skin in some way, can help “ground” us.
  • KenkoTouch® helps us take care of our massage needs ourselves. It’s a simple handheld way to de-stress and help loosen tight muscles. With three speed settings, the same patented DynaFlux® technology found in the KenkoSeat II extends depth of field for greater penetration of the solenoid reciprocating massage.

All of us at Nikken wish you a safe Fourth of July!

1 https://www.businessinsider.com/14-horrible-things-that-can-happen-if-you-sit-at-your-desk-for-too-long-2014-3

Create a Wellness Home

The importance of following basic hygiene measures was highlighted by epidemiology Professor Mark Lipsitch of the Harvard Chan School and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics. In a Facebook Live event held earlier this month, he said, “Slowing the epidemic is what we have to do if we can’t stop it.” Alluding to handwashing, using hand sanitizer if washing is not possible, keeping surfaces clean and especially inhibiting transmission through respiratory droplets, he said, “All those measures, small as some of them may be, help to slow the epidemic. There is a real coalescence between individually self-protective measures and measures that will benefit the community. Basic hygiene and self-protection measures are in fact socially beneficial.”1

Nikken has been helping people around the globe create their Wellness Homes and Active Wellness lifestyles for decades now. In light of current events, we are launching three personal care and household products. These products do not in any way suggest a cure but are designed to help you practice personal and household hygiene. All three products are priced at cost plus handling only, so that they can be shared with everyone in your communities.

Kenzen® Face Mask will be available in black or white, both displaying the Nikken name and logo. This mask is not a medical device, but can help with particulate contaminants and airborne pollution. It does not eliminate your exposure to the risk of any disease or infection. Made with two layers of polyester and cotton materials, it has an opening in between for an extra barrier or filter, if you wish to insert one. It’s a reusable mask: all you do is hand wash in warm water with a mild detergent and rinse thoroughly, then air dry. At only one ounce, it fits comfortably with elastic bands of polyester and rubber that loop over the ears.

Kenzen® Hand Sanitizer is an innovative Nikken product in that it contains Cannabinoids, commonly known as CBD and CBG oils. When you use it to clean your hands, it helps to soothe and relieve in addition. Since it’s THC-free, it’s safe to use as often as needed and works in as few as 15 seconds. It contains 70% Ethyl Alcohol to disinfect and helps eliminate up to 99.99% of common bacteria and germs. It more than meets the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s recommended 60%+ of alcohol and meets the FDA’s healthcare personnel handwashing criteria. Deionized water ensures that Kenzen Hand Sanitizer is made with purified water, and Vitamin E and organic Aloe Vera help moisturize the hands.

Kenzen® Surface Cleaner stays with the Nikken commitment to present products made without chemicals or artificial odors. It helps to eliminate up to 99.99% of common bacteria and germs with the use of 30% citrus essential oils from orange, lemon and grapefruit. There’s no need for cumbersome buckets of water, because the cleaner is sprayed directly onto surfaces such as floors, counters, windows, walls, tiles, wood and plastic and does not require rinsing. It’s recommended for repeat usage and does not stain; however, it may discolor some fabrics, so caution is suggested.

The three products will launch on June 27th . To join us for the launch via Zoom, please go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85867679481 at 10 a.m. PST in the USA and Canada.

Stay up to speed with the latest scientific findings, stay safe and make your home a Wellness Home!

 

1 https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/03/preventing-the-spread-of-coronavirus-starts-with-basic-hygiene/