As the weather turns, perhaps your employees are popping more antihistamines than you’ve previously noticed, or maybe more of your clients or tenants appear equipped with a family-size pack of tissues.
In any case, as we turn the corner into winter, a new wave of seasonal allergies will undoubtedly rear its head.
And as winter allergies are not borne of outdoor allergens, one of the best methods to mitigate persistent symptoms is to simply optimize the indoor air quality of a given property.
Winter Allergies, Winter Woes
While autumn is known as a period of seasonal suffering for most, others may find themselves bracing for the untimely discomfort of winter. But unlike most other periods of the year, winter allergies are the result of preexisting indoor environmental factors, as opposed to exposure to outdoor triggers.
In fact, as the traditional outdoor irritants die off in the cold weather, a building’s inhabitants are more likely to unwittingly bundle themselves up in a tightly sealed environment with irritants and allergens already circulating in their HVAC systems.
“Unlike fall or spring allergies, which are often responses to outdoor allergens, such as pollen or ragweed, most winter allergies are triggered by substances inside your home,” according to Harvard Health Publishing. “Common indoor allergens include dust mites, mold, and pet dander, and they can prompt a host of symptoms, from a runny nose and sneezing to a sore throat and itchy eyes.”
Concerns in the Age of COVID-19
In years past, one may have simply gotten the influenza vaccine and shouldered their winter allergies with mild discomfort. This year, however, you may find your clients or residents are experiencing heightened anxiety as they mistake their respiratory irritation for potential COVID-19 symptoms.
But one of the easiest ways to distinguish whether one is dealing with allergies or the novel coronavirus is to take a moment to consider the consistency of their symptoms.
“Most allergy sufferers develop similar symptoms no matter what allergen they’re reacting to,” President Todd Mah of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) explained. “When you have a stuffy or runny nose, itchy, watery eyes or sneezing and coughing, you know you’re probably allergic to something.”
Thus, consistent symptoms mean consistent allergy triggers — not a viral contraction. Additionally, if they’re liable to suffer these allergies year-round, this may be another indication that the property in question is in need of a more thorough and comprehensive indoor air quality strategy.
Saying “No” to Seasonal Sniffles
Once you’ve committed to renewing your focus on indoor air quality, there are a variety of steps to take to begin to mitigate exposure to winter allergens.
For instance, increasing a building’s ventilation may aid one’s indoor environmental endeavors, as, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “ventilation also helps remove or dilute indoor airborne pollutants coming from indoor sources [and] reduces the level of contaminants.”
Otherwise, one would be wise to consistently clean and vacuum soft surfaces (so that allergens do not become resuspended in the air), invest in a HEPA filter for their HVAC system, install a portable air purifier, remediate present mold, and brush/bathe their pets regularly if pet dander is an allergy trigger.
But how can you actually know what your indoor air quality is even after taking all these precautions and investing in infiltration or HVAC cleanings in the hopes that they work? The InstaScope’s air quality assessment technology is the perfect technology for service providers to assess air quality for their clients and inform best practices.
Using biofluorescent technology to capture and identify airborne particulate matter in real-time, the InstaScope is a powerful form of indoor environmental tech designed to equip inspectors, building managers, and sanitization professionals alike with the ability to sample and analyze a space an unlimited number of times in one session. Plus, not only can it help one to identify the sources that may cause mold issues and eventually respiratory irritation in people, but it can be used to confirm the total biological loading of airborne particles as regularly as service providers need.
To learn more about how the InstaScope can help you combat winter allergens, contact DetectionTek today by calling 720-410-7030 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!