July 10, 2019
Today, diagnosing and treating seasonal allergies (allergic rhinitis) is fairly easy. If you suspect that your symptoms are linked to outdoor allergens, you can take an allergy test to reveal exactly what your immune system is reacting to (and what to avoid). But what if your allergy symptoms don’t track to a clear source or follow a predictable pattern?
An estimated 45 million Americans suffer from some form of nonallergic rhinitis. Nonallergic rhinitis can be triggered by fluctuations in the weather, changes in your indoor environment, or alterations to your diet and medications. Although this condition produces the same symptoms as allergic rhinitis (sneezing, congestion, coughing, and runny nose), it can’t be diagnosed from an allergy test or treated with antihistamines.
If your allergy test came back negative and your doctor has ruled-out infection, medication, and diet triggers, it's likely that your indoor environment is at fault for your discomfort. Your Awair device can help you identify your unique triggers and uncover ways to feel healthier in your space.
Tracking your symptoms will help you identify patterns and narrow down the list of potential triggers. Your symptom journal can be a physical notepad, or a digital document on your smartphone. Whatever note taking style you prefer, make sure to record:
Set up your Awair 2nd Edition to track temperature, humidity, CO2, Chemicals (VOCs), and fine dust (PM2.5) levels in your home. When you experience allergy-like symptoms indoors, open the Awair app and record the current values for each factor in your symptoms journal. You can also navigate to "trends" to see how each factor fluctuates throughout the day and how the current trend compares to that of previous days.
Some types of nonallergic rhinitis are triggered by moving from one extreme environment to another. In the summertime, for example, your symptoms may worsen as you travel between hot and humid outdoor environments and over-air conditioned buildings. If you suspect that your symptoms are related to the weather, look up outdoor humidity and temperature levels in your Awair app and add these factors to your journal entries.
After two weeks, review the data you've collected and see if any correlations become apparent. Do you find yourself coughing more when humidity drops below 40 percent? Do you sneeze more just after cooking a meal when PM2.5 levels are highest? Tracking environmental factors in correlation with your symptoms will help you recognize if and where patterns exist.
Oftentimes, environmental factors like fine dust and chemicals can be influenced by your habits and the products you use. If you find that your PM2.5 or chemical levels are consistently high, you can use your Awair device to troubleshoot the effectiveness of different solutions.
Placing multiple Awair devices throughout your space will give you insight into how your air quality varies between rooms — and where to focus your attention. For instance, you may find that humidity levels are highest in your bathroom and that humidity rises in surrounding rooms after you shower. If that’s the case, cleaning your bathroom ventilation system and running your bathroom fan when you shower may help to keep indoor humidity levels healthy.
In some instances, getting relief from your symptoms may require changing your habits. For example, you may be sensitive to dust or mold, but find that your symptoms seem to worsen after cleaning your home. Although cleaning is a great way to keep fine dust and mold in check, the cleaning products you’re using may be adding VOCs to your air and aggravating your symptoms further. In addition to properly ventilating your space, think about ways to cut down on the amount of indoor pollution you generate.
If changing your behaviors doesn't have a significant impact on your air quality, you may need to invest in another appliance (such as an air purifier, humidifier, dehumidifier, or fan) to help circulate your air and keep your home healthy. To make things even easier, you can plug your chosen device into Awair Glow to automatically manage your environment and power on the device when readings become unhealthy.
Ready to begin investigating your allergy symptoms with your Awair device? Download our Symptoms Journal Template below to get started.
We know. It's difficult to believe the winter solstice and the holiday season are already here. Unfortunately, the cold season is one of the worst times of year for indoor air quality, either at home or at work. People huddle inside tightly-sealed buildings and trade ventilation for heating. This traps pollutants and moisture in, which is a recipe for bad air.
While it can be easy to view extreme weather events as only impacting the outdoor space, this is far from the truth. When natural disasters hit, they affect our indoor air quality (IAQ) and can increase the risk of health conditions. In fact, in 2020, “36 counties in Washington, Oregon, and California experienced very unhealthy air quality ratings due to particulate matter from wildfire season,” according to NPR’s analysis of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data.
We spend about ⅓ of our lives asleep, so it’s important not to cut corners on the necessities that help us achieve a good night’s rest. Most of us looking to improve our sleep quality will look into upgrading our mattress, especially since the National Sleep Foundation recommends replacing your mattress every 5 to 10 years. But what if a new mattress could potentially make your quality of sleep worse?