Air Purifiers

Your Complete Guide to Pet Dander and Pet Allergies Once and For All

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You love your pet. But sometimes your pet doesn’t love you back, and they don’t even know it. Sneezing, runny nose, coughing and the itchiest eyes you’ve ever experienced. The culprit? Pet dander. That unfortunate trait our furry and feathered friends bring with them. What’s worse? Unlike other allergens, pet dander has a unique shape that makes it stick around a lot longer than you even realized. 

But before you banish your favorite four-legged or winged companion to a life of living outside, or determine pets aren’t for your family, there are options to consider for minimizing the effects of pet dander. It starts with understanding your body’s reaction to dander, taking simple steps to reduce dander, and introducing simple solutions that do the work for you. 

 

What is pet dander, and why the allergy symptoms?

Just like humans, our pets are constantly shedding dead skin cells. While this is a sign of a healthy animal, it does cause some issues for those with dander sensitivities. Your body is built to reject anything they see as a foreign substance, and for many — that means pet dander. Your body produces antibodies that attack allergens when they see them as a threat. Even when they’re not. It’s this autoimmune response that results in the symptoms we know as allergic reactions. That means, in order to decrease your symptoms — you need to decrease the thing that’s causing them. 

 

What Actions Can I Take?

With a little effort, we can keep these allergens to a minimum by creating a cleaner environment and limiting exposure. Having a consistent routine will go a long way to control these surface-level allergens. 

 

Consider your space and how you decorate.

Pet dander is easily trapped, so eliminating places for it to hide is the first step in designing a space that works for you and your family. Carpeting, soft surfaces, decor with extra crevices, and high-pile accent pillows are all perfect spots for pet dander. Swap out for sleeker surfaces and fewer textiles, all simpler to clean and fight against pet dander staying in place. 

Designate your bedroom as pet-free.

While we love to have our animals in the bedroom, for those suffering with the most severe allergies, sleeping without your pet is an easy way to help minimize your symptoms. When your pet sleeps with you, their dander gets into the bedding, the same bedding we often pull around our faces. Or, as is the trait of many felines, they attempt to get closer to you by sleeping near your face and on your pillow. By keeping your bedroom for humans only, you increase your chances of a sneeze-free night of peaceful sleep. 

Create a cleaning schedule that is easy to follow.

Minimizing dander on surfaces means establishing a routine of common household cleaning. Vacuuming, mopping, dusting and regularly doing laundry are all part of a healthy solution for reducing allergy symptoms. Creating a regular schedule helps to ensure the habit is an easy one to establish. 

  • Daily: Vacuum hard surfaces using a high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter vacuum, and especially focus on heavy pet traffic areas where a lot of play happens. If your pet has bedding in common spaces, give it a once over with the vacuum as well. Consider the materials of your pet’s bed, and look for easy to clean options so this isn’t a chore.
  • Weekly: Keep up with your laundry and remember any clothing items you might have been wearing while close to your pet. Regularly wash any blankets or towels used by or with your pets, and don’t overlook any soft surface toys they might regularly play with. Swap in laundry detergent that is labeled as anti-allergen. Dust hard surfaces throughout your home, using a microfiber cloth to capture the most dust particles. For heavy use areas, mop after a thorough vacuum or sweeping.
  • Monthly: Address any out of the way spaces that aren’t regularly dusted, vacuumed, or mopped. Create a habit of working your way through your house, staying on top of dust that might collect on baseboards and other out of sight surfaces. 

Regularly bathe and groom your pet.

Within the guidelines set for your pet’s breed, a regular bathing calendar helps minimize the amount of dander a pet releases by containing it to your bathtub, sink, or outside. For dogs and cats, it also helps to brush their fur either daily for longhaired breeds, or weekly for shorter hair. It’s critical to understand your breed’s needs, however, to ensure your pet’s skin remains healthy and doesn’t get overly dry – dry skin can create even more dander. 

Wash your hands frequently.

As you interact with your pet, washing your hands directly after rinses off any pet dander that might cling to your hands and eventually interact with your eyes, nose and skin. This also has the added benefit of keeping other illnesses at bay.

How Can Your House Do the Work for You?

While efforts to minimize dander on surfaces is important, this still doesn’t tackle the pet dander found in the air itself. An air purifier system from Honeywell is a stress-free way to take this on. Compact, portable units are the perfect option for your home. 

 

How do Honeywell Air Purifiers dependably tackle pet dander?

Setting up an air purifier that uses HEPA filtration helps clear the air of sensitive allergens. Founded on over 25 years of excellence, Honeywell Air Purifiers like those in the Allergen Plus, InSight®, PowerPlus and Designer Series help capture up to 99.97% of microscopic airborne allergens and particles 0.3 microns or larger. At 4.8 room air changes per hour, as independently tested and AHAM Verifide for Clean Air Delivery Rate, you can be confident that your air is effectively circulating and decreasing symptom-causing pet dander particles.

The Honeywell Designer Series HEPA Tower is a powerful indoor air purifier with a  filter that  gets it all done at a sound level just above a whisper, due to the UltraQuiet Technology with Sleep Mode that allows running at only 32dB. This makes it a great air purifier for pet allergies. And as an added bonus, you’ll notice a reduction in odors for a fresher smelling home overall. 

Change your filters. It’s always important to follow a calendar and change your filters in your HVAC system and your air purifier, as based on the recommendations for your model. Use Honeywell Air purifiers with optional enhanced odor filters, like the Pet Odor Filter. These specially formulated filters have activated carbon and zeolite to help capture and absorb odors unique to pets. So even when you can’t get to your regular cleaning schedule, your HVAC and purifying systems can give you peace of mind that your home will still be a place of comfort for you and your pets. 

Explore Honeywell Air Purifies

References: 
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pet-allergy/symptoms-causes/syc-20352192 

Filter Facts: What is the Difference Between a HEPA Filter & a Pre-Filter?

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You’ll come across the terms “HEPA filter” and “pre-filter” when shopping for an air purifier. Understanding what these filters do will help you purchase an air purifier that will do the job you need. Let’s take an unfiltered look at air purifier filters.

 

Buy an Air Purifier With the Filtration You Need

Filters might be the most important parts of air purifiers. You want to be sure that your air purifier’s filters capture the airborne particles polluting your indoor air. You want filtration that captures pet dander, for example, if your child is allergic to it.

So, what are HEPA filters and pre-filters? How are they different? Do you need an air purifier with both? Let’s compare them.

 

You Want an Air Purifier with HEPA Filtration 

Air purifiers work by sucking in dirty air, forcing the air through a filter, and returning cleaner, fresher air to the room. Air purifiers that use high-efficiency particulate air filters — HEPA filters— are highly effective at capturing certain microscopic airborne non-living allergens and particles.

Honeywell InSight Series and Allergen Plus Series Air Purifiers use HEPA filters and are engineered to remove up to 99.97% of dust, pollen, pet dander, dust mite debris, smoke, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds, gasses, or chemicals emitted by a variety of household products) from your home’s air. 

HEPA filtration will help reduce your family’s exposure to these microscopic allergens and particles that infiltrate your home. Providing your household with cleaner, fresher air on an ongoing basis will give you peace of mind.

 

Pre-Filters Make a Significant Difference

Pre-filters may be the unsung heroes of air filtration: They’re the first line of defense against indoor pollution. Some pre-filters contribute more than you might think. They can deodorize air, capture larger airborne particles, and help extend your HEPA filter's life.

Air purifiers with pre-filters enable you to take more control of the air your loved ones and guests breathe. Honeywell activated carbon pre-filters can help deodorize a room’s air by trapping gasses and common household odors, like those from cooking and pets. An air purifier with HEPA filtration and pre-filtering gives you a formidable one-two punch.

 

Air Purifier Filters Demystified

You can make an informed air purifier purchase now that you know your pre-filters from your HEPA filters — and the powerful combination they make. 

Here are a few final tips for getting the best performance from a new air purifier: Choose an air purifier that suits the square footage of your room. You might need a tabletop air purifier for a room of 90 square feet and a console unit for an extra-large, 500 square foot space. 

Be sure to use genuine HEPA filters and pre-filters from your air purifier’s manufacturer, and change them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. You’ll breathe a sigh of relief.

Help Ease Indoor Allergy Symptoms this Fall and Winter Season

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By Ted Myatt, Sc.D., Senior Environmental Scientist, Environmental Health and Engineering, Inc. 

If you’re allergic to pollen, you may get a break when the weather gets cold as pollen in outdoor air dissipates as the temperature cools. However, some people may experience allergy symptoms in the fall and winter as well. If this is you, you might be wondering why you are experiencing allergies in the winter when there’s seemingly no pollen in the air.

 

Why Can Allergies be Worse in the Fall and Winter?

Americans spend roughly 70% of their time indoors at home, with an even higher percentage in the winter¹. Therefore, the indoor environment in the home is likely to have a major impact on any allergy symptoms.  As the seasons shift to fall and winter, many homeowners transition to closing windows and turning on heating systems. By closing windows, the amount of outdoor air coming into the home is reduced². The result is allergens and pollutants can be trapped indoors, with concentrations found to be much higher than what one would find outdoors.

Allergens with indoor sources such as pet allergens and dust mites are also trapped inside during the winter. All of these allergens are exacerbated with less air circulation due to closed windows.

Some common indoor allergy triggers are:

  • Dust mites debris. While their allergen containing droppings do not remain airborne long, they are aerosolized when you sit down on bedding or shake out blankets.
  • Pets. Most people are not allergic to animal fur, but rather to a protein found in the cat and dog dander, saliva, and urine.

How can an air purifier help offer relief indoors?

Allergens and pollutants like smoke that can trigger allergies can be small particles that can remain airborne for long periods of time. Even allergens with larger particles (e.g., dust mite debris, pollen) can be captured by an air purifier when they are resuspended by fluffing pillows or sitting on a bed. Numerous studies have shown that the use of HEPA air purifiers can effectively reduce indoor air levels of these allergens, which in turn reduces exposure to these allergens.  

How do you get the most out of your air purifier? 

  • Ensure the air purifier is appropriately sized for the room it is located in. Look for the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). CADR indicates the volume of filtered air an air cleaner delivers³. The CADR information for the air purifier will identify the appropriate size of room for the model. A good rule of thumb is the CADR of your air purifier should be equal to at least two-thirds of the room’s area.
  • For maximum benefit, you should close the doors and windows of the room with the air purifier and run the air purifier where you spend the most time (for example, in the bedroom while you sleep).
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for replacement of filters and ensure the filter is correctly installed in the air purifier housing.
  • Position the air purifier in an area free of obstructions. It doesn’t have to be in the middle of the room but it shouldn’t be flush against a wall or piece of furniture either. Be aware of where air is coming into the purifier and where purified air is released.


What else can you do to help minimize indoor allergens during colder months?

  • Use an allergy-proof mattress and pillow covers
  • Keep your bathroom clean and dry (replace moldy  shower curtains).
  • Do a monthly check of trouble areas to ensure there is no damp areas of leaks (for example, under sinks and in the basement). If you do find leaks, make the repair and ensure the area is dry and free of mold growth.
  • Ensure that fireplaces are well ventilated to avoid irritant smoke from entering the room. Additionally, make sure fireplace wood is dry. A special smoke filter used in an air purifier can also help reduce smoke odors and pollutants.
  • Minimize or eliminate the use of candles and incense.
  • Wash bedding regularly in hot water.
  • If you have a furry pet that someone in the house is allergic to, don’t allow the pet to sleep in the room of the allergy sufferer. Additionally, using a filter designed to eliminate pet odor may help to ease symptoms.
  • Use a HEPA vacuum routinely to remove settled allergens on floors and furniture.
  • For homes with forced air heating or cooling, choose a filter with at least a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13 rating, or as high a rating as your system can accommodate (4).

People with seasonal allergies don’t have to suffer all year: while different allergens may be present in the home during the cold and winter months, there are numerous steps that can be taken to help alleviate symptoms. An air purifier is a great way to improve the quality of air in your home during the colder seasons, creating a cleaner home for the winter, easing allergy symptoms along the way.

Learn more about the different types of air purifiers, and choose the right one for you.

 

[1] Klepeis N, Nelson W, Ott W, Robinson J, Tsang A, Switzer P, Behar J, Hern S, & Engelmann W. The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): a resource for assessing exposure to environmental pollutants. J Exp Sci Environ Epidemiol, 2001. 11(3): p. 231-52.
[2] Wallace L, Emmerich S, Howard-Redd C. Continuous measurements of air change rates in an occupied house for 1 year: The effect of temperature, wind, fans, and windows. J Exp Sci Environ Epidemiol, 2002. 12: p. 296-306.
[3] Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). Air Filtration Standards. https://ahamverifide.org/ahams-air-filtration-standards/
[4] U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home, 2nd Edition Portable Air Cleaners, Furnace and HVAC Filters. https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2018-07/documents/guide_to_air_cleaners_in_the_home_2nd_edition.pdf

Holiday Gift Guide for the Interior Design Lover

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We’ve all got that friend or family member. Take one step into their personal space, and you instantly know they’ve intentionally styled what you see. Their rooms are a vibe, full of energy and flow. You swear you’ve walked right into a magazine. We love these people in our lives who make our surroundings beautiful, and we want to give them gifts that reflect how much we recognize their passion. So, what to get? Read on for thoughtful ideas that celebrate how fond you are of who they are and how they see the world!

 

Design is Progressive and Complete: Gifts That Use What’s There

Interior designers look at a room from all the angles, and think about the space progressively. Textures, flow, variation, rhythm, color, lines, and light can all be at play when it comes to design choices. This means you have plenty of opportunities to find a great gift. Anything that layers into the existing palate is a welcomed addition — just pay attention to what is already there. A safe bet is to lean into this existing design, identifying a color or texture or line that is already in place. You now have a cheat sheet for finding something that will only further complement a style, be it through a unique tabletop piece or textiles like throws, pillows, or linens. After all, your loved one is basically telling you what they’d pick out for themselves — because they already have!

 

Design is Consistent: Gifts That Come as Sets

A simple gift can also come in the form of a set, which introduces continuity in an environment. Decorative bottles, luxury towels, or kitchen pieces are all wonderful options to consider. Take the kitchen, for example. Pulling together standard utensils and serving ware into a set allows a homeowner satisfaction knowing the look is consistent. A good option is OXO Cooking and Baking items. They make for a one stop shop where you can find everything from utensil sets to Glass Bake, Serve & Store sets.  

 

Design Removes Stress: Gifts for Organizing and Order

The best designed environments recognize that every part of the room – is part of the room. It’s not just what you see, but what you don’t see, that matters. Your interior designer knows finding smart ways to eliminate clutter increases calm and introduces much welcomed order. And when it comes to it, OXO Cleaning & Organization solutions are spot on. They offer lots of great options for gift giving, including clever food storage containers. Their POP technology creates an airtight seal while the streamlined aesthetic is perfect for the most updated of kitchens, both in the Good Grips and Steel collections. 

 

Design Everything: Gifts That Clean Air

Once everything is tucked away, we’re still left with an often-overlooked element of design. A designed experience is not only what you do and don’t see, but it’s also what you breathe. You can help your favorite designer level up this holiday with a sleek air purifier that does it all. Not only will The Honeywell Designer HEPA Tower for Medium/Large rooms create a space you and your guests can enjoy being in, filtered for dust and other non-living allergens, but it comes with a perfectly placed essential oils tray. This sleek air purifier packs a punch. It allows your interior designer a way to thoughtfully create a space where everyone can breathe easier, and allows stress-reducing and relaxing essential oil diffusion. All in one unit. 

 

Design Involves Resources: Gifts Go Digital

Today’s world also allows for lots of digital solutions when it comes to interior design. If you’re still not confident that you can pick the perfect gift, consider a subscription to any number of online platforms that bring a designer’s vision to life. You can find everything from color matching tools to virtual room designers. If you know someone with advanced skills that might be looking to design for others, you can always get them started with software that allows designing, drafting, and precision drawings to take design to the next level.

 

As you head into the holiday, be confident that your favorite interior designer is no longer an impossible task to shop for. You can show how much you appreciate them with an intentional gift that represents their intentional passions. 

The Science Behind Why Sleeping With an Air Purifier Helps

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When was the last time you enjoyed a full night of high-quality sleep? Without tossing and turning or disruptions? One in three American adults don’t get the minimum seven hours a night recommended for maintaining good health. 

Have you thought about the air quality in your home? Consider what an air purifier can do for your sleep. Indoor air can be five times more polluted than the air outdoors. Breathing dust, pollen, pet dander, dust mite debris, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) inside your house can reduce your family’s sleep quality – especially if any of you suffer from allergies. The right air purifier can help address these irritants that might be affecting your sleep.


How Air Purifiers Work

Allergens are carried into or generated by things inside your home. A pet, for example, coming in from the yard, could bring pollen and spread dander in every room it visits.  These tiny allergens can become airborne and are difficult to capture without an air purifier. 

Honeywell InSight™ Series and Allergen Plus Series air purifiers suck in dirty air using a fan which forces the air through a HEPA filter. It’s worth noting that Honeywell air purifiers have been independently tested and AHAM Verified® for Clean Air Delivery Rate. Improving your home’s air quality is an excellent way to set the stage for better sleep.


What To Look For in an Air Purifier 

Look for an air purifier that uses HEPA filters, as described above. If odors and smoke are household sleep disruptors, look for devices that use additional filters specially designed to remove them.

How big is the room where you’ll use the air purifier? Honeywell InSight™ Series and Allergen Plus Series devices range from tabletop air purifiers designed for use in small rooms up to 90 square feet to larger devices engineered for use in extra-large rooms up to 530 square feet.

Honeywell air purifiers feature UltraQuiet technology, with a Sleep Mode of only 32 decibels, which is very quiet. That small amount shouldn’t keep anyone from sleeping, and it may help those who appreciate a tiny bit of white noise.

 

Sleep Easier

A final thought: If breathing more comfortably at night is your key to better sleep, consider using a humidifier along with an air purifier. A humidifier can help keep your nose and throat hydrated, and temporarily relieve coughing, sinus irritation, and congestion caused by dry air. 

You and your family spend a lot of time inside your home. You deserve a comfortable indoor environment with cleaner air that helps you get the sleep you need. 


EXPLORE HONEYWELL AIR PURIFIERS AND HUMIDIFIERS

19 Ways to Make House Guests Comfortable That You've Never Even Thought Of

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If you enjoy having house guests, you’re always looking for ways to make them comfortable in your home. Here’s a list of fresh ideas to inspire you, room by room! Try out the ones that complement your tried-and-true techniques. The perfect combination will result in comfortable guests and a happy host! 


Kitchen

1. Make welcome baskets. The more personal the goodies, the better. Stuff baskets with guests’ favorite childhood snacks. If you can’t find baskets, gift bags are no less pleasing when filled with treats that make guests’ hearts sing. Refrigerate perishables.

2. Keep dietary restrictions in mind when planning meals. Ask guests about sensitivities ahead of time if you’re unsure. They’ll appreciate it. Being unaware of a visitor’s peanut or seafood allergy could have serious consequences.

 

Bathroom

3. Fold plush bath towels into swans, spa-style. You’ll enjoy doing it, and guests will love posting them on Instagram. Minimal effort; maximum smiles!

4. A few travel-size fancy toiletries won’t break the bank and will make house guests feel special. Remind guests they’re theirs to take home.

5. Don’t forget about night lights. Guests, young and old, can get confused or hurt looking for the bathroom in a dark, unfamiliar house. 

 

Bedroom

6. If you’re hosting a bad sleeper, give them the bedroom with the window coverings that block out the most light. Controlling the amount of light in a room is a must for creating a sleep oasis — a bedroom equipped to promote restfulness and quality sleep. Well-rested guests are pleasant, energetic guests.

7. A sleeping mask is an inexpensive solution if an exceptionally dark room isn’t available. It turns any environment into a peaceful, light-free zone for the wearer. 

8. Controlling a bedroom’s nighttime temperature is another must-have for establishing a sleep oasis. Temperatures between 60 and 67 degrees F can create a better sleeping environment.  If your guest room or area runs a little too cool or too warm, consider a multi-funtional heater and fan, like the Honeywell VersaHeat 2-in-1 Heater + Fan.

9. A smart speaker, paired with smart plugs, will enable guests to control lights using voice commands from the comfort of their bed. 

10. Make a calming music playlist and furnish it to guests via the smart speaker.

11. A selection of books will please the literary-minded and those who fall asleep upon opening a book in soft light. 

12. Consider letting an air purifier do double duty for you. White noise helps some fall and stay asleep. And in addition to its tranquil, sleep-promoting UltraQuiet Technology, the Honeywell Designer Series HEPA Tower helps clean the air of dust and certain other non-living airborne allergens. It provides HEPA air purification for medium-large rooms, changing the air 4.8 per hour in rooms up to 190 square feet. After your guests return home, an air purifier will continue serving your household. 

13. Essential oils can help lift your mood. The Honeywell Designer Series HEPA Tower features an essential oil tray for optional aromatherapy.

14. A room’s humidity can be a vital contributor to occupants’ comfort. Sleeping with a humidifier’s moisture can temporarily relieve chapped lips and dry skin and keep nasal passages and throats hydrated. Honeywell Humidifier Ultrasonic technology offers quiet operation for peaceful sleep. Honeywell humidifiers can be used in bedrooms of all sizes.

15. Having dependable internet is required. While occasional digital detoxing is recommended, visitors might have to work online. Such is modern life. Be supportive. Want to be a hero? Have chargers available for guests’ phones — and maybe even a universal power converter-adapter for visitors from outside the U.S.

16. Leave a fresh pitcher of water and clean glassware on your guest’s nightstand to ensure they’re hydrated and have access to water to take any nighttime or morning medications. The PUR PLUS 7 Cup Pitcher is a sleek option for great-tasting water. 

 

Living Room

17. Plan quiet time for the house during sleeping hours, kids’ naps, or if you or a guest are remote-working. 

18. Child-proof the house. Stow precious breakables. Cover your swimming pool securely. And feel secure.

19. Have pets? Vacuum dander and other microscopic, airborne allergens from carpets, furniture, and drapes before guests arrive. A Honeywell Air Purifier can help clean indoor air stirred up by vacuum cleaners without HEPA filtration.

 

Consider adding a Honeywell Air Purifier or Humidifier to any of the rooms in your house. You and your guests will breathe easier. 

8 Practical Ways to Help Protect Yourself and Your Family From Wildfire Smoke

8 Practical Ways to Help Protect Yourself and Your Family From Wildfire Smoke

 

Did you know smoke from wildfires can sometimes travel thousands of miles from the fire itself? That’s right — wildfire smoke can affect air in communities thousands of miles away. Fortunately, the amount of smoke arriving from such a distance is likely to be small. But even small amounts of smoke can affect our health. For example, in July 2021, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services advised sensitive individuals to limit outdoor exertion as a result of fine particle air pollution from wildfires in central and western Canada and the western United States. 

Exposure to the tiny airborne particles of burned materials — wood, plastics, and metals, for example — that comprise wildfire smoke can result in a scratchy throat, stinging eyes, and more. 

For many, simply staying indoors with the windows shut isn’t a viable option. And, even if it is, some studies suggest that indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air. So, how can you and your family minimize the effects of wildfire smoke before, during, and after wildfire season? 


Before Wildfire Season Starts

 

1. Create an evacuation plan. 

While smoke from a wildfire can cause serious problems, your first concern should always be remaining safe from the wildfire itself. Your goal is to be prepared if local authorities instruct you to leave the area. Follow their instructions. The best way to limit exposure to wildfire smoke is to avoid it.

Get familiar with more than one route leading out of your area. 
Know which roads lead to local shelters. If you evacuate to a shelter, inform the staff of family members’ medical conditions, such as asthma.

Have N95 respirator masks ready to go for adult household members. 
They offer adults some protection from unavoidable exposure to wildfire smoke. Note that N95 respirator masks are not made to fit children. Surgical masks, dust masks, and bandanas will not protect children from wildfire smoke. Evacuating is the best way to protect them.

Have a 7- to 10-day supply of family members’ necessary medications in reserve.
Store them in clearly labeled containers that are waterproof and childproof.

Plan for the safety of your pets and livestock. 
Shelters that take in people might not accept animals. Many pet websites offer information about local animal shelters and rescue groups. 


2. Protect Your Home in Advance

Designate at least one “clean room” in your home. 
If local authorities advise residents to stay indoors, it would be ideal to have a space with filtered air available  — especially if your household contains children, loved ones with chronic conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or pregnant family members. 

Set up an air purifier that uses HEPA filters.
Air purifiers that use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are more effective against wildfire smoke than air purifiers that don’t. HEPA filters remove up to 99.97% of dust, pollen, smoke and non-living airborne particles 0.3 microns and larger. All Honeywell InSight® Series Air Purifiers use HEPA filters and odor-reducing pre-filters, and are engineered for use with smoke-reducing pre-filters that may help remove smoke odors up to 4.5 times faster. Select an air purifier for the square footage of the room where it will be used. Honeywell InSight® Series Air Purifiers can change a room’s air 4.8 times an hour and are available as towers or consoles.

Change your filters. One way that smoke can infiltrate your home is through your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, and most HVAC companies recommend changing your air filter every three months. Before fire season, check to ensure your HVAC filter has been changed within the last three months. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure you have changed out your air purifier filter within the previous six months, so it’s ready to work at its optimal rate once it’s time.

Reduce infiltration. 
The process by which air enters your home is called “infiltration,” and there are small steps you can take prior to wildfire season that will help keep your home’s air quality more safe. The National Parks Service recommends weatherizing your house to reduce infiltration — caulking cracks, sealing an unused fireplace, and adding weatherstripping. Added bonus? This will help ensure your home is not only more safe from smoke infiltration but also is more energy efficient. 


If Wildfire Smoke Reaches Your Home 

 

3. Stay informed of wildfire, smoke, weather, and road conditions. 
Real-time, local information can help your household make decisions, like whether or not to evacuate, more safely. Check AirNow’s Fire and Smoke Map and NOAA’s Fire Weather page frequently on your phone or computer. Tune in to local tv or radio for alerts about road closures. 


4. Keep an eye on your loved ones.
Follow local authorities’ recommendations about exercise and going outside for sensitive individuals. If you or a family member has trouble breathing or experiences other symptoms that don’t improve, continue limiting exposure to wildfire smoke and seek medical care. If it is safe to evacuate, consider doing so. 


5. Reduce your smoke exposure.
Keep windows and doors closed. Don’t smoke. Don’t use gas, propane, or wood-burning stoves or furnaces. Don’t spray aerosol products, fry food, or burn candles or incense. These activities will add particulate matter to the air in your home and may affect family members’ breathing. 


6. Use your “clean” room.
Remember that indoor air can be five times more polluted than outdoor air. Turn on your air purifier and try to spend the majority of your time in this room. Make sure it’s fitted with smoke-reducing filters you’ve changed within the past six months. 

In addition to cleaning the air, you should also be cleaning your home itself. According to The New York Times, during and after a wildfire, smoke particles will inevitably settle on surfaces and flooring, so using a damp mop or cloth to clean more than usual is recommended. Perhaps unsurprisingly, clothes and household linens may also benefit from more frequent laundering. 


After the Smoke Has Cleared

 

7. Listen to local news and authorities.
If you evacuated your household, do not return home until local authorities announce it is safe. If you’ve returned home — or if you never had to leave — continue to monitor local air quality. Smoke can stay in the air for days after wildfires have ended. 

Wildfire smoke may not be easy to see outdoors, but even haziness can be hazardous to your health. Seek immediate medical attention or dial 911 if you experience shortness of breath, a cough that won’t stop, or other irritations that are not going away.


8. Clean up!
While the fire is still active, it’s important to mop, wipe surfaces, and launder linens more frequently than usual. But now that the fire is over, you’ll want to conduct a couple of deep cleanings over the next couple of weeks, being sure to clean your blinds, curtains, linens, rugs, and floors. Children and other sensitive family members should not participate in any clean-up efforts, as it can harm their health. 

 

What You're Breathing In during a Wildfire

wildfire smoke

A wildfire can have tragic and widespread effects, and one of the farthest-reaching dangers is the smoke it produces.

Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of substances that can negatively impact health. The issue is compounded by the fact that wildfire smoke can travel for thousands of miles, polluting the air nearby and far from the fire itself.

Take a look at some of the things you could breathe in during a wildfire, and learn why it’s important to limit your exposure to wildfire smoke.

 

What’s in wildfire smoke?

Wildfires often burn more than trees – buildings and man-made materials can also be burned. The result is not only increased devastation, but smoke that contains a wide variety of pollutants, including:

  • Fine particulate matter.
    Burning breaks down material into tiny particles that can get into your eyes, nose and throat, causing irritation. The tiniest particles are called “fine particulate matter” – they have a maximum diameter of 2.5 micrometers (20 times smaller than the width of a human hair). Fine particulate matter is dangerous because it can get deep into lungs and potentially cause or worsen problems with breathing and overall health.

                   According to the EPA, fine particles make up approximately 90% of the total particle mass emitted from wildfires.

  • Byproducts of burning wood and vegetation.
    Many people think that wood smoke smells good, but it actually contains harmful substances. Smoke from wood and organic matter can contain known carcinogens such as benzene and formaldehyde.
  • Byproducts of burning building materials.
    Treated lumber, plastics, metals and a wide range of building materials may burn in a wildfire. The gasses and particles that are released can include an enormous range of irritants and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can harm health. 
  • Ozone
    Ozone gas is not released by wildfires, but it can be produced in the air as wildfire smoke moves downwind, especially in urban and industrial areas. Ozone can irritate the throat and lungs, exacerbating conditions such as asthma.

 

What can you do to protect yourself from wildfire smoke?

While wildfire smoke is a definite menace, there are many things you can do to limit your exposure to it when wildfires are occurring:

  • Protect your indoor air.
    Keep your windows and exterior doors closed, and use air purifiers with HEPA filters to reduce smoke particles in your air.
  • Limit outdoor activity.
    Don’t exercise outside or let your children play outside. If you live close to a wildfire and need to be outdoors, talk to your doctor about using an N-95 or P-100 mask. 
  • Know your air quality.
    Sites like airnow.gov and airquality.weather.gov provide fast information on the air quality in your area, including levels of fine particulates, ozone, and larger pollutants like dust.

By educating yourself about wildfire smoke and the air quality where you live, you can take steps to protect yourself and your family from potential health impacts.

Get help with protecting your indoor air quality: learn more about Air Purifiers.