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10 Antiviral Essential Oils to Purify Your Air & Protect Your Health During Covid-19
Sometimes it can seem like no matter what we do to stop it, coronavirus just keeps on coming back.
It is, however, important not to lose sight of one fact: here in Ontario, we are making progress.
In fact, even as you are reading this, Ontario is preparing to open back up – exciting news for many small (and large) businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
We also now know so much more about COVID-19, the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, and how to protect ourselves when we are in public spaces.
But there is always more to learn. In this week’s blog post, we tackle a favourite new topic here at Clean Air Solutions – how to boost your immune system in natural ways that will also purify your air and give you extra antiviral protection.
Powerful Anti-Viral & Immune Boosting Essential Oils
It is important to note that we don’t have any research yet that specifically links essential oils with COVID-19; however, we do know that certain essential oils have some ability to fight off other viruses, including some strains of influenza and related viruses.
There is also existing research linking the use of certain essential oils to an improvement in respiratory symptoms known to occur with COVID-19.
1. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is a time-honored remedy for chest congestion, stimulating productive coughing that can loosen and thin mucus and clear the lungs and respiratory passages.
Cineole is the primary active ingredient in eucalyptus. Cineole can not only ease respiratory distress but is also known to ease muscle pain and tension that often accompanies illness.
2. Oregano Essential Oil
Carvacrol and thymol are the active ingredients in oil of oregano that can inhibit the growth and replication of viruses, bacteria and fungi.
If you prefer, you can also add oregano to your food to get the health benefits of these active ingredients.
3. Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger is another time-honored remedy for everything from gastric distress to respiratory infection. Ginger is also a natural aid to productive coughing that can clear the lungs and thin mucus to expel it from the respiratory passages.
Ginger can be taken as a soothing tea or added to food to get the health benefits.
4. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is naturally sanitizing against viral, bacterial and fungal threats. Tea tree oil is often used as a decongestant and anti-inflammatory agent to ease symptoms of respiratory infection, bronchitis, colds and flu and allergies. It may also repel bacteria that can cause respiratory distress.
Tea tree oil can be quite harsh if used without being diluted in a carrier oil or diffuser. You can also add a few drops to a warm bath or a pot of steaming (not boiling) water and inhale it to get the benefits.
5. Citrus Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil and sweet orange essential oil are two highly recommended citrus essential oils to ease anxiety and fight inflammation while boosting immune system function against any threats.
Fresh lemon and orange can also be added to water, cold or hot drinks and food.
6. Lavender Essential Oil
Researchers primarily recommend lavender to ease the anxiety that can cause cortisol (stress hormone) levels in the body to spike and depress immune system function.
Lavender essential oil, lavender tea and lavender-infused foods are all great ways to take in lavender.
7. Peppermint Essential Oil
Like eucalyptus essential oil, peppermint essential oil is a well-known and widely recognized remedy for easing respiratory inflammation and inducing productive coughing. Menthol is the active ingredient.
Peppermint can also be a support for gastric upset. You can take it as a tea, add it to bath water or a diffuser or mix it with a carrier oil and apply it topically.
8. Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary has the same active compound, cineole, that is present in eucalyptus as well.
Rosemary has expectorant properties to help with productive coughing, opening up the bronchial passages and easing respiratory inflammation.
Cineole is being tested for use with patients diagnosed with asthma, COPD, bronchitis and other chronic lung and respiratory conditions.
Rosemary is also a great herb to use for cooking and as an addition to salad dressings to get the benefits of the cineole.
9. Clove Essential Oil
Clove is best associated with holiday goodies, but clove actually has powerful expectorant properties to help with expelling mucus, stimulating productive coughing, easing respiratory inflammation and providing relief from discomfort.
Clove oil can also ease the secondary digestive distress that often crops up with respiratory illness.
Clove oil tea can be especially soothing, especially when mixed with a little honey and ginger.
10. Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme is still best known as a cooking spice, but it has important properties for respiratory health as well.
Thyme is an antiviral and analgesic (pain-relieving) essential oil. The active ingredient of thyme is thymol, which has inflammation-reducing properties and is also recommended for pain-relief and as an expectorant for productive coughing.
Add thyme to steaming water with some fresh lemon for a soothing tea or add fresh thyme to recipes to enjoy the benefits.
Protect Your Home With Whole Home Ultraviolet Light Purification
Right now and through the end of July, get $50 off a whole-home ultraviolet filtration system at Clean Air Solutions that will work seamlessly with any central (ducted) HVAC system.
We are also offering 10 percent off any of our popular professional indoor air duct cleaning services until July 31, 2020.
Our Roto-brush system uses commercial-grade negative vacuum pressure to safely remove trapped toxins from inside your air ducts.
Get in Touch With Clean Air Solutions
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we are considered an essential business and remain open to serve you safely with contact-less options during this difficult time.
Safely Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Home After COVID-19
It is absolutely a smart idea to clean and disinfect your home after you or someone in your family has recovered from COVID-19.
What you really don’t want to do, however, is end up infecting yourself and your loved ones when you do it!
Unfortunately, with a literal avalanche of cleaning and disinfecting guidance to sift through – not all of it accurate – many people find out only too late that they have combined the wrong cleaning products to get the job done.
This is especially worrisome given that COVID-19 directly attacks the respiratory system, which can be weakened by inhaling toxic combinations of household cleaners.
In this post, we cover essential tips for safely cleaning and disinfecting your home after COVID-19.
4 Biggest Exposure Threats from COVID-19 Cleaning Supplies
Health Canada reports a more than 100 percent spike in calls to local poison control centres as the pandemic continues on. Many of these calls are due to improper use of household cleaning products.
These are the four biggest COVID-19-related, cleaning product-related exposure issues that are leading Canadians to call poison control centres:
1. Swallowing the cleaning products.
2. Inhaling fumes from the cleaning products.
3. Splash-back from the cleaning products into the eyes.
4. Skin contact with the cleaning products.
Get Prepared: General Cleaning & Disinfecting Safety Guidelines
The place where most people let down their guard around household cleaning and disinfecting products is right at the beginning.
If you don’t handle these potent products correctly, they are absolutely capable of burning you, making you very sick or even killing you.
You absolutely have to take this preparation phase seriously.
Here is what the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends to prepare to clean and disinfect your home after COVID-19:
1. Wear your PPE (mask and gloves).
2. Wear eye protection (safety goggles are ideal).
3. Wear long pants and long sleeves, boots or shoes with socks.
4. Open windows and turn on fans to provide extra fresh air and ventilation.
5. Use only room-temperature water (never hot water) for cleaning projects.
6. Read the labels on every cleaning product very carefully.
7. DO NOT MIX ANY CLEANING PRODUCTS TOGETHER - EVER!
We capitalize this last point because when you mix cleaning products together, this can release toxic gases into your air that can cause temporary or permanent respiratory and lung damage, and even death.
4 Huge Dangers to Avoid When Cleaning Your Home After COVID-19
There is a reason bleach is the recommended cleaning agent of choice when it comes to disinfecting your home after COVID-19. When used correctly, bleach can be a very powerful cleaning agent; however, when used incorrectly, bleach is also a very toxic and dangerous chemical in its own right. Use it in the wrong way, or mix it with something it should not be mixed with, and COVID-19 may be the least of your worries.
The same holds true for drinking or ingesting bleach or any other potentially toxic sanitizing or disinfecting product, including hand sanitizer (more on this below).
To stay safe yourself while keeping your family and home safe, you need to make sure to never do these four things when you are cleaning and disinfecting your home after COVID-19.
1. Do not mix bleach with hot water.
When you combine bleach with hot water, it causes the bleach to vaporize. The bleach will then be in the air you are breathing.
Breathing in vaporized bleach can cause coughing, shortness of breath, chemical pneumonia, burning and blistering of the skin, throat and lungs, permanent lung scarring, COPD and death.
2. Do not mix bleach with any other cleaning product or non-water substance.
If breathing in vaporized pure bleach isn’t already dangerous enough, consider what can occur when you mix bleach with another cleaning product.
When bleach is mixed with vinegar, it vaporizes into chlorine gas. Chlorine is the chemical added to pool water!
When bleach is mixed with ammonia, it vaporizes into chloramine gas.
Ingesting vaporized chloramine or chlorine gas can cause burns and blisters to form on the skin, throat and lungs. Coughing, shortness of breath, pneumonia (chemical pneumonitis) and death are also side effects.
3. Do not drink hand sanitizer.
The government of Canada recently issued a nationwide recall https://healthycanadians.gc.ca/recall-alert-rappel-avis/hc-sc/2020/73291a-eng.php of certain hand sanitizer products. These products were packaged in bottles that were repurposed from the beverage industry.
In some cases, the bottles looked like water, juice or soda bottles. In other cases, the bottles looked like liquor bottles.
In all cases involved in the recall order, consumers were sufficiently confused by the packaging that they mistook the hand sanitizer for a beverage and drank it, leading to accidental poisoning.
This can be especially concerning with young or elderly family members, so be sure to keep all hand sanitizer products in your home out of harm’s way.
4. Do not expose your skin or eyes to UV-C light.
Finally, while it is highly likely that short-wave ultraviolet band-C light has the potential to neutralize active coronavirus droplets, all recommendations regarding use focus on irradiating air or HVAC coils.
The International Ultraviolet Association strongly advises against exposing bare skin to UV-C light as it can cause burns, blisters, skin cancer and damage to the eyes.
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, we do offer a range of ultraviolet purification systems for both central (ducted) and non-ducted spaces of all sizes.
We can show you how to safely use these systems to purify both your indoor air and your HVAC coils.
Contact Clean Air Solutions
Clean Air Solutions in Hamilton is open to serve you safely with contact-less options during this difficult time.
Interested in hearing about our recent product promotions? Right now, add whole-home ultraviolet air purification to your HVAC and get $50 off.
Need some professional indoor air duct cleaning done? Schedule our trained technicians and for air duct cleaning and get 10 percent off any of our three popular cleaning packages.
How Ultraviolet Light Air Purification Can Protect You From Coronavirus
The days when learning about cutting-edge air purification techniques was reserved for research scientists, healthcare workers and infectious disease specialists are long gone.
Today, we all need to know as much as we possibly can about how to make sure our air is clean and safe to breathe.
Contrary to popular belief, this is not just because of the coronavirus, although that is certainly the most urgent reason.
Today, our indoor air is up to five times more toxic than our outdoor air. This keeps our immune systems overburdened nearly 24/7, which means when a serious health emergency occurs, we often don’t have access to the full might of our body’s protective response to help us stay healthy.
In this post, we go into detail about the former so that you can understand exactly why and how it works to keep you safer.
P.S. Be sure to read to the end of this post for a special offer to help you add UV air purification to your home or workplace!
What Is Ultraviolet Light Air Purification?
When you first saw the title of this post, you may have had the thought, “Ultraviolet light? But isn’t that supposed to be harmful? Doesn’t it cause skin cancer?”
The answer is “yes,” if you stand in front of it for multiple hours each day.
This is why we are strongly advised to cover up during the hottest parts of the day and to wear sunscreen and protective clothing and eyewear that blocks UV rays when we go outside.
Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, or UVGI, which is the technical name for ultraviolet purification, doesn’t require you to bask in UV light though. Instead, the UV light is concentrated on the air.
Our sun produces three bands of ultraviolet light: A, B and C. Of these three, UV-C is by far the most powerful.
When we go outside, it is actually only UV-A and UV-B that we are protecting ourselves from. UV-C is blocked from reaching us by the ozone layer that surrounds earth (which is also why it is so important to pay attention to ozone alert days and to stay indoors on these days).
Short-wave UV-C, or short band UV-C, is the type of ultraviolet light used for UVGI.
How Does Ultraviolet Light Air Purification Work?
UVGI harnesses the power of UV-C light for concentrated disinfection. UVGI units focus the UV-C directly on one of two places:
1. The air stream itself.
2. The HVAC system coils.
For applications where the air stream itself is to be irradiated, the space is typically unoccupied or divided into upper room and lower room, where only the upper room airstream is irradiated to keep the lower room airstream safe for occupants.
For most residential or commercial spaces, the UV-C light is concentrated on the HVAC system coils instead. As the air passes over the coils, it gets exposed to the UV-C light.
This exposure is what destroys any dangerous liquid or gaseous bio-organic toxins, viruses, bacteria, fungi, microbes and/or micro-organisms that may cause health problems for people.
Why Does Ultraviolet Light Air Purification Work?
When harmful bio-organic matter is exposed to concentrated UV-C light, the light causes irreversible damage.
While this is a drastic over-simplification of how this process works, you can kind of think of it like taking a tiny toxic microbe and tossing it into a skillet. Even if it was dangerous going in, it sure won’t be coming out!
Ultraviolet light’s “skillet effect” is caused because the light band damages the organic nature of the toxin and disrupts its normal function.
So, for example, take a COVID-19 airborne droplet:
The droplet is composed of a thin protective outer membrane made of organic matter. Inside that membrane is the droplet’s RNA, the virus sequence that is set to replicate and cause COVID-19 in its host (AKA you).
When the UV-C light band hits that droplet, it destroys the outer protective organic membrane, exposing and damaging the RNA inside so it cannot replicate. This is how UV-C works to protect you from getting sick with COVID-19 even if there are infectious droplets in your air.
Of course, here, the trick is making sure that the air gets exposed to the UV-C light before you get exposed to the air!
How to Use Ultraviolet Light Purification to Protect Yourself
There are two main ways you can use ultraviolet light to protect yourself, your family and your workers from catching the new novel coronavirus.
1. Install a central (ducted) UV air purifier.
If you have a ducted HVAC system, you can add a UV air purifier that will irradiate your coils and neutralize any incoming toxic particles.
You will also need to seal and weatherstrip your home to block any air leaks or cracks.
2. Add a portable UV air purifier to your space.
For non-ducted spaces, you can still get the protective benefit of UV air purification by adding a portable UV unit to your space. Portable UV purifiers pull the air in, irradiate it and then push it back out again.
You may need more than one portable unit if you have a multi-room space.
Get $50 Off A Whole-Home U.V. Filtration System
Right now, get $50 off your purchase of a whole-home UV system.
If you want to combine this with an indoor air duct cleaning (highly recommended to remove bio-organic toxins trapped in your air ducts that the UV system won’t be able to reach), you can also get 10 percent off this service now.
Contact Clean Air Solutions
We are open to serve you safely with contact-less options during this difficult time.
Learn How to Safely Change Your Air Filter During COVID-19
After many decades of being an industry niche topic, air filtration has suddenly become headline news, and we know exactly what we have to thank for this dramatic spike in interest.
Even while some areas within Canada are seeing a reduced incidence of new COVID-19 cases, other areas are still struggling to get to this game-changing point.
On a bigger-picture level, predictions indicate the coronavirus could come back around again as the cool season returns and cold and flu season along with it.
On the subject of cold and flu season, there is also breaking news of a new prospective threat coming out of China - a new novel flu strain for which no vaccine currently exists.
With concerns about indoor air quality and exposure risk at an all time high, it can seem like we have a lot more questions than answers on the topic of indoor air quality and air filtration.
Here at Clean Air Solutions Hamilton, you have been calling to ask how to safely change a dirty air filter. This is a great question - read on to learn what to do!
What Toronto Engineers Say About Air Filter Risks
Right here in Toronto, a team of world-class engineers has received nearly half a million dollars to study the problem of airborne SARS-CoV-2 transmission.
You may recall that as recently as a few weeks ago, leading health organizations were emphatic that the new novel coronavirus could not be transmitted via lightweight airborne droplets.
Our own engineers have since turned that theory upside down.
While lead engineer Dr. Jeffrey Siegel states that airborne transmission still is not considered the new novel coronavirus's primary mode of transmission, it is definitely a risk factor.
This places a priority on learning how to safely handle HVAC system maintenance and repair needs, including the need for routine air filter changes.
Dr. Siegel emphasizes that air filters are possible transmission points. For this reason, always assume that any air filter has the capacity to transfer active micro-biological contaminants to humans.
Because COVID-19 can be transferred from an asymptomatic (seemingly healthy) person to other people, it is currently not possible to assume no one in your home or workplace has been exposed.
Instead, you should simply take all of the following precautions when handling air filter changes for any HVAC system or air filtration unit inside your space.
Why Are Regular Air Filter Changes Important During COVID-19?
As we mentioned in the introduction here earlier, we have begun to receive a number of calls from concerned customers who wonder if it is safer to just leave their air filter alone for now.
We do not recommend this for a number of reasons, chief among which is that the dirtier your air filter gets, the more likely it is to become a fire risk.
A dirty air filter that is left in place will also begin discharging small amounts of clogged particulates back into your indoor air, with the effect of reducing indoor air quality and exposing you to other potential pathogens, including mildew, pollen, mould, bacteria and viruses.
This is the last thing your immune system needs right now!
How to Safely Handle and Change Your Air Filter
Dr. Siegel and the University of Toronto team have released official guidance regarding the safest way to handle and change your air filter.
This guidance applies equally to your central or portable/ductless HVAC units and to any standalone air filtration device you may be using, including HEPA air filtration systems. It also applies to cabin air filters for vehicles and RVs!
As with any system, be sure to consult your manufacturer's manual for further instructions on air filter changes to make sure you don't accidentally void your warranty.
Steps To Safely Change Any Air Filter In Your Space
1. Move any immune-compromised individuals to an isolating space.
You want to do this first, since it is impossible to completely avoid dislodging trapped particles during an air filter change.
2. Power off your HVAC system and any fans or other filtration devices as applicable.
You want to make sure there is minimal air circulation during the filter change.
3. Open windows where applicable.
If there are windows in the area where the air filter change is to take place, open them. This will allow for faster release and diffusion of any harmful airborne particles.
4. Place a mask and gloves on and wear any additional PPE you have available.
Personal protective equipment such as safety goggles or glasses (even swim goggles will do in a pinch), facial screen, mask, gloves and non-permeable clothing are all assets when handling any potentially hazardous bio-material.
5. Remove the air filter and place it in a sealable non-permeable bag.
You want to be sure to immediately place the dirty air filter into a bag that can be sealed up right away for safe disposal.
6. Install the new clean air filter and close up the unit.
Once you have removed and bagged up the dirty air filter, quickly move on to install a new clean air filter in its place.
7. Dispose of the sealed bag with the dirty air filter safely outside.
Finally, it is time to head outside and safely dispose of the sealed bag with the dirty air filter.
8. Remove and dispose of single-use PPE and take a shower.
Safely dispose of any single-use PPE and take a warm water shower if you can.
Contact Clean Air Solutions
We are open to serve you safely with contact-less options during this difficult time.
If you do not feel comfortable handling these routine air filter changes on your own, our highly trained service technicians have all the necessary safety equipment and PPE to safely change your air filters.