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Breathe Fresh Air with a Salt Lamp made of Himalayan Sea Salt Crystals

The soft glow of the Himalayan salt lamp lends an air of tranquility and peace to your home atmosphere while cleaning the air for  easier breathing.      Who would have thought you could clean your indoor air with salt and help prevent allergy and asthma attacks? Well you can.  But not just any salt. Himalayan pink sea salt is the one you want.   Salt crystal lamps have been used therapeutically for years.  Millions of years old and free of modern man's contaminates, Himalayan sea salt is the most pristine salt on our planet.   Himalayan pink sea salt lamps are widely available at a very reasonable cost. They are carved out of Himalayan salt crystals and formed into lamps or candle holders.  When warmed by a low wattage bulb or candle the sea salt releases negative ions. When positively charged particles come in contact with these negative ions, dust particles fall out of the air, purifying the air we breathe.  They work against allergens, pet dander, smoke, pollen, and other air pollutants while naturally fighting odors. Another great benefit of these salt lamps is they don't produce the abundance of ozone produced by electric ionizing air purifiers.  Some types of ionizing machines have even been banned in some states.

The warmth of the Himalayan pink salt candle holder promotes an air of tranquility as well as cleansing the indoor air of your home.     An average sized salt lamp will freshen the air in a 50-100 square foot area.  You can either buy several salt lamps or candle holders or simply place one in the area you frequent the most.  This could be near a computer or television, at your bedside or put one on your desk at work. The soft, pink glowing light emitted by the salt lamp or candle promotes a sense of calm and tranquility, while at the same time providing you with clean fresh air to breathe easier. The salt lamp may be left on at night and the light emitted is very subtle. If you should find the light bothersome at night when retiring, just turn the lamp on a few hours before bedtime to clean the air. You could even put it on a timer.  They come in a vast array of sizes and shapes. Some even come with dimmer switches and lavender essential oil and a dish to place it in so that you can enjoy the tranquil health benefits of essential oils.  The book above tells all about the benefits of pink himalayan sea salt lamps and clicking on it will take you to amazon.com for a preview.

     If you prefer candles, you can still enjoy the benefits of the himalayan sea salt.  Candle holders come in all shapes and sizes.  If you have allergies or asthma I recommend only burning beeswax candles in the salt holders to avoid chemical vapors.  The beeswax also adds a pleasant scent to the room.  The assortment of lamps and candles below all come with free shipping.

     Still skeptical?  If you're still having doubts, just try one or the other.  If nothing else you will have a beautiful light.  If you want to know for certain if they are doing their job, you can tell after a few weeks.  These are things you will never have to dust.  Himalayan salt lamps and salt candle holders never get dusty no matter how long you set them out. This is because they are constantly repelling dust particles. Just see for yourself.  And another test. After turning the salt lamp or lighting the candle for a few hours, just breathe the air around it...fresh as an ocean breeze. Now all you need is an ocean sound machine to hear the waves and drift off peacefully to sleep.  Be sure to check the Quick Reminder Chart at the top of the page for helpful hints.



Breathe Easier: Buy a Houseplant and Clean the Air

Bamboo Palm or Reed Palm plants (Lucky Bamboo)  clean indoor air pollution removing the harmful VOCs formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene, making air safer to breathe.
Lucky Bamboo Plants

    One of the best ways to clean the indoor air of your home or office is with a houseplant or two in each of your rooms or on your desk.  The more plants you have, the better the indoor quality of your air.  This is because plants absorb carbon dioxide and other toxins and release oxygen into the surrounding air during photosynthesis. 

Palm tree indoor houseplant cleans the air and removes carbon dioxide from indoor environments.A study done by (NASA, Wolverton, 1989), proved the capabilities of several varieties of plants in removing, formaldehyde, benzene, and other toxins or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from our living environment.  In fact, many of these plants are so beneficial at reducing VOCs they are targeted for future space missions. For example, the Peace Lily and the Pot Mum remove all of the toxic chemicals in the study:  benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and ammonia.  Golden Potho's, Mother-in-Law's Tongue, and the Red-edged Dracaena remove all but ammonia. The popular Bamboo or Reed Palm, better known as Lucky Bamboo as shown in the photo above, removes formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene.  Perhaps it is lucky after all.  That doesn't mean you have to turn your home or office into a jungle. Studies have shown that just one six inch plant per every 100 square feet will suffice. Broad leafed plants seem to perform the best.  We inadvertently introduce these toxins into our indoor environments when we remodel, redecorate, and clean our homes and offices. New carpet and furnishings, wood stains, polyurethane coatings, paints and cleaners all contribute to the indoor pollution of buildings.  Add to this the dust containing germs, dust mites, pollens and other irritants, it's no wonder many people become ill when confined to a building for long periods of time. This indoor air pollution is now attributed to Sick Building Syndrome or SBS.  You can view a more detailed chart at (Wilkepedia, 2013) where it lists specific chemicals removed as well as toxicities to children and pets for a greater number of houseplants. Reducing at least some of these toxins contributes to a more healthy indoor environment. Some of the more common and easy to grow house plants for reducing toxins, as well as removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, according to the study above, are listed below:
Golden Potho's houseplant for removing toxic chemicals from indoor buildings for cleaner air.

   Bamboo Palm-Chamaedorea Seifritzii       

   English Ivy-Hedera Helix

   Gerbera Daisy-Gerbera Jamesonii

   Pot Mum-Chrysanthemum Morifdium

   Boston Fern-Nephrolepis Exaltata

   Spider Plant-Chlorophytum Comosum

   Dumb Cane (Camilla or Exotica)-Dieffenbachia

   Mother-in-Law's Tongue-Sanseviria Laurentii

   Peace Lily(Mauna Loa)-Spathiphyllum

   Red-edged Dracaena-Dracaena Marginata 

   Golden Pothos-Scindapsus Aures or   

     Epipremnum Aureum

   Heartleaf Philodendron-Philodendron

     Oxycardium, syn. Philodendron Cordatum

Lavender flowers and leaves can be crushed to release scent for inhalation, reducing stress and anxiety.                                                                                     The lavender plant is a wonderful addition to this list for its duo purpose qualities. Lavender is known for cleaning the air, while also inducing a state of relaxation due to the chemical composition of its scent. Both attributes important for those with allergies as well as asthmatics. Obviously, cleaning the air reduces allergy and asthma symptoms on a physical level, but stress reduction is also important for relieving allergy and asthma symptoms.  When your body is stressed it releases hormones and histamines.  Eventually, if the stress is not reduced, your immune system wears down and symptoms become worse.  Before you know it, you're repeating a vicious cycle of symptoms, medications, and anxiety.  So growing an indoor lavender plant can have many benefits.  Lavender requires a bright sunny location to flower and flourish indoors.  Lavender would also be beneficial in the stressful environment of a sunny office.  It must be allowed to dry out slightly between thorough waterings.  You'll know when to water when it begins to droop. Be sure to drain it completely to avoid root rot.  If your home or office is very dry, you can place it on a tray filled with water and pebbles, gravel, or sand to provide humidity.

     If your allergies or asthma are attributed to mold, you can water the plant from the bottom with a tray to prevent the top layer of soil from getting too moist, or just cover the top of the soil with gravel to prevent mold spores escaping into the air. Annual repotting with sterile soil also helps to alleviate mold growth. Add to this soil a thin layer of activated charcoal to help capture the chemicals absorbed by the plant into the root system.  Eventually the chemicals will be broken down by microbes.  Lucky Bamboo is also a good plant for those with mold sensitivities, because it is easily grown in water. Frequent water changes prevent the growth and spread of mold spores. Another option is hydroponics, a growing method that's uses no soil.  If you would like to try your hand at that method here is a small kit to get you started:

     If you are lucky enough to have a bright sunny window in your bedroom, you can place a lavender plant there and reap all the benefits for a peaceful night's rest.  If the sunny location is elsewhere in your home, you can place a small dish of the crushed leaves and flowers near your bedside and just refresh it now and then.  Use other low-light plants from the list for cleaning the air, such as the Mother-in-Law's Tongue, and the crushed lavender for relaxation.  Be sure to check the Quick Reminder Chart at the top of the page for helpful hints.

Lavender as a houseplant cleans the air and adds a calming, relaxing scent to the indoor environment for stress relief..

Note:  Lavender has been found to be an allergen in some people, although, it is extremely rare.

          Just be aware that if your breathing problem worsens or other symptoms develop; you 
          could be one of those rare persons allergic to lavender, and you should discontinue its use. 


 Wolverton, B. C. et al (1989), NASA "Interior Landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement." 

List of air-filtering plants. (2013, February 27). In Wilkepedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved    14:14 March 16, 2013, from


UV Sanitation to Kill Germs, Molds and Dust Mites

     UV sanitation is becoming a powerful tool against many types of germs, molds and even dust mites.  UV sanitizing wands can be especially useful in an office environment against SBS,  "Sick Building Syndrome' when used on chairs, desks, keyboards, and smaller areas of carpets around the desk.  Most of the skepticism surrounding this technology stems from the fact that results are not seen, but can only be assumed.  Now that there are many products on the market widely available to the average consumer, reports are rolling in of people with respiratory illnesses attesting to its effectiveness. People with dust mite allergies, asthma, bronchitis, and COPD, are getting results; breathing and sleeping more easily.

     Why is this?  Because UV sanitizing lights have now been proven to kill germs including bacteria and viruses, molds, dust mites, even some fungi.  If you're still having doubts, check out this Fox News video where they actually grow cultures from swabs taken around their office and test the Verilux CleanWave UV Wand on them.  Plug in wall units are available as well for continuous air cleaning to fight germs and prevent infections.

     So whether you're fighting allergies and asthma, colds or influenzas, UV lights can be beneficial. The wands come in different sizes, both for home use as well as travel.  Here are some examples of wands available in various sizes:


     All of these UV wands can be used for killing dust mites or germs.  Larger one's are more practical for killing dust mites in mattresses, as you can cover a larger area at one time.  Travel UV wands are perfect for use in hotel rooms and offices. I've even heard of some people using the smaller version when eating at a restaurant, waving their magic wand across flatware, dishes and condiments.  I suppose it wouldn't be a bad idea in areas of flu outbreaks.  I guess I'll never know if they bring it with them to the restroom or not.  Well, at any rate, you might kill off a few cold germs headed your way.

     When using the wand on mattresses or upholstered furniture, you will need to keep it horizontal.  These products have built in safety features which prevent you from turning them sideways or holding them vertically, as the UV light bulb will turn off automatically. This is to prevent the user from directing the light towards their eyes.  UV lights are for killing things and they do this by disrupting DNA and preventing the organisms from reproducing.  Just like sunlight burns your skin, so can artificial UV lighting products. Therefore, this is one product where it is very important to read the manufacturer's instructional materials that come with it to avoid needless injury.   You should also never hold small objects in your hand when passing the wand across them to prevent injury to your skin.

     Another great product for mattresses and upholstery is the Verilux sanitizing portable vacuum. You can view this type below and there are other sizes and types available.  The great thing about these products is that they are also mini vacuums and suck up the dust, dead skin, and dust mite debris, while UV sanitizing all at the same time.  You could even use these to treat a small area of carpet around the bed.  There are several vacuums with UV lighting available now, though some can be quite pricey.  You can read about their effectiveness here in an Ohio research study. All research seems to point to two things.  When UV light is used in conjunction with the suction power of a vacuum the effect is greater than the use of just one or the other. Also, the slower the pass you make, the more organisms destroyed.

     So in conclusion to today's article, I would say these products produce excellent results when used properly for the right intentions.  They are not toys, though, and should not be used by children.  Some people wear goggles with UV protection as an added safety precaution.  Be sure to check the Quick Reminder Chart at the top of the page for more helpful hints. 



Bed Bug Bite vs. Dust Mite Bite


Dust mite drawing showing anatomy of a dust mite

     Let me start off by clarifying this rumor. There is NO such thing as a dust mite bite.  If there were, we would all be in trouble; because dust mites can never be completely eliminated, whereas bed bugs can. Yes, they really can and it's not as difficult as you may think.  Later in the article I'll discuss methods of eradication that really do work.   Don't throw away any furnishings or mattresses until you try these methods first.  Dust mites do not bite humans.  Bed bugs bite humans. Dust mites live off of skin flakes. Bed bugs live off of blood.  Unfortunately, usually ours.  That's why they bite us in the first place.  We are their life blood or sustenance.  So if you're being bitten while asleep you can rule out dust mites right now. If it's just one or two bites it could be a spider.  If you have clusters of several tiny bites, it could be bed bugs, as they are known to be making a comeback.  Check out the link at the bottom of the page for bed bug bite photos to help identify whether or not it is bed bugs.

     Bed bugs cause a lot of grief.  Some people are allergic to the bites which can cause swelling, inflammation, even scarring and also fatigue in sensitive individuals.  Some people have extreme mental anxiety from practicing various elimination techniques that don't work.  Some extremes I have heard of are throwing away or burning mattresses, furnishings, clothing, and other personal belongings.  Sleeping on floors or in bathtubs or even deserting homes or apartments including all belongings.  You can see why this would cause mental anguish.  Just the expense alone is overwhelming. Not to mention those who have spent thousands of dollars on pest control companies, sometimes with no results.  So if these people are not left with physical scars, many are left with emotional scars and unable to get a good nights rest for fear of the bed bugs returning. 
     You need to first determine how bed bugs may have gained entry into your home or dwelling.  Have you or anyone done any traveling or stayed in other people's homes recently?  Have you purchased any used or even new furniture, pillows, mattresses, towels, or clothing?  Not only have bed bugs been sweeping the countryside infesting motels, but also many popular furniture and clothing stores as well.  Or what about a pet that has just made a trip to a kennel?  Bed bugs are on the rise due to lack of awareness, increased resistance to pesticides, bans on pesticides that previously eradicated them, and increased international travel.

     If you suspect it could be bed bugs the next step is identification.  Quickly throw back the sheets on your bed upon arising to hopefully see at least one before they have a chance to scurry away.  If you have been bitten several times and you don't see any actual bugs, you quite possibly can identify their remains.  Check out the link at the bottom of the page for bed bug photos.  It also shows photos of their offspring and eggs. Get out your best flashlight and even a magnifying glass if you have one. Search for tiny brown or reddish specks, their excrement, and/or  tiny clear nymphs, the babies of the adult bed bugs.  You also might find tiny eggs or empty shells of any that may have molted as they molt several times throughout their development into adults.

     If you still can't find any evidence, you need to start checking the mattress and bed frame, including the headboard, foot board and legs.  There should be some evidence in or around the bed.  If by chance they have all scurried back to their nesting areas, you will need to search dark areas such as inside corners of drawers and baseboards.  If you have any upholstered furniture in the room, you should check under cushions and inside crevices.  If you have bed bugs, you should have found some evidence by now.

     Starving them out isn't going to work as they can live for several months in warm areas and even up to one year in cooler areas without ever eating.  Sprays and pesticides could kill you long before you kill them.  Heating rooms can kill them, but raising inside temperatures high enough with propane heaters is risky and dangerous.  If you don't accidentally burn down your residence using heat treatment with some type of heater, you still risk ruining wood furnishings and floors that may dry out and crack from lack of moisture.  The rooms also need to be sealed off to prevent the bed bugs from escaping into cooler areas of the dwelling. This treatment is obviously better off left to professionals as well as any gassing treatments, both of which can be very, very expensive.  Some people have heard of steam treatments and attempted it themselves with negative results.  Steam treatments need to be done with commercial steamers that produce less than 5% humidity.  Do-it-yourselfers using store bought steamers run the risk of ruining many items saturating them with steam.  This is because every single area of the room needs to be steamed in order to ensure complete elimination of the bed bugs. Once again, this type of treatment is best left to professionals if you can afford it.

     So here comes the most effective and simple treatment for ridding your home of bed bugs.  All you need is some diatomaceous earth also known as DE. Does diatomaceous earth kill bed bugs?  Yes it does! It is a white powder composed of millions of tiny microscopic fossilized shells of algae.  These tiny skeletal structures are very sharp and when the bed bugs or most any other bug crawls through the powder their bodies are cut and pierced causing not immediate, but eventual death. Diatomaceous earth benefits are many.  Where to buy diatomaceous earth?  There are many uses for diatomaceous earth so you have to be careful.  Some diatomaceous earth sold in garden centers or pool supply stores contain chemicals. You need to buy food grade diatomaceous earth to avoid these chemicals.  This can be found at agricultural stores as it is sometimes used in animal husbandry or you can purchase it online. One other precaution that must be mentioned is that it is very important not to breathe the powder into your lungs.  The fine particulates are difficult for the lungs to expel as well as sharp to the delicate tissues.  Let me repeat.  It is HAZARDOUS to inhale this powder.  You should always wear some sort of dust mask when applying this powder such as the one in the photo below.  Is diatomaceous earth safe for pets?  Yes it is as long as they aren't stirring up large quantities creating a dust to breathe, it is not harmful to pets.  Some people use it as a dewormer for animals.

      Now I'll begin by explaining how to use diatomaceous earth as well as various ways of how to apply diatomaceous earth for bed bug elimination.   For the first application, start by placing the legs of your bed into small containers such as cups or bowls, and place a thick layer of the diatomaceous earth powder in the cups surrounding the legs of the bed.  Bed bugs don't fly around the room. They have to crawl up the legs of your bed to feed on you at night after you retire.  That's assuming there aren't already some in your bed before you retire.  If you haven't already done it, whether old or new, your pillows and mattress should be encased in zippered bed bug proof protectors.  If any adults, nymphs, or eggs are inside they will die as they cannot escape for feeding.  Now to continue the application of the DE powder you need to carefully apply a thick, but narrow layer along the baseboards of the entire room. A good method of application for this is a plastic squeeze bottle with a nozzle end. Now carefully search out other areas where you suspect they may be hiding such as inside or beneath furniture, corners of drawers as well as the tracks the drawers slide on etc.  Some severe infestations of bed bugs have been reported of bed bugs burrowing into the wood of furniture.  Check for seams and cracks that may need to be treated with a sprinkling of DE.

     If at all possible sleep in a different area for several nights up to two weeks to allow the DE to do its job.  If you can't sleep elsewhere use freshly laundered bedding every night until the bed bugs are gone.  Some people use DE in their bedding, but I am not going to recommend it, because of the previously mentioned issues with inhalation.  Perhaps a small amount at the foot of the bed beneath the fitted sheet would help a little and not cause breathing issues.  Otherwise, just use fresh bedding each night.  Rest easy.  It won't be long and your worries will be over and life will be back to normal once again.  Be sure to check the Quick Reminder Chart at the top of the page for helpful hints.


     Amazon is selling cups to place under the legs of your bed to make it easier to prevent bedbugs from crawling up the legs of your bed.  You can make your own using two different size cups or just order these.  Make sure to check queen or king size beds for extra legs touching the floor in the middle of the mattress.  Also, be sure to place diatomaceous earth in the inner ring.


Bed Bug Photos
Bed Bug Bite Photos