John McKeon, MD: Improving Indoor-Air Quality with Asthma-Friendly Products

Dr. McKeon speaks of how patients can be more involved with managing their asthma and allergies by avoiding exposures in their own homes.

The asthma & allergy friendly® Certification Program is a globally recognized certification mark for products and services that benefit people with asthma and allergies. The program has collaborated with several entities including Dyson, Rabbit Air, and Benjamin Moore to approve asthma- and allergy-friendly products.

With nearly 20% of the world population being affected by asthma and allergies, it is important that there are resources available that help improve air quality and establish barriers to allergens that trigger symptoms.

But as member of the program and CEO of Allergy Standards Limited Dr. John McKeon would explain, it’s less about the products and more about the patient.

‘It's not about the product, we say it's about them,” McKeon said. “Our certification talks about people, it’s doesn't talk about product features. We're certainly not exclusive, you can't be as a certification body, and we're trying to focus more on the outcome.”

As an emergency room doctor, McKeon frequently received questions from parents of children with asthma and allergy exacerbation regarding how they could be more proactive in managing symptoms and limiting emergency room visits.

McKeon’s philosophy, and the philosophy of the certification program, involves mitigating allergen exposure in a variety of household products; whether it’s furnace filters, vacuum cleaners, paint, or electrical appliances, each product should be able to fulfill the performance and suitability criteria established by the program.

“We looked at products all over the home, because we know that single interventions on their own, such as just using allergen bedding, doesn't work, you need to have a whole of house approach,” McKeon said. “Our philosophy very much is that some chronic health conditions don't necessarily need more emergency rooms and more medication, they probably need more education and patient empowerment.”

McKeon added that the program encourages people with asthma and allergies to get engaged with managing their own wellness.

Though he noted that medicine will always be “the cornerstone” of asthma and allergy, and that patients should always seek out professional help if needed, he encouraged those affected by asthma and allergies to know their environmental triggers, partake in asthma and allergy action plans, and create a safer and more allergy and asthma indoor environment with the products they select.

“Having an allergy action plan, and having your symptom diary and being very much more proactive about it I think is the future,” McKeon said. “I think that patient engagement, (holistic care) is going to be the future, and because we know now our emotional health and our psychological health is all very much connected to our physical health.”

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