Oh Christmas Tree: Don't Make Me Sneeze
Many people start to sniffle and wheeze around Christmas trees, leading them to believe that Christmas trees cause allergies. Sometimes they do, but
it's not the tree itself. Instead, it's what's on the tree. Christmas trees
are ideal surfaces for accumulating allergens like
dust and mold spores.
Fortunately, Christmas trees do not have allergy-causing pollen. Most Christmas trees are scotch pines or Douglas firs, trees
which don't pollinate in the winter. And evergreen pollens have a thick, waxy
outer coating, which makes them unlikely to be a significant allergen.
Actually, a frequent cause of Christmas-tree related allergies is mold. Many
Christmas trees are cut several months beforehand, and then left out in the
winter rain, an ideal breeding ground for mold.
It's not just live Christmas trees, though. Artificial trees can have
their own set of problems. Depending on how they are stored during the year, they can also be
prone to collecting dust and mold. Dusty attics and damp basements are not good
places for allergy sufferers, and the porous surface of an artificial tree can
bring all those nasty allergens into the home along with holiday spirit.
So how can you enjoy a bright and cozy tree while staying sneeze and sniffle
- If you use a live tree, shake it out thoroughly, and let it dry out for a few
days before you bring it indoors.
- If you use an artificial tree, make sure to dust and clean it thoroughly
(outside!) before installing it in the house. For storage, make sure that it's
kept clean and dry, preferably sealed in a plastic bag.
And don't forget, holiday decorating can cause all kinds of allergy flare-ups.
Don't always blame it on the tree! Decorations stored in attics and basements
can also be covered in dust, mold spores, or dust mite allergens. Wash your
hands thoroughly after unpacking them, and clean them thoroughly before putting
them up. Actually, forget washing your hands – make a non-allergic person do the
Find more great articles like this one at Achoo, The Blog!
Managing Kids' Asthma During the Holidays
The holidays are an exciting time, but they can also be stressful
for kids with asthma, and their parents. Several factors can make managing
asthma more difficult during this season:
- Unfamiliar environment
Family trips or staying over at a relative's house can expose your child to new
allergens, possibly sparking an allergy flare-up. For kids with allergy-induced
asthma, this is bad news. Grandma's dusty playroom or Uncle Bob's damp basement
may be the cause of an unforeseen reaction, spurring an allergy or asthma
- Cold weather
The icy weather of winter can be fun, but it can also exacerbate asthma
symptoms. Children may get caught up playing outside with friends or relatives.
Despite distractions, it's important to monitor reactions to the cold air. Wearing a mask or a
warm scarf may help guard against possible asthma attacks by warming and
humidifying the air before it enters the airways.
- Stressful situations
Stress for mom or dad can mean distraction from paying as close attention as
usual. In all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it can be easy to overlook
the subtle early warning signs which can signal an oncoming attack. Stress for
kids can trigger various physiological and immune processes which aggravate
asthma symptoms, making asthma worse.
No one wants a happy time to be disrupted by an asthma attack or allergy
flare-up. Here are some tips for
getting through the holidays happy and healthy:
- Use peak flow meter regularly, especially if staying at a relative or friend's
house, in order to carefully monitor your child's response to the new
environment. Peak flow meters can detect subtle changes in air way inflammation,
alerting you ahead of time before an attack.
- Listen carefully to your child when they describe how they are feeling, and pay
close attention to their mood, breathing, appearance and other minor changes
which may be early warning signs.
- Talk seriously with your child (if age is appropriate) about knowing and
responding to their own limits. While a child may be used to managing asthma at
school or home, a new situation may make it difficult to stick to this habit.
Help them create their own action plan for implementing "at-home" practices even
away from home.
- Though schedules can get crazy, try to keep them as normal as
possible. Attempt to stick to normal bedtimes, meals, medication, and other
routines. Following a reliable schedule can help keep your child's immune system
strong and healthy, making them more resistant to allergies and asthma. And
sticking to normal routines can help cut down on stress.
Most importantly, try to stay calm, positive, and stress-free. Fun is the most
important part of the holidays, and a relaxed environment is healthier for
information provided in this newsletter does not constitute medical advice and is
for your general information only. For information regarding
specific questions, concerns, or conditions, please consult a
In This Issue:
1. Oh Christmas Tree: Are
Christmas trees a bad idea for allergy sufferers?
2. What's New at achoo! Some
exciting news, plus two new products
3. Featured Products:
Products you should know about
4. Managing Kids' Asthma:
Tips for staying happy and healthy during the holidays
Can't see the newsletter? If you're having trouble viewing the
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What's New at achoo!
We're so excited to announce the launch of our newest project:
Achoo, The Blog. The Blog will contain tons of great information, advice, and news, plus
an opportunity to
hobnob with fellow allergy sufferers, sharing stories and
Check it out today! First time visitors can
sign up to win a free copy of My House is Killing Me!
The Home Guide for Families with Allergies and Asthma
by Jeffrey C. May.
In other news, we've added two new products to our
line-up: the Starlight Support Crib Mattress and
the BreathXChange Shield Mask. Read on!
$27.99 - $179.99
Starlight Support Crib Mattress
Our new Starlight Support crib mattress is
simply the best crib mattress available. It was carefully
designed by a concerned mom, and it shows. You'll want to
visit our site to find out more about its advanced health,
safety, and comfort standards, but here a few important
features. The Starlight Support is completely antimicrobial,
with welded seams (sealed to prevent dust mites from
entering), cornered edges (so mattress fits snugly in crib
with no gaps), and completely hypoallergenic,
fire-resistant, and water-proof. It's available for
bassinets, changing tables, cradles, and cribs, and custom
sizes can be ordered at no extra charge.
BreathXChange Shield Mask
People were calling to ask about the new BreathXChange
shield masks before we even had them in stock. Just in time
for the worst of winter, the shield mask is great for people
who enjoy outdoor activities and don't want to let the cold
weather stop them. The mask contains a special lightweight
thermal conversion module, which helps your body retain heat
and moisture. When you exhale, the module captures the heat
and moisture in your breath; as you inhale fresh air, the
module warms it up and adds back the moisture. One size fits
most, and the shield mask is available in black, blue,
forest green, and orange.
For December's featured products, we
decided to show off a few products which just weren't getting
their due. Hardworking, high quality, lasting products
which never go out of style. Here's why four of our
favorite products aren't getting their due, and what
they can do for you.
$29.99 - $49.99
Why it's not getting its due: The Vellux
blanket is not one of those fancy throws,
nor is it one of those puffed-up comforters.
It doesn't do much primping in front of the
mirror, despite its 5 million nylon surface
hairs. Content to do what it does best, the
Vellux blanket is just that: a darn good
What it can do for you: The Vellux blanket
is the kind of blanket you find in many
hotels. It's soft yet sturdy, fluffy yet
durable, lightweight yet warm. It's
hypoallergenic. Best of all, you can throw
it in the washer and dryer again and again.
And again. And again…
It's available in five luscious jewel-tone
colors: ivory, jade, hunter green, navy and blue
Electrolux Oxygen Canister Vacuum
Why it's not getting its due: Electrolux's
engineers spent their time thinking up
convenient features, not bright and wacky
product designs. Oxygen is compact, brick
red, and cute, but she doesn't know it.
She'd rather vacuum than sit in a window
display. And she's also very quiet… so quiet
that some are inclined to over-look her
What it can do for you: The Electrolux
Oxygen is a great vacuum for the price. It's
ideal for smooth floors, area rugs, and
carpeting, plus it comes with three onboard
tools for whole home cleaning: dusting,
upholstery, drapes, nooks and crannies. It
has HEPA filtration and a self-closing
dustbag, so it's very clean and hygienic. We
like it because it's light (canister weights
only 13 lbs), compact (12" x 16" x 10"), and
super easy to maneuver.
Why it's not getting its due: It comes in a
sturdy yet plain white bag. The mites it
battles are too small to see, and so X-Mite
wages its war unseen. And once it completes
its task, you can easily vacuum it right up
– it doesn't stick around to see the fruits
of its labor.
What it can do for you: Allersearch X-Mite
deactivates household allergens, including
dust mites, pet dander, and pollen. You can
use it on rugs, carpets, upholstered
furniture, etc. It's a water-based cleaning
solution based on non-abrasive sponge-like
particles. Sprinkle it, let it sit for a
couple hours, than vacuum it right up.
$62.00 - 96.00
Hypoallergenic Wool Pillow
Why it's not getting its due: Old-fashioned
wool doesn't have the new-fangled appeal of
synthetic down. It's relegated to the domain
of socks, and well, sheep. These wool
pillows don't care – they know cozy warmth
never goes out of style.
What it can do for you: People love these
hypoallergenic wool pillows because they are
firm, supportive and warm. They are made
from all-natural, domestic wool, woven into
a batting with no chemicals or glues. Wool
is hypoallergenic, and also dust mite
resistant. Plus , the hypoallergenic
wool pillow is extremely durable and
guaranteed for 10 years.
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