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 free?

  • 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 dirty work.

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 attack.

  • 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 everyone involved!

The 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 licensed physician.


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 newsletter in your email client, it's also available on the web.

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 tips.  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.

Read more




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.

Read more  


Featured Products

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.

Vellux Blanket

$29.99 - $49.99

Vellux Blanket

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 blanket.
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 bell.

Read more

Electrolux Oxygen Canister Vacuum


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 entirely.
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.

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Allersearch X-Mite



Allersearch X-Mite

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.

Read more

Hypoallergenic Wool Pillow

$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.

Read more


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