Remodeling for Allergy
January is the time of year that many people start considering a remodeling
project. If you are an allergy sufferer, there are a few things you should
consider while your remodeling project is still in the planning stages.
Remodeling can be a great idea, if it means putting in more allergy-friendly
surfaces (hard floors, smooth furniture). But, remodeling can also hold unique
challenges for allergy sufferers. Here are some tips on what to expect and how
to plan ahead, to keep your remodeling project from turning into an allergy
There are a variety of problems an allergy sufferer can face with remodeling.
- Any type of construction naturally creates a lot of particulate matter – dust,
dirt, debris, fine particles. These fine airborne particles can contain
allergens, and they can also be irritating to lungs and nasal passages.
- Many varnishes, paints, and waxes contain VOC's, which aggravate allergy
symptoms and can cause a serious reaction in someone who is chemically
- A lot of other building materials also contain VOC's and other irritating
chemicals. Any new material like wallpaper, vinyl, carpeting, treated wood, etc,
may release chemical off-gassing for a few days.
Planning for particles
Don't despair – allergy sufferers can remodel. However, it's important to plan
ahead, and be aware of ways to manage the new pollutants remodeling can bring
into the home. Here are few tips for minimizing irritants.
- First off, plan carefully and research what kind of materials you will be
using. Ask questions about products and materials you bring into your home. Try
to choose varnishes, paints, wallpapers, vinyl, carpeting, etc, with low or
minimal VOC content and offgassing.
- Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate! Use a high-quality fan and open the windows
while using any products which contain VOC's.
- Leave the house when indoor irritants are at their highest, such as when carpet
is being laid or the hard floors are being varnished.
- For do-it-yourselfers, wear high-quality HEPA masks while doing hands-on
construction activities. This means projects like tearing down wallpaper or
installing insulation: anything which creates a lot of particles and excess
- If you have indoor pets, keep them out of the work areas. Pets can collect dust
and allergens in their coats, and then spread these allergy-causing particles
all over the house.
- Hang plastic sheeting over the doorways in rooms where work is being done.
Don't take the plastic down until the job is done – and when you do, ball it up
and push it out through a window. Don't carry it through your home, as this can
leave a cloud of allergy-causing dust behind.
Remodeling can be a lot of hassle, especially for allergy sufferers – but in the
long run, it just might be what you need to keep your allergies under control.
Changing the environment in your home to be more allergy-friendly can make a
great difference in alleviating allergy symptoms for good. So, if you're
remodeling to allergy-proof your home, think of it as an investment.
Here's what we recommend:
- It's a good idea to replace carpeting with hardwood, tile, or vinyl – any
smooth flooring. It's easier to keep hard floors spotlessly clean, and dust
mites and other allergens have nowhere to hide.
- Take the opportunity to get rid of plush and upholstered furniture, another
haven for allergens of all kinds. Replace it with wood, leather or metal
furniture, which is easy to clean.
For more information on allergy-proofing your home, read our article on The 10
Steps to Allergen Avoidance.
Houseplants and Mold
Winter is a great time for tending houseplants, which are a way
to bring a little piece of life and warmth into your home while it's
still cold and dead outside. But for a mold allergy sufferer,
houseplants can add an extra complication to the fight against mold
spores. By themselves, houseplants generally will not cause
excessive mold exposure, but if you're allergic to mold spores, you
may want to take steps to control any possible mold growth.
Houseplants attract mold because they offer the ideal conditions
that mold needs to thrive: an organic food source and lots of
moisture. Mold does well in areas which have high temperatures, high
humidity, and little or no light. This basically describes the
conditions surrounding a houseplant, especially an over-watered one.
Obviously, the most effective way to avoid mold on houseplants is to
simply get rid of them. But for those who love houseplants, or whose
mold allergy is not severe enough to warrant getting rid of your
plants altogether, there are a few steps you can take to minimize
the risk of mold growth in your houseplants.
- Keep the soil a little on the dry side. Water with care and only as
- Don't let water accumulate in the houseplant's pot or the tray
- Give plants more light by putting them in the sunniest windows.
- Consistently remove any dead leaves; don't allow dying foliage to
- Monitor indoor humidity using a hygrometer to ensure that the
general environment is not overly moist.
The bright side is that while houseplants can encourage mold growth,
they also improve indoor air quality in other ways. Indoor pollution
like VOC's and other toxins can be broken down and minimized by
houseplants, improving indoor air quality. So don't be too quick to
trade in your houseplants – if you can keep them from succumbing to
mold, they will help improve the quality of your air overall, making
it cleaner and more breathable.
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. Remodeling for Allergy Sufferers: Surviving the cloud of dust
2. What's New at achoo! Blog successful so far, book giveaway drawing near
3. Featured Products:
Tons of new products for you to try
4. Houseplants and Mold Allergy:
Keeping your indoor garden from turning into an indoor mold farm
5. New Year's Resolutions For Allergy Sufferers:
3 Ways to Stay Allergy-Free in 2006
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What's New at achoo!
Happy New Year from all of us at achoo! ALLERGY.
We can't wait for 2006!
If you haven't done so yet, we hope you'll take the
opportunity to visit our newest resources for allergy
sufferers. Achoo! The Blog
has been live for almost a month now! Nearly six hundred
people signed up to win a free copy of My House is
Killing Me, the book giveaway we sponsored to kick off
the blog. We haven't announced the winners yet, so
stay tuned. The Blog has lots of great info for
allergy and asthma sufferers, with frequent links, news
stories, and allergy Q & A. Visit us soon at www.achooallergy.com/blog/.
We've added quite a few new products in the last month as
well. There are too many to list here, but we've
decided to showcase our favorites: a fantastic new pillow,
and a group of products to make your home cleaner and your
cleaning days easier.
$54 - $67
KB 100% Cotton Pillow
What could be more pure and natural than 100%
cotton? These pillows are carefully handmade the
old-fashioned way, with unbleached, un-dyed fabric and plump
natural fibers. They are all cotton, even the thread!
And, they are pre-washed in baking soda solution to remove
any additional chemical odors. Soft yet supportive, a
cotton pillow offers just the right amount of firmness.
We highly recommend them for allergy and chemical
Carpet Spot and Stain Carpet Cleaner
This unbelievable cleaner will remove the toughest spots and
stains on your carpet. You can easily clean even the
most difficult stains, leaving your carpet looking nice and
new again. The cleaner is odorless, non-toxic,
non-flammable, and safe, and it comes in a convenient spray
Gonzo Wonder Sponge
This revolutionary sponge can be used dry to
clean any surface without water. It
effortlessly removes soot, dust and dirt
from just about any surface you can think of
- lampshades, wallpaper, upholstery, nooks,
blinds, woodwork, light fixtures, etc. It's
environmentally safe and made with all
natural materials. A great way to trap
and remove dust, dirt, and allergens from
your home, making it a healthier place to
Gonzo Pet Hair Lifter
Plagued by pet hair? Pick
up one of these easy pet hair lifters and
remove pet hair easily. Just wipe
along any surface to effortlessly remove pet
hair, which will roll up in a ball for easy
disposal. It works without water or
chemicals, leaving no residue. And,
you can use it again and again. Simply
wash with soap and water and allow to dry
before re-use. Environmentally safe,
non-toxic, and all-natural.
Gonzo Dust Control
This Dust Control Sponge
is made especially for allergy sufferers.
It easily eliminates dust and dirt without
water. Use it on just about any dry surface
-- books, furniture, upholstery, lampshades,
blinds, and more. You can use it over
and over, too. Simply wash with soap and
water, then allow to dry before next use. A
great tool for making house cleaning easier
and aiding you in the war against dust.
Basement and Garage Odor Remover
With this Basement and Garage Odor Remover,
you can keep musty areas smelling fresh
without the use of perfumes or irritating
chemicals. It uses non-toxic,
environmentally safe volcanic minerals to
draw odors out of the air, trapping them for
good. Can be used to eliminate odors from a
variety of sources: pets, mold and mildew,
trash, lawn mowers, fireplaces and chimneys,
cigarettes, and other basement and garage
3 New Year's Resolutions for Allergy
1. I resolve to... Keep Fluffy out of the
This year, make sure that your bedroom
remains an oasis of cleanliness and health! If you have an
indoor pet, keep them out of the bedroom. Not only do dogs
and cats shed allergenic dander, their coats can also
contain dust, dirt, pollen, and other allergens from around
the house or outside.
2. I resolve to... Wash all my bedding
twice monthly in hot water, and dry on high!
Frequently washing bedding is key in
keeping your bed free of dust mites. Controlling dust mites
will alleviate congestion and night coughing, allowing you
to get a better night's rest.
3. I resolve to... Clean the house
It may be an unglamorous solution to
allergies, but it works. Dust and clean frequently,
using dust-trapping cloths and a HEPA filtered vacuum if
possible, to keep your home free of dust and allergens.
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