Winter Sniffles: Allergies, or the
Chilly November brings most of us indoors for the year and then
the sniffles start up. Symptoms like sneezing, congestion, and sore
throat are common during the winter months. These unpleasant
symptoms can be evidence of a winter cold, but they can also mean
indoor allergies. What are the causes of these winter ailments, and
how can they be identified (and treated)?
Winter weather can indirectly cause both colds and indoor allergies.
Colds increase in winter because people spend more time inside,
confined to small spaces where viruses and germs can be easily
passed around. Also, the viruses which cause colds thrive in
low-humidity environments, which are typically found in the cold dry
months of winter. Low humidity, combined with air blowing from
indoor heating systems, causes drying of the nasal passages,
which can increase susceptibility to infection.
With indoor allergies, it's a similar story. Indoor allergies are
caused by dust, which contains a wide variety of allergy-causing
particles like animal dander, mold spores, pollen, dust mites and
dust mite waste. Spending more time indoors means increased exposure
to these allergens. Plus, indoor heating systems circulate air
through the house, knocking loose many allergy causing particles
on carpets, furniture, and dusty shelves. Then, these
allergens are circulated through your home, right along with the
warm cozy air.
Colds and allergies also show themselves in very similar ways,
making it difficult to tell them apart.
Symptoms of colds include congestion, stuffy nose, swelling of
sinuses, sneezing, scratchy sore throat, headaches, aches and pains,
fever, and a cough. Allergy symptoms include stuffed or runny nose,
sneezing, wheezing, sore throat, watery and itchy eyes, and
sometimes headaches. The main difference between cold and allergy
symptoms is that colds usually come with body aches and pains and
possibly a low-grade fever, while allergies do not. In
addition, colds usually last 7-10 days, while allergies will persist
as long as the exposure to the offending allergen continues. If you
have cold-like symptoms which persist for more than two weeks, it's
a good guess that you're dealing with an allergy, not a cold.
Complicating matters, frequent colds may in fact result from
allergies. Your body responds to tiny allergens by producing mucus,
in an attempt to expel them. However, nasal mucus is also a
breeding ground for viruses and bacteria, which can cause colds and
sinus infections. Treating allergies will help prevent these, which
is why it's a good idea to identify allergies early and treat them
It's important to distinguish between colds and allergies, in order
to give appropriate treatment. Cold viruses thrive in low humidity,
and nasal dryness can lead to increased susceptibility to colds, so
running a humidifier in cold dry winter months may be helpful.
However, dust mites thrive on high humidity, so if you're suffering
from indoor allergies, the low humidity is your ally. And while rest
and plenty of fluids may cure a cold, allergies will persist as long
as exposure continues.
To treat and prevent indoor allergies:
- Visit an allergy doctor who can help you identify the offending
- Maintain low indoor humidity to kill dust mites and mold
- Vacuum using a HEPA filtered vacuum and run a HEPA air purifier to
remove airborne allergens
- Encase mattress, pillows, and bedding in allergen-barrier encasings
to protect from dust mite allergies
- Dust and clean frequently
To treat and prevent winter colds:
- Wash your hands frequently and disinfect surfaces
- Get plenty of exercise and rest
- Eat nutritiously, with lots of fruits and vegetables
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and excess stress
- Relieve cold symptoms with nasal decongestants and cough
When treating a cold, remember that medicines may relieve symptoms,
but they will not cure the cold. Only giving your body the proper
care it needs rest, proper nutrition, and plenty of fluids will
cure the cold. And with allergies, the best way to treat allergy
symptoms is to remove the offending allergens from the environment.
Food Allergies and
the Holiday Season
Full of big dinners and family gatherings, the holidays can be a
challenging time for food allergy sufferers. So many homemade treats
without any ingredients labels! Food allergies can be challenging
for hosts as well. You want to make
dishes that will be delicious for everyone, making all your guests
feel right at home. A guest with food allergies can be an extra challenge
for planning that perfect meal. Whether you are a food allergy
sufferer or you are simply hosting one, here are some tips for getting
through the holidays while staying happy, healthy, and allergy free.
Tips for food allergy sufferers:
- Make sure to alert your host to your food allergy as soon as
possible. An advance polite warning may make meal planning easier,
especially if you have tips to help out. And, it's best to just be
upfront, avoiding hurt feelings at the dinner table.
- Offer to bring an allergy-free dish or two, taking some of the load
off the host and ensuring that there will be some safe foods
available. It's standard guest etiquette, and the assurance of a
safe dish will make both you and your host feel more comfortable. Plus, when it comes to the holidays and food, the
more the merrier, right?
- Inquire carefully about ingredients before trying any foods, even
those that seem familiar. Holiday recipes are often full of "special
ingredients" they might not normally include.
- Food allergens can be hidden in lots of foods baked treats and
desserts, fancy dips, salads and salad dressings, quiches,
casseroles. Don't let your willingness to try Aunt Margaret's
favorite recipe overwhelm your good judgment supportive family
members will understand.
As a host:
- Be aware. There's nothing wrong with inquiring about possible food
allergies in advance, and it may ease an uncomfortable situation for
a guest who is reluctant to be a bother.
- Be positive and creative. There are many substitutes for common
food allergens, like wheat, dairy, and eggs. Look around, explore
cookbooks, utilize resources. You might find that it is easier to
create allergy-free dishes than you thought.
- Keep a recipe or list of ingredients for each dish close at hand;
that way you won't have to rely on memory to tell you whether or not
a certain recipe had eggs in it.
- Don't take it personally if your guests can't eat all your
concoctions. In addition to food allergies, many people experience
food intolerances - not life threatening, but still unpleasant.
A couple good resources we recommend visiting for more information:
This site has lots of great recipes submitted by readers. It allows you to search for recipes which exclude certain ingredients,
and it's a wonderful resource for food allergy sufferers and the people who cook
Site for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, a non-profit dedicated to research and awareness of food allergies.
Includes special allergy alerts, FAQ, info on common food allergens, and lots of other resources.
Most importantly, don't forget to relax, have fun, and enjoy the holidays!
In This Issue:
1. Winter Sniffles: Allergies or the Common Cold?
2. What's New at achoo! A tour of our newest
3. Holiday Gift Guide: Great ideas for gifts.
4. Food Allergies and the Holiday Season: Tips for hosts and allergy sufferers.
Can't see the newsletter? If you're having trouble viewing the
newsletter in your email client, it's also available on the
What's New at achoo!
We've continued to expand with new great products.
Our latest additions are two new lines of body pillows.
We were planning to choose just one - but liked these top
two so much we decided to offer them both! The sophisticated Snoozer pillow is great
for both men and women, comfortably aiding with healthy and
restful sleep. And, there is also a Snoozer pillow specially
designed for kids, so everyone in the family can get the
benefits of better sleep. The innovative Serenity Star
pillow can also be used by men and women, but it is
specially designed for expecting moms, made to cradle and
support their little one before and after birth. A
$39.99 - $59.99
Snoozer Body Pillow
Our new line of Snoozer body pillows offers
great benefits for comfort and health, and we're excited
about bringing them to you. The unique and patented full
body pillow is ergonomically designed in a candy cane shape,
and follows the natural motion and positions of your body
all night long. It provides the support of 3 pillows in one,
promoting proper spinal alignment and restful sleep, and
putting an end to "pillow herding". The Snoozer body pillows
are also filled with premium hypoallergenic synthetic down,
and machine washable, making them great for allergy
sufferers. Specially recommended for relief from arthritis
pain, pregnancy discomfort, sore muscles, and restless
Serenity Star Body Pillow
Designed especially for expecting moms, the Serenity Star
body pillow is designed in three parts, as a multi-faceted
"transitional" pillow. The U-shaped pillow is assembled from
a curved pillow and two long bolsters, and measures 5 feet
long. Great for providing full body support, and helps
expectant mothers to attain a comfortable side sleep
position, recommended by gynecologists for mom and baby's
health. After baby arrives, the pillow can be disassembled
into three parts, finding a multitude of other uses for
snuggly support. And of course, the Serenity Star pillow is
completely hypoallergenic filled with a synthetic down
that is odorless, hygienic, and fully machine washable.
achoo!'s Holiday Gift Guide
Do the holidays have you stumped?
Check out these great gift ideas from achoo!
ALLERGY. Allergy-friendly products
don't have to be boring -- these are the hot
items on our wish lists! All our
products are carefully tested, chosen, and
Miele Stick Vacuum|
This convenient stick vacuum from Miele is
the perfect gift for your favorite college
student. A stick vacuum makes cleaning so
easy, they just might do it! Lightweight and
maneuverable, the Miele stick vacuum is a
perfectly hassle-free solution for
maintaining smooth floors and low pile
carpets. Plus, it's great for quick clean
ups. An air filter traps dust and dirt
inside the vacuum, leaving cleaner and more
breathable air. The Miele stick vacuum is a
great gift idea for anyone who lives in a
dorm, small apartment, or city loft.
Price: $229.00 - $283.00 | Read more
Miele Galaxy Series Vacuum Cleaner
A neat gift for the whole family, a Miele
Galaxy model vacuum cleaner will change the
way you clean! Tons of terrific features,
lasting Miele quality, and a light and
attractive design make this vacuum cleaner a
great value. People who hate to clean will
love the convenient features and easy
operation, and people who love to clean will
rejoice in all the options a Miele offers
for comprehensive home cleaning. Choose from
five bright colors and great additional
Price: $349.00 | Read more
Hypodown Comforters and Pillows
Who wouldn't love to receive a soft, warm,
fluffy comforter? Give the gift of luxury
with a down comforter or pillow. Hypodown is
an incredibly soft yet durable blend of
down, and its completely hypoallergenic. We
recommend the Monarch comforter, a mid-range
down comforter with traditionally elegant
12-inch square baffling and silky cotton
encasing. But if Hypodown is out of your
price range for this holiday season,
consider a Primaloft comforter. "The luxury
down alternative," Primaloft is made from
ultra-fine microscopic fibers to replicate
the dreamy softness of down. Some people
even prefer it. And like Hypodown, Primaloft
is also available in pillows.
Price: $175.00 and up | Read more
Organic Cotton Blankets
A wonderful gift for relatives and friends,
with a practical yet classy flair. Organic
cotton blankets are wonderfully versatile,
and will be appreciated by just about
everyone. These lightly woven blankets are
breathable enough for summer, and warm
enough for a soft extra layer in winter.
Plus, all natural cotton is so cuddly,
people often have a hard time keeping these
blankets on the bed they're wonderful for
snuggling on the couch or watching TV.
Healthy and natural, and American-grown and
made, these lovely blankets make a great
socially and environmentally conscious gift.
Price: $99.00 and up | Read more
Austin Air Baby's Breath Air Purifier
Give the best gift in the world clean air!
A Baby's Breath air purifier is a fantastic
gift idea for new parents. Effective for up
to 375 square feet and only 16" high, the
Baby's Breath is wonderful way to provide
for a little new comer's health and
happiness. Available in pink and blue for
cute nursery dιcor. Or, if you're buying for
an older kid or a grown-up, look for the
Allergy Machine Jr., available in black,
white, and sandstone.
Price: $299.99 | Read more
Vanicream Skin Lotion
This versatile lotion is a nice and
thoughtful gift for people with sensitive
skin. Many gift-set lotions are loaded with
artificial fragrances and dyes bad news
for sensitive skin! Vanicream is gentle,
effective, practical, and completely
hypoallergenic. Available in a 1 lb jar with
pump dispenser, plus the 4-oz tube makes a
great stocking stuffer.
Price: $7.95 and up | Read more
Oregon Scientific Humidity Gauge
This convenient and useful tool makes a
great gift for your hard-to-buy-for guy. It
clearly displays easy-to-read digits with
measurements of humidity and indoor and
outdoor temperatures. With an illuminated
backlight, automatic time synchronization,
dual-crescendo alarm, time and date display,
and tons of other great features, the Oregon
Scientific Humidity Gauge is sure to please
all gadget lovers. Good gift idea for dad.
Price: $45.99 | Read more
Gund Stuffed Animals
Lovable and cuddly stuffed animals make
wonderful holiday gifts for small children,
new moms, and moms-to-be. The Gund product
line is known world-wide for their
high-quality toys, making a Gund stuffed
animal a memorable and valuable gift. Plus,
these huggable toys are just so adorable and
fun, they'll quickly become any young
child's favorite. And since they're machine
washable, they'll be mom's favorite too.
Unlike many stuffed animals which collect
dirt, grime, and allergens, these are easy
to keep huggably clean.
Price: $29.99 and
up | Read more
Dyson Upright Vacuum Cleaners
A Dyson vacuum cleaner makes a good holiday
gift for mom or the whole family. These
vacuum cleaners consistently impress with
their peerless suction ability, innovative
designs, and powerful versatility. Featuring
Root8Cyclone technology, easily emptied dust
bin, HEPA filtration, telescoping reach, and
more, all in a bright and fun design. Plus,
buy before November 28, and you'll receive a
free Dyson toy. This cute kid-sized version
has simulated cyclone action and a
stretching hose with real suction, so your
little housecleaner can be just like mom or
Price: $399.99 and up | Read more
achoo! Review Quick Facts
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