Let's start at the door. The first person you often see if someone checking IDs. This person also turns away people who aren't dressed appropriately or anyone who seems like they might cause problems once inside. This character is a lot like your HEPA filter. Pollen, dander, dust, and other D-list celebrities (Note to Bruce Campbell - You're in!) aren't allowed to pass, and for people with allergies or asthma, they represent potential troublemakers. The HEPA filter refuses to allow 99.97% of all particles 0.3 microns or larger to pass.
A certain group of troublemakers get by the HEPA filter. They dress the part and for them, the HEPA filter makes an exception. This group includes things like smoke, fragrance, chemical vapors, and exhaust emissions. Fortunate for you though, you have a friend on the inside - activated carbon.
Activated carbon is the equivalent of a social butterfly. He's hip. He's cool, and he REALLY enjoys giving out free hugs. While smoke, chemical vapors and others may get by the HEPA filter, activated carbon seeks these characters out, and once he finds them, it's time for a hug! Like long lost pals, molecules bind with activated carbon in a warm, permanent embrace. Because of the molecular composition of activated carbon, substances are naturally attracted to him, but there are still some things that can slip by the embrace of even activated carbon. This is where a blended carbon filter comes in.
Friends of activated carbon can vary, but all help him do his job better. Some friends, like zeolite will attract and soak up chemicals. Others play a slightly different role. Substances like potassium permangante, potassium iodide, magnesium dioxide, or copper oxide act in one of two ways. They either seek out some of the bad apples that slip by activated carbon and bind to them, or they play the role of the "mean girl". Particularly harmful compounds like dioxins and hydrocarbon pollution are literally broken apart into smaller, inert components via the process of oxidation. So in this way, they broaden carbons ability to remove reaction causing compounds.
So, yes, your air purifier is actually like a night club, and some of the best filter out a wide range of bad apples and prevent them from causing you problems. Knowing what triggers your reactions and matching it to the right filter media is the winning combination when it comes to controlling asthma, allergies, and chemical sensitivities.Want to see our top pick for best air purifiers for allergies and asthma or our top MCS and VOC air purifiers? Or click here to see a picture of my dog in a Santa hat (he is NOT amused).
Author: K. Gilmore
What's the difference between the C600 and C600DLX? In reality, they are much more alike than different. Both have the staple features of an AirPura, including quiet operation, the largest coverage area, superior airflow, separate filters, simple operation, steel construction, and a sealed system. Throughout both machines, there is very little plastic or adhesive, and the gaskets are felt instead of rubber or foam. These things reduce the potential for off-gassing, which is particularly important for people with chemical sensitivities.
The primary difference between these two models is in the carbon filter. While both use 26 lbs. of granular, activated carbon, created from a coconut shell base, the C600DLX employs a blend of carbon. Very similar to the VOCARB blend that you'll find in a competing brand, the AirPura C600DLX carbon blend is designed to capture a broader range of chemical vapors, making it uniquely suited for a VOC filtration. So while the standard C600 is great for most residential applications, for situations dealing with heavy concentrations of VOC from industrial pollution, exhaust emissions, or large areas of newly painted walls or newly finished floors, the C600DLX is an excellent alternative. Perhaps the best part about these two models - the filters are interchangeable. If you have a C600 and want better VOC filtration, simply purchase the C600DLX replacement filter when your current filter is all used up, and you've turned your C600 into the C600DLX.
The C600DLX is the first in a few models that you can expect to see added to the line in the coming week. For more information on the C600DLX air purifier or to see all AirPura models.
Today is your last chance to take advantage of our Black Friday/Cyber Monday savings. You have until midnight tonight to take 15% off your purchase by using promo code SHOP14 when you check out. Take 15% off air purifiers, HEPA vacuum cleaners, allergy bedding and organic blankets, top quality home humidifiers, and all the products you want to make this holiday season an allergy-free one!
Also ending today is the the Reliable steam cleaner sale. Take up to $100 off select Reliable steam cleaners. Sanitize and deep clean your home for holiday visitors, removing dirt, grime, and killing viruses and bacteria all without the chemical odors and residues. With just the power of heat and steam, you can deep clean a better way.
Remember, each order enters you into our drawing for a $500 Prepaid VISA gift card. So take advantage of these savings while they last and get a chance to sweeten your holidays with a $500 gift card to spend on whatever you like.
Author: Kevin Gilmore
In 2010 his son, Jovante, died of a severe asthma attack. A student athlete who was just 16 years old at the time, Jovante had been diagnosed with asthma at the age of two. In honor of his son, Woods started the Jovante Wood Foundation based on three things that came to define his son. In addition to asthma awareness, the other two keys of the foundation are organ donation and education. Unaware at the time, Jovante had actually signed up to be an organ donor, which at the time of his passing helped to save the lives of others. And, while he played football like his father, Jovante was also an A student, maintaining a 3.8 GPA in high school.
Asthma affects roughly 25 million Americans and causes nearly two million visits to emergency rooms across the country each year. While mortality rates remain relatively low, about ten people per day die from asthma attacks. What is likely most troubling is that, according to the Center for Disease Control, asthma rates have been trending up, from affecting 1:14 in 2001 to 1:12 in 2009.
Though asthma can be managed, there are a variety of factors that can effect asthma outcomes, from environmental issues and exercise to proper prescriptions and avoidance of triggers. For many, education remains a key factor, which is why things like the Woods Foundation and another initiatives (even apps/games like the WellaPets we mentioned a while ago) remain important. In an interview with a local ABC affiliate in Woods' hometown of Fresno, he mentions one thing that he "didn't know is that asthma could kill." He's not alone. When it comes to asthma so many of us have a similar mindset, in that asthma has become so common, we can sometimes lose sight of just how powerful it can be.
Ickey Woods' NFL career was cut short because of injury, but he continues to use that brief time in his life to promote a cause that effects millions across the country. Woods was ecstatic to have his number called (number 44) at the deli counter, but he was still wearing his old Bengals number on his t-shirt, #30.
For more information on the Jovante Wood Foundation. If you've got a Bengals or Ickey Woods fan in the family, you can pick up some autographed Bengals swag, and the money goes towards the scholarships that the foundation funds as well as asthma research and organ donation.
Watch Ickey Shuffle at the Deli Counter
Author: K. Gilmore
Shop now until middnight on December 4th, 2014 to take advantage of savings on air purifiers, allergy bedding, HEPA vacuum cleaners, humidifiers and more! Whether you've been putting off a purchase in the hopes of getting the best deal or are simply looking to treat yourself to the best this holiday season, you can now save and earn the chance to make your holiday shopping even sweeter.
Enter the promo code SHOP14 at checkout to take 15% off your order. If you have any problems with applying the code to your specific purchase or have any questions, contact us toll free at 1-800-339-7123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Some exclusions apply. Promotion is over December 5th, 2014 with VISA gift card drawing the following week. Visit our AchooAllergy.com Coupon Page for full more details.
Author: K. Gilmore
This question can be a very difficult one to answer. Alcohol, though consumed like juice, food, or soda (though your liver hopes not with the same frequency!), isn't governed by the same regulations or even the same agency as these others. While foods and most beverages fall under the domain of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), alcohol falls under the guidance and regulations of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a subdivision of the Department of Treasury. This INCLUDES labeling rules and regulations. So while your mega-jumbo-can-o-caffeinated-monkey-juice will most certainly have a label listing the nutritional value and all the ingredients, alcohol is almost always devoid of the former (and often the latter as well). Though it is often easier to determine how many calories are in your alcoholic beverage of choice, finding the actual ingredients that make up that drink is another story entirely.
Many producers do list ingredients on their website or have at least become savvy enough to list some of the common allergens that are NOT in their products, particularly nuts or nut derivatives. Beyond visiting websites and doing your own investigative research, many people are left with only anecdotal evidence as to whether a type of drink can cause a reaction or not.
Distilled spirits (think whiskey, rum, etc.) have a list of standard requirements when it comes to labeling. These include
- Alcohol Content
- Address of Distiller Country of Origin
- Net Contents (a metric measurement of volume)
- Coloring Agents (colored with caramel, annatto, etc.)
- Wood Treatment ("beechwood aged" ring a bell?)
- Other Ingredients like Dyes, (Yellow #5), Saccharin, or Sulfites
- Specific Type of Commodity (redistilled, blended, compounded, etc.)
- Statement of Age
- Distillation/Production Location
- A Health Warning
As of right now, major food allergens can voluntarily be listed for wines, distilled spirits, and malt beverages, but again, this is only voluntary. There has been a proposal to make this mandatory, and since 2006, nothing has been finalized... eight years later.
And, even if you do find a list of ingredients, this still may not cover a statement regarding the processing. Though some can tell you that there are no nuts in their products, many can't ensure their products were produced in a facility that is also nut-free. This touches on another problem, cross-contamination.
Bartenders and those mixing drinks work in fast paced environments and worrying about cross contaminating a drink is likely not high on the priority list when there are half a dozen orders rolling in at a time. A good general tip is to skip the garnish. One garnish in particular that can be troublesome for those with nut allergies is maraschino cherries. These are often processed or flavored with almond extract. If you know a favorite mix or type of drink that is safe for you and you order it with no garnish, you can dramatically reduce any risk. At that point ingredients should be coming straight from the bottle to your glass.
For reference purposes, here's a quick list of some common alcoholic beverages that contain nuts or nut extracts. Keep in mind, things can and do change, so contacting the producer is still your best bet.
- Creme de noyaux
- Creme de noix
- Kahana Royale
- Bombay Sapphire
- Harp Lager
- Phillips Dirty Squirrel
- Southern Comfort
This list is by no means comprehensive, and there are MANY varieties of wines, beers, champagnes and other types of alcohol I excluded because they to be rather obvious choices to avoid (many had things like "Nut", "Cashew", or "Almond" in the actual name).
In general, I advise people to stick with what they know. For people with severe nut allergies being adventurous around the holidays can likely lead to some not-so-festive memories. Check producers websites whenever possible, and if you don't see the information you need listed, call or email them. Most producers would much prefer you contact them and err on the side of safety when consuming their products. Lastly, make sure you keep your auto injector (and a backup!) handy at all times.
Unfortunately, all we've covered today is nuts. If you are one of the rare people who has a wheat or gluten allergy, that's a whole other ball of wax. Be safe and enjoy the holidays responsibly!
First, let's take a look at why your nose is so festive when it's cold out. We all can't be body doubles for Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, but if you're standing at the bus stop on a cold day, it may appear that we're all headed to the same audition. As the temperature dips, the body's natural response is to warm things back up. The initial response from your body is to send extra blood to the extremities that are cold. This extra blood fills the tiny blood vessels in your nose and gives it that red hue. The same is true for your hands, at least initially.
If the internal temperature in your hands and feet dips too much, the body literally goes into survival mode and begins to cut its losses. Retaining its core temperature becomes priority number one and the process of vasoconstriction begins. Vasoconstriction is when the body begins to decrease blood flow to the extremities in an effort to reduce heat loss at the extremities and retain heat in the core. Before we get too far off track, lets circle back again to the nose.
The other common change your nose undergoes in cold weather is that it may begin to mimic a leaky faucet. Like the steady drip of poor plumbing, your nose will start dripping clear fluid. Yes Virginia, it's mucus. Normally, mucus serves two purposes. First, it humidifies the air you breathe, adding much needed moisture to air before it reaches the lungs. Second, it filters the air. In moderate temperatures mucus is constantly being produced and constantly moving, but when the mercury falls, it thickens and moves very slowly or ceases movement at all. While your river of mucus may have stopped moving, the body keeps producing it, and with nowhere to go, it begins to drip out of your nose.
You can take some solace with both of these things. First, you hardly notice a red nose. If you're outside in the cold with others, you'll all be freezing your noses off, and there's nothing like sharing when it comes to misery! As far as your runny nose goes, many times you don't notice this either, as the cold numbs the nose, deadening out the ability for you to even feel that inevitable drip, drip, drip.
So, you've decided a red nose or dripping nose isn't for you, eh? Last time I checked, I'm not a polar bear, and while some of us may have issues with excessive body hair, we simply can't compete with cold weather. There are a couple things you can do to help with this, and the easiest is to get out of the cold. If you have to be outside, get a mask. A cold weather mask can be a great way to trap moisture and warmth around your face and nose, not only reducing the potential of cold weather induced asthma but making the frigid air you're breathing much more manageable. Frequent breaks and warm liquids are also good ideas.
At this point, I would suggest a ski mask, but there might be at least one drawback to this. Unless you're on the slopes, you may give your neighbors the wrong impression. With daylight savings time pushing sunset back earlier and earlier, nothing says "Hello, neighbor!" like jogging around the neighborhood, at night in a nice, warm ski mask! (To Mr. Phelps and his Yorkie - I'm sorry!!) For people who regularly work out in cold temperatures, there is an upside. After repeated exposure to colder temperatures, the body will acclimate through the process of habituation (though don't think that drippy and red nose is going anywhere).
In conclusion, it is likely time we accept that we're not penguins with hands or woolly mammoths sans trunks and tusks. No, we're humans, who get cold, red, runny noses. Go inside, have some hot coco and read another one of my blog posts! Or look at cat pictures... because at this point, I'm too cold to care.
Author: K. Gilmore
As the latest example of the role bacteria can play in overcoming these diseases, Spanish scientists presented clinical trial results to the 45th Conference on Lung Health in Barcelona. Though this conference or much of the information presented hardly registered a blip in the news, there were many items of importance that surfaced. As previously demonstrated on mice and now hundreds of volunteers, a probiotic derived from a specific bacteria has been shown to moderate the immune response to tuberculosis. When used for two weeks the probiotic essentially teaches the body how to tolerate the mycobacterium tuberculosis preventing the resulting lung infection that is the hallmark of TB.
While the immune system fights disease, in the case of TB, it can actually aid in the progression of the infection. Microphages, a type of white blood cell, engulf and digest debris and microbes within our body. Once the immune system identifies the TB bacteria as a threat, microphages set out to engulf and digest them. Often though, the bacteria isn't destroyed and instead replicates and ultimately kills off the microphage. The probiotic, by encouraging the immune system to ignore the bacteria, reduces its ability to become an active infection and tamps down the inflammation response that is key to this.
While TB was nearly eradicated during the 1950s, thanks to antibiotics, the bacteria has resurfaced in a more virulent active form that is resistant to many of the common antibiotics that have worked in the past. TB affects tens of millions annually and currently requires extensive and often expensive treatments. This makes the Nyaditum resae (name of the new probiotic) even more newsworthy since use requires weeks, not months or years, and the projected cost is about $5 (Yup, FIVE BUCKS!). Here in the U.S., the cost to treat TB can range from as low as $17,000 to as high as $430,000 (for the most drug resistant strains). Instances of TB in the U.S. is relatively low, just over 9500 cases in 2013.
Nyaditum resae is to be first available in India where nearly 1.5 million incidences of TB surface annually. While the initial article I came across used the "c" word, as in cure, that is not quite the case. However, if the probiotic can manage to successfully retrain the immune response to the bacteria, it could theoretically prevent the active, contagious form of the disease, and for most, that's just as good as eradicating it.
A full list of abstracts from the 45th World Conference on Lung Health.
More Posts on the Link Between Microbes and Our Health:
Positive Link Between Absence of Gut Bacteria and Allergy Development
Fungi Diversity In Lungs Link to Asthma
Bacteria Triggers Allergic Response?
Hygiene Hypothesis and Stomach Bacteria
Author: K. Gilmore
Figures courtesy of CDC.gov and TBFacts.org
Good ole Ricola -Their trademark "Magic 10 herbs"(Lemon Balm, Horehound, Elder, Peppermint, Mallow, Sage, Thyme, Lime Flowers, Hyssop & Wild Thyme) all happen to be within the mint (lamiaceae) or mallow (malvaceae) families, with the exception of the Elder. All of these plants seem to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties to help fight bacterial infections. In my opinion, Ricola's are also delicious so they're not really a burden and taste much better than other cough drops.
Echinacea tea - This was a pleasant surprise! I was recently given a box of tea of what I thought was just peppermint tea (a natural decongestant), but when I opened the box I saw that it was also filled with Echinacea tea! Echinacea is great for your immune system, and has been used by Native Americans for over 400 years as a "cure-all" plant. It contains flavonoids, alkamides, and glyoprotiens, all chemical components that contribute to this aster's therapeutic role in herbal remedies. The combination of these two teas have definitely made my cough easier to deal with.
Local Honey - Honey is a natural cough suppressant. I have many memories of my mom making me and my cousins eat a spoonful of honey, lime juice, and a slice of a beet. I used to whine more than all the rest about this, but now that I'm older the trio isn't bad at all... though I still don't know why the beet was ever added to this mix.
Morning showers - I feel like a completely different person after a hot shower! It helps me loosen up the congestion that's collected in my body throughout the night and lets me drain it all out without feeling dirty or gross afterwards. If I'm feeling really ambitious in the morning, I'll put a few drops of Silk Swan eucalyptus essential oil in a dish and set it in the corner of my shower to aid the decongestion process.
Stadler Form Anton humidifier - this compact humidifier has been doing wonders for me this week! As the temperature drops, so does the amount of moisture air can hold, and putting much needed moisture back into the air is where a humidifier can make all the difference. As soon as I started to notice a drop in humidity, I pulled it out of the closet and plugged it in. Already I can feel a difference. Stadler Form humidifiers are nice because some models allow you to use essential oils in the tank, which I love.
Hopefully, with all of this natural relief paired up with plenty of sleep and water, I will be completley cough-free by next week. I think the most helpful tools that I'm using to fight this cough are my Stadler humidifier and the herbal teas. If you are trying to go on a natural path for decongestion and sore throat relief, I highly suggest the humidifier, herbal teas with honey, and plenty of beauty rest!
Author: R. Power
Why are they less expensive? There are two main reasons for this. First, the fabric itself is a big reason why we dropped the price. Polartec was finally able to supply us with fabric that was wide enough to eliminate any seams in our blankets. This means they not only look better, but they are quicker and easier for us to sew for you. The other reason is that we simply purchased more raw materials. Larger volume = lower price.
So what are the other differences between these blankets? Aside from the fact that king and queen sizes no longer have seams, there is now an additional color to choose from, so currently your choices are Ivory, Navy, and Light Blue. All are available in Twin, Queen and King sizes. The fabric itself is actually thicker than before. Polartec has long been the leader in American made fleece and textiles built for warmth, and the Polartec 200 fleece is no different. While it is still super lightweight, the slightly thicker fleece feels more plush, even after several washes. The way we sew them has also changed. Now each blanket features a hemmed edge for extra durability. So overall, you're getting a better product, with several upgrades, for less money.
There are a few features that have remained the same. First, we use only Polartec fleece, made right here in the U.S.A. Check the tag on the fleece you see in your big box store, and I will almost guarantee you won't see "Made in the USA" on it. Second, each blanket is handcrafted and packaged here in our Atlanta location then shipped to you. Next, all of our Polartec blankets are machine wash and dry. This is important for people with allergies or asthma, as washing your bedding more frequently and in hot water is key to reducing dust mites. Lastly, each blanket won't pill, water resistant, and 6" longer than comparable fleece blankets. So warm up this winter with our new and improved Allergy Armor Polartec blanket!
To see all of our Exclusive Allergy Armor bedding.