AchooAllergy.com Blog
Posted by kevvyg on Friday, April 27, 2012

Super Spring Sale

Just a reminder, this weekend is the last few days to take advantage of our Super Spring Sale! Enjoy 10% off your order and free shipping on many products as well as all orders over $150. Simply shop, enter "spring10" in the coupon code box during checkout and enjoy!*

Take 10% off of nearly everyone in our warehouse like our exclusive Allergy Armor bedding (blankets, pillows, mattress covers, and pillow covers) or some of our best air purifiers, dehumidifiers and steam cleaners.

With spring pollen in the air, join the thousands of customers who are enjoying the spring breeze without the allergic reactions by using one of the best window filters available. Or just stock up one personal care products and green cleaners. Regardless of what you use, take advantage of this Spring Sale before it's too late!

* Some Exclusions Apply. See our Coupon and Sales page for more details.

Posted by kevvyg on Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The majority of our FAQ's often come from the Allergy Mask section of our site. Masks are a very personal item and often purchased for specific reasons. When choosing a mask there are two primary factors when making a base decision to narrow your choices. The FAQ video below highlights these two major criteria when selecting the mask that is right for you.



Posted by kevvyg on Monday, April 23, 2012
Auto Injectors in SchoolFor parents of children with food allergies, having and auto-injector on hand is almost second nature. With severe food allergies the risk of anaphylactic shock after exposure to the offending food allergen makes having and EpiPen nearby and easily accessible a necessity. Schools are generally responsive to the needs of children with food allergies, but laws governing the handling of EpiPens and food allergies are different from state to state. On Thursday, VA Governor Bob McDonnell is set to sign a bill that would require Virginia school to carry auto-injectors and train staff on their use.

Shortly after the death of a 7-year-old in VA in January, legislation was put forth that would require schools to stock auto injectors and train staffers on their use. Similar laws have been passed in Illinois and Georgia.

In November, Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk introduced legislation that would provide incentives for schools across the nation to provide access to and stock auto-injectors in schools. While most states allows students to self-administer epinephrine, nearly twenty-five of all anaphylaxis cases in schools involve students with no prior history of food allergies. Laws like this and those passed at the state level aim to remedy that.

Auto-injectors administer a measured dose of epinephrine, an effective countermeasure to anaphylactic shock. Most often auto injectors are associated with those who have severe food allergies, but they are effective for anyone suffering from a severe allergy that can cause anaphylaxis.

While it often takes a tragedy before meaningful and lasting action is taken, this does not have to be the case. On a personal level, take control of potential life-threatening allergies and keep you local school informed. On a larger level, working with food and other allergy networks and advocacy groups (like those listed in our Allergy Resource section on this page) can not only spread awareness but ultimately influence legislation and enact minor but critical changes.

Posted by kevvyg on Friday, April 20, 2012
With pollen levels reaching records highs very early in the year, it's a good time to take another look at controlling your indoor air quality (IAQ). While we always advise using a quality air purifier, particularly in your bedroom, cleaning the air can be much easier when you eliminate or reduce the actual causes of poor indoor air quality. Here's a quick list of IAQ problem areas and how to reduce the pollutants created by each.
  • Cleaners and Pesticides - Be aware that when you use chemical cleaners or bug sprays, that unintended byproduct can often be dirtier indoor air. Fumes from these often times harsh or toxic chemicals can quickly reduce indoor air quality. Limit their use or use more natural alternatives when possible.
  • Smoking - Ok, this is a bit of a no-brainer. Smoking indoors not only pollutes the air, but the chemicals in tobacco smoke can cling to drapes, furniture and walls for years to come. If you're not going to quit, at least smoke outdoors, or if inside, limit it to a specific room where you have a decent exhaust system or filtration system installed.
  • Furnace Filters - Furnace filters should be replaced every three months. If you have washable furnace filters please clean them regularly. Dirty or clogged furnace filters not only harm your blowers motor but they ineffective in controlling your indoor air quality.
  • Exhaust Fans - You primarily need these in your kitchen and bathroom. Why? Often it is the kitchen (burnt food and cleaners) and bathroom (harsh cleaners) where indoor air quality can be at its worst. Exhausts fans help remove noxious odor and chemical fumes, so if you have them, use them!
  • Maintain Your Heating/Cooling System - Not only can keeping this equipment running well cut your energy costs, but when it comes to IAQ, think of your heating and cooling system as the heart and lungs of your home. The central unit pushes and pulls air through the ducts throughout your home. Ensuring this is working properly ensures that air circulates properly and is filtered through your HVAC filter. Dust, dirt, allergens and other debris can settle in the vents and airways, and keeping them clean can not only improve IAQ but also keep the system running longer .
While this is not meant to be comprehensive, what it should do is highlight a few ways in which indoor air quality can be improved with some forethought and a little effort. So don't fight against your room air purifier and limit the sources of dirty indoor air.

Posted by kevvyg on Thursday, April 19, 2012
On Sale @ AchooAllergy.comFrom time to time we have an overstock of certain products here at Achoo. There are other times when we simply have short term savings that we want to pass directly on to you, our valuable customers. In the past we would run a single sale on a particular item or category, but we recently opened a new section of the website where you can always find some of our best deals.

The new On Sale section of our website now showcases some of the best allergy relief products currently being discounted. From bedding and personal care to humidity control and indoor air quality products, visit the On Sale section to find a "down and dirty" list of everything at AchooAllergy that is currently discounted.

Unlike our Clearance page, all items listed here are new - no open box, returned, demo or showroom models. And while our Clearance items save you 35% or more, our new On Sale items start around 10% off and only get better from there! Just remember, products will vary as we make special purchases to drive down cost and pass savings directly on to you! So check back often as prices and quantities are limited.

Posted by kevvyg on Monday, April 16, 2012
For centuries, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has used a variety of herbs and extracts as well as practices like massage and acupuncture, to treat a wide variety of health issues. And while TCM largely lacks Western research to prove its effectiveness, it still enjoys a wide following across the globe.

Previously, we've discussed the potential benefits of FAHF-2, one of very few Chinese herbal remedies that was actually cleared for human trails to test efficacy in curing allergies. Here, we are focusing more on OTC herbal supplements and how a recent study raises some serious questions about the efficacy, safety and even legality of some of these herbs.

In a piece recently published in the Genetics section of the Public Library of Science, highlights some potential problems with the ingredients found in many of these herbs. By deep sequencing the DNA found in Chinese herb samples, scientists found derivatives of endangered plants and animals as well as some linked to toxic plants and heavy metals.

Using this new methodology, researchers are able to trace the substances found in the herbs to their organic origins. Identified using this type of DNA sequencing were the Asiatic black bear and Saiga antelope (both endangered species) as well to the plant generas Ephedra and Asarum. Ephedra containing substances were banned in the United States since 2004, and some species of Asarum contain a known carcinogen.

While the testing was not meant to cast a negative light on Chinese herbs, what it did was highlight a few things. First, the source of some of these herbs is somewhat dubious. Given the increase in the TCM market over the last several years, the use of endangered species or toxic plants is troubling on several fronts.

Secondly, the study did highlight problems with labeling, mainly in the form of missing ingredients or misrepresented ingredients (something claiming to be pure Antelope but tested out to show the presence of goat and sheep DNA). Another important instance of this was in regards to undeclared tree nut derivatives in some samples. Both of these can have potentially severe allergic and even religious consequences.

Ultimately there is a long history of benefit with the use of Chinese herbs, but this recent study shows that there is great room for improvement when it comes to the regulating and ensuring the safety of Chinese herbs. So for many, allergy sufferers and non-allergy sufferers alike, their can be benefit to Chinese herbs, but take caution when using or purchasing.

Posted by kevvyg on Friday, April 13, 2012
Shop Allergy Relief Products

Kick your seasonal allergies and save now by taking advantage of our Spring Sale! From now until the end of April, save 10% on all purchases* at AchooAllergy.com. From our exclusive brand of allergy bedding to personal care products, home appliances and everything in between, enjoy special savings as you shop!

Breathe better when you purchase a HEPA Air Purifier for your home.
Sleep sounder with our exclusive Allergy Armor bedding.
Prepare for the hot humid months of summer with a home dehumidifier.

These are just some of the ways you can save! Use coupon code "spring10" at checkout.

*Some exclusions apply. See our Promotions page for further details.

Posted by kevvyg on Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Toxic Trio - Toulene, Formaldehyde, Dibutyl Phthalate (DBP)Some time ago, we mentioned the "toxic-trio" (toulene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and formaldehyde) in relation to nail salons and nail care. In response to increasing awareness and in advance of upcoming regulations governing the toxic chemicals used in nail polish, many manufacturers began selling nail products free of these three chemicals.... or so we thought.

The California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC), released a summary of findings in which random samples of off-the-shelf nail products were tested and found to contain one or more of the toxic trio chemicals. What's more, many of the nail products containing these chemicals had labeling that specifically claimed they were free of the them.

Using EPA testing methods designed to characterize hazardous waste, DTSC labs screened a total of 25 products purchased directly from the shelves of consumer retail outlets. Of the samples, 12 claimed to be free of at least one of the toxic trio chemical while 7 claimed to be free of all three. When tested, five of those seven claiming to be "three-free" failed to substantiate this claim. Ten of twelve products claiming to be "toulene-free" actually contained toulene.

With Safer Consumer Products regulations going into effect in California later this year, these test results shed some light on not only compliance but also marketing and inconsistent labeling of these products. Unfortunately, it seems that even products that are labeled to be free of these toxic chemicals fail to live up to their claims.

The entirety of the findings and list of products tested can be found here (FYI, it's a slow loading PDF from the ca.gov website).

Posted by kevvyg on Tuesday, April 10, 2012
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & ImmunologyIn an effort to reduce waste and needless testing in healthcare, "Choose Wisely" is a public health initiative recently launched by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Using "top five" lists, the "Choose Wisely" series presents some of the most over used and least helpful medical tests and procedures found in the healthcare field. As the first in this series, "Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question" was released late last weekend and focuses on the areas of asthma, allergies and other immune system disorders.

From this initial list, the top two items were to avoid using IgG or battery of IgE tests as the primary basis for diagnosing an allergy, and to stop prescribing antibiotics for uncomplicated acute rhinosinusitis. These two things touch issues we've highlighted in recent months.

Immunoglobulin G (IgG) and Immunoglobulin E (IgE) tests alone are not accurate in determining an allergy, and overreliance on these tests can often lead to false positives. They are convenient, easy, and give you answers, but unfortunately, those answers aren't always accurate. Instead of general testing, the "Choose Wisely" top-five suggests a doctor take into account the patients history and physical exam records, then administer a specific IgE test based on these factors. Combined, these three pieces form a more complete picture of the puzzle and can dramatically reduce the occurrence of false positives in allergy testing.

Over prescription of antibiotics for sinusitis is something we touched recently with this post. For quite some time it has been the theory that not only are they ineffective in most cases, but overuse, in general, in directly leading to their ineffectiveness against modern germs. Most acute sinus infections are viral in nature, and like we learned in high school biology, antibiotics are ineffective against viruses. Additionally, most viral sinus infections run their course in a couple weeks.

In all, there are five recommendations put forth that deal with allergies, asthma or immune disorders. You can find the full list here. We encourage anyone who suffers from allergies, asthma or related disorder to take a look and see if any apply to you. Then the next time you visit your allergist, ENT or doctor, discuss them and see if there are ways to curb certain tests or treatments which may not offer much benefit.

Posted by kevvyg on Friday, April 06, 2012
In our continual effort to help you find relief from allergies, asthma, and MCS as well as to maintain a healthier home, we've started a series of FAQ videos. Each month hundreds of people submit "Frequently Asked Questions" to our site. The majority of those are answered within 24 hours with many of those being posted back to the site to help others.

However, some questions are best answered by showing you as opposed to writing. While you still will receive answers via email to all submitted questions, starting this week we're going to take a few of those FAQ's and answer them in a short video. This week, I'd like to thank Hermione, Maryann and Christine for their submissions.



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