Posted by kevvyg on Monday, September 24, 2012
No, it's not your imagination. This fall's allergy season has been a miserable one. Across the nation, allergists and physicians are seeing more people in their offices, many of whom have never suffered from fall allergies before. With more people across all ages suffering, many people are asking, why?

Ragweed - King of Fall AllergensFall allergy season revolves around two main types of allergens - ragweed pollen and mold spores. While cedar/juniper pollen and other fall pollinators contribute, the bulk of late season allergy sufferers are effected by ragweed and mold.

Of these two, ragweed is the fall King of Allergens. Each plant can produce billions of pollen granules which are light enough to easily be carried by a stiff breeze. This year, the drought gripping the majority of the US has exacerbated ragweed pollen counts. Drier than normal conditions have allowed for pollen to spread far and wide.

Wildfires Making Allergies Far WorseThroughout the west, wildfires continue to dump tons of smoke and ash into the air. Those with pre-existing heart or lung conditions, as well as allergy and asthma sufferers, can be particularly vulnerable to these types of pollutants. And while the physical damage that these fires can cause is relatively local, the smoke and pollution from miles of burning forest can reach across several states.

The drought is the ultimate culprit for this year's poorer than average air quality. Dry air and a severe lack of rain has allowed for an expanded reach of ragweed pollen while simultaneously creating a tinderbox of forests. Long term weather patterns aren't providing much hope. Drier and warmer than normal conditions are expected to persist for several more weeks, and for most, relief won't come until the first frost of the year.

Until then, keep an eye on your local air quality index and try to limit outdoor activity during the worst days/times of day. For persistent conditions like coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, congestion and sinus pressure that simply won't go away, visit your local allergist or immunologist to determine if you might be a new allergy sufferer or dealing with something like bronchitis or sinusitis.

Posted by kevvyg on Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Masks are always a big topic for us not only because they are so popular but also because there are so many varieties available.  We recently added a few new masks, which are geared towards the outdoor enthusiast, the RZ Mask.

The RZ mask comes in a variety of styles and a few sizes, and to start we've chosen three colors that break up the monotony of most facemask designs.  The sizes range from XL (for large adults), to Regular (fits most adults) and Youth.  Each mask comes with two sets of filters and a small nylon pouch for storage.

Red Z Mask  Blue Z Mask  Camo Z Mask

Now, we wouldn't be introducing a new mask unless it could help allergy and asthma sufferers, and the RZ mask is no exception.  Tested for Particle Filter Efficiency (PFE) by an independent lab, the RZ's filters trap 99.9% of particle 0.1 microns or larger.  With a proper fit, that is ideal for capturing particles like pollen, mold spores, dust and other particles found in the outdoor air.  A thin layer of carbon/charcoal cloth also works to adsorb nuisance level odors and chemicals.  Though the PFE is the only independently certified testing done on the filters to this point, a DOP test, the precurser to obtaining an official NIOSH rating, is in the works.

Like the Respro mask, the RZ has a neoprene shell with a velcro strap along the back.  A rigid, yet adjustable nosepiece and removable (to clean away an debris) valves are also features of this face mask.

Though the colors and styles may not be for everyone, for those who off-road with bicycles, ATV's, dirt bikes, hunt, farm, fish or for any outdoor enthusiast, the RZ mask is a great way to remove particle allergens and block dust.

Keep an eye out in the coming days. Since the Respro and RZ masks are very similar in design and function, we will be doing a video comparing the two.

Author: Kevin

Posted by Kevin on Wednesday, September 12, 2012
We often get questions from allergy sufferers who are looking for allergists or immunologists in their specific city or state. While we do partner with many different allergists throughout the country (you may have come across our catalogs or single sheet flyers), we do not necessarily have a comprehensive listing of all the allergists or immunologists who are out there. If you are looking for someone local to help you with your allergies, we do recommend a place where you can quickly and simply search for one.

Our friends over at the AAAAI (American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology) have put together a database of board certified allergists and immunologists.

Search for Local Board Certified Allergists

Simply enter your zip code or city/state and to search. What you will get is a list of local allergist and immunologist in within the range of the area you specified.

See List of Local Allergists

You can then click on each listing to see more information about the allergist you've selected such as what type of practice they offer, where they received their training, what types of patients they see, if they are conversant in Spanish, and location/contact information. If you have health insurance, you can cross reference these care providers with your approved list.

It is always helpful to ask friends and family, and social networks are an easy way to ask many of your friends and family quickly if they have any experience with the local allergist you are considering.

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Tags: Allergies
Posted by kevvyg on Wednesday, September 05, 2012
IQAir has long been a leader in air filtration, and as part of their largest upgrade to their residential air purifier offering, they have introduced the New Edition of their HealthPro and MultiGas models. The IQAir New Edition air purifiers are already in many homes and can be identified by "NE" on the outer box labeling. So what are some of the features of the New Edition IQAir Purifiers?

The upgraded IQ Air purifiers have three key upgrades when it comes to performance.
  • Up to 25% More Clean Air
  • Up to 38% Longer Filter Life
  • Lastly, 32% Quieter
These three features address some drawbacks that can be found with most air purifiers. First, the increase in cleaner air comes, in part, from a redesigned motor. This more aerodynamic motor moves more air through the filters than before.

Second, the longer filter life comes from an increase in the prefilter and HyperHEPA filter media. As an example, the old HyperHEPA filters typically had 30 sq. feet of HEPA filter media, while the new filters have 53 sq. ft. Longer life also comes with advances in the actual pleating of the media during construction. New Edition GC MultiGas Air PurifierThese two things combine to allow for greater filtration efficiency. With larger, more efficient prefilters and HEPA filters, the IQAir HealthPro and GC MultiGas models are able to last longer while cleaning more air.

Lastly, the noise is considerably less. Despite pushing more air through more filter media, the redesigned fans create less noise on all settings. Consequently, the actual power consumption of the all four residential IQAir models has decreased, meaning your IQAir costs you even less to operate! has been shipping the new models for a few weeks now, so if you've ordered in that time period, chances are good you have one of the IQAir New Edition air purifiers. If not, now is the time to try one and see the difference!

Author: K. Gilmore

Posted by kevvyg on Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Popular Asthma Drug Stunts GrowthIn a recent study presented at the European Respiratory Society conference in Vienna, researchers defined the link between the use of a common asthma treatment drug and a child's height. For years it has been believed that budesonide, the primary active drug in Pulmicort, temporarily slowed the growth of children but that as the children grew into adults, their height eventually "caught up." This most recent study finds that the long term effects on adult height, though minimal, are permanent.

When accounting for all factors across multiple age groups, researchers found that prepubescent children who took a twice daily dose of the inhaled glucocorticoid were an average of 1.2 cm (just under half an inch) shorter than those in the placebo group. As the children grew to be adults, the slowing in growth was not cumulative nor was it progressive.

Overall, this is likely a case of not wanting to throw the baby out with the bathwater. While height is minimally effected, particularly with higher doses and with younger children, the overall effect of fewer asthma attacks ultimately outweighs this potential side effect.

For doctors and parents, this study should prompt a discussion about the use budesonide and finding the minimal dose required to control asthma while limiting any potential growth issues.

To read the original articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Keep an eye out the next three days as this week is VIRUS WEEK!

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