Posted by kevvyg on Tuesday, October 30, 2012
With most of the country firmly in fall's grip, and a large portion of the northeast dealing with a simply awful storm, I hope everyone stays warm, dry and safe. With that being said here's an update on some news and notes here at Achoo.

Organic Cotton Pillow CoversThe response to the changes we've made to our organic cotton allergy covers has been tremendous. We recently switched our sourcing of our organic cotton to a Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). This has created two big advantages for you. First, we've cut the production time way day, and while you still may get a notice that one of our organic cotton covers is on backorder, 99% ship that same day. Secondly, we've also significantly lowered the price, by as much as 50% on some products.

Not only is keeping up with this demand keeping our seamstresses busy, but with winter quickly approaching they are also very busy fulfilling a large blanket contract for our men and women in the Marine Corp.

On another bedding related note, we realize that our allergy duvet covers are very popular amongst a large portion of allergy and asthma sufferers. It is often an overlooked source of dust mites, but a common complaint we hear about the covers is that they are plain (in color) and lack clips (to keep the comforter in place inside of them). While the clip issues and color is difficult to change without the use of chemical dyes or great expense, we've decided to take a different approach to this. Keep an eye out for a new AchooAllergy brand comforter. Here's a hint, you won't need a separate duvet allergy cover for it.

Blue Cold Weather MaskAs the temperatures dip, we always see a big push for our cold weather mask. While most masks retain some heat, this mask has fleece to help create a pocket of warmth around your nose and mouth. As the cold enters, it is warmed and moistened before you breathe it in. This helps those who want to continue outdoor activities and exercise throughout the year but who may suffer from cold weather induced asthma. In addition to the standard black cold weather mask, we've now added navy. So you now have a choice in terms of color of your cold weather mask.

Lastly, we've been looking through and testing a variety of mattresses, so look for these to possibly make a reappearance on the site in the near future. Keep those effected by Soupy Sandy in your thoughts and have a safe and fun Halloween tomorrow evening!

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Posted by kevvyg on Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Itchy and red from scratching dry skinA couple hours after I got out of the shower made it official - it's fall. I always know when it is officially fall for me when I first notice a dry spot of skin on my arm, particularly after a shower. Of course, you can always check your local weather or the temperature/humidity gauge in your home, but I prefer my officially unofficial method. Regardless of how you come to this conclusion, the results of this will be the same - dry skin, a sore throat in the mornings, more dust in the air, and chapped lips. Severity of these things will vary, but there is a relatively simple solution to this wintertime problem.

All of the problems listed above are a symptom of less moisture in the air. While this can be a great thing in terms of reducing dust mites and mold in your home, air that is too dry, just as air that is too moist, can have a negative impact. In the Southeast, as well as other parts of the U.S., fall can be a very dry time of year. Low humidity, little to no rain, and cooler fall temperatures can all work to make your home a little less than comfortable, but the simple solution is to put moisture back into the air in your home with a home humidifier.

Humidifiers use ordinary tap water and put much needed moisture back into the air in your home. An indoor relative humidity level between 40 and 50% can mean you lose less of your body's natural moisture. A steady relative humidity level can also reduce dust. As humidity levels drop, dust particles do not stick together or clump. Instead of tiny cluster of dust particles that are more likely to settle out on the floor (where you can vacuum them up), the remain separate, lighter and more likely to float through the air that you breath. Air that is very dry can actually leach away moisture from wood trim and furniture, moisture that keeps these things from cracking and splitting.

By putting moisture back into the air you can relieve many of these symptoms. If you already own a humidifier, now is the time to pull it out of the closet or garage and do a few minutes of maintenance. Typical humidifier upkeep can include changing demineralization cartridges or mineral pads, removing scale from internal components with a homemade solution or premade cleaning or descaling powder like EZ Cal, replacing any ionic or silver sticks (that prevent microbe growth), and simply wiping the humidifier down and testing to make sure it is working properly.

By maintaining the proper humidity level throughout the fall and winter months, you can do much to avoid dry and cracked sinuses, dry skin and other problems, common during this part of the year.

Author: KevvyG

Posted by kevvyg on Thursday, October 11, 2012
Allergy Armor Organic Cotton BeddingIt's not often that we have the opportunity to announce that prices are going down. Too often we get stuck in the position of passing on a message from the manufacturer - raw materials cost more, fuel costs more, so now the products are going to cost more. This, however, is different, so we are very pleased to announce that we have cut the price on all of our Allergy Armor Organic cotton bedding covers!

By bringing production in-house for the majority of our allergy bedding covers, we've dramatically cut costs to be able to offer certified organic cotton allergy bedding at the best prices possible. On average organic mattress covers have dropped by about 25% while the organic pillow covers have dropped in price by as much as 50%. On top of this, we are currently offering an additional 10% off most products, including this bedding. If you were considering organic cotton allergy covers, now is the time to buy.

Allergy Armor Organic Cotton is GOTS CertifiedAllergy Armor Organic Cotton bedding is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS). GOTS is the most widely recognized organic textile certification agency in the world. From farm to finished product, Allergy Armor Organic Cotton bedding is free of fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, dyes, resins, and other compounds that are common in modern textile production. GOTS certification also ensures that laborers are treated fairly and that environmental standards are met. We do this to be able to bring you and all allergy, asthma and MCS sufferers a product that is better for the environment and better for you!

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Posted by kevvyg on Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Be Careful When Choosing Your Pet ProductsAs a dog owner, keeping my dog clean and free of ticks and fleas can sometimes seem like a real chore. Over the years I have tried a few different methods in controlling fleas and ticks. Though I never used a flea collar, I have tried the shampoos and the treatments that you apply down the back of the dog. A few years ago, I stopped using both of these things, particularly after actually reading up on some of the chemicals that these products contain, mainly insecticides. (Though when a bottle of shampoo has to have a disclaimer about being toxic to aquatic life, I should have taken that as a bad sign.) Beyond potential issues with your pet's health, they can also have an adverse effect on some people.

The active ingredient in most modern tick and flea shampoos is commonly a pyrethroid, a class of organic compounds related to natural pyrethrins found in some flowers. Most household insecticides stem from this class of chemicals. The problem with many of these is that, quiet bluntly, they are toxic. Most have labels that state as much, particularly with regard to animals and aquatic life. Pyrethroids are considered safe for vertebrates since they have the enzymes and biology in place to break down these chemicals in fairly short order.

Except for cats... Ostensibly, dogs and humans can break down these insecticides in the liver in kidneys without long term effects. Because cats cannot breakdown a common pyrethroid used in flea and tick treatments, phenothrin was pulled by most manufacturers in 2006. Adverse reactions ranging from tremors and hair loss to salivation and death were reported when used with cats.

Cats notwithstanding, most pets and humans are fairly safe when using products that contain pyrethrins. Be even if these products are relatively safe for use around humans and dogs, there are still other compounds found in these can produce adverse reactions in people and pets alike.

D-Limonene (smells like oranges and sound innocuous enough, right?) is assumed to be the culprit in a case where a Pomeranian in Washington recently suffered a severe allergic reaction. The family pet developed edema throughout her body but ultimately recovered. Limonene is also used as a solvent in cleaners, air fresheners, and even glues. While D-Limonene is used commonly used in cosmetics and as an insecticide, the FDA recommends against using this hydrocarbon on cats or dogs, and some with sensitivities may develop contact dermatitis or a general sensitivity to the compound.

In another instance where chemicals in flea and tick repellents more directly impacted a person, a pet shampoo distributed by Sogeval Laboratories, Inc., with an ingredient, phytosphingosine, was associated with the death of one woman who was bathing her dog with the product. An acute asthma attack was the cause of death, and just a few days later, another asthmatic family member suffered a mild asthma attack while bathing the pet with the same product. The belief is that the particular substances used in that formulation of pet shampoo triggered the two asthma attacks in the individuals involved.

This is not to say that all pet shampoos are going to cause problem for you or your pets, but what it does highlight is two things. First, read labels. If there's something you're unfamiliar with, look for a known alternative. When you do come across an unknown compound, check online for the MSDS sheet or visit the manufacturer's website to get as much information as you can. You can then search for these compounds to find out more about them and potential hazards. This may seem like a lot, but it literally takes 10-20 minutes of searching online. Second, some ingredients in flea and tick treatments, as well as cosmetics, cleaners, and other household products, can react differently with different people (particularly those who have an existing allergic or asthmatic condition and those who have shown a sensitivity to chemicals that don't affect most others).

As a side note, for fleas and ticks, I use the Ecology Works pet shampoo. Personally, I like the smell, it lathers well, and I've yet to find a flea or tick on my dog (despite my roommates dog having fleas a couple times since we have lived together.

Author: Kevin G.

Posted by kevvyg on Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Miele CallistoOnce again, in the annual ratings of a top product review site, several Miele models placed in the top of the canister and upright vacuum cleaner categories. These annual reports test and rank vacuum cleaners on a variety of factors including, price, performance on carpet and smooth flooring, filtration, suction, durability, features, accessories, product specifications, and consumer feedback.

For bagged canister vacuum cleaners the Miele Callisto ranked in the top three of all models tested. As the best selling Miele canister vacuum cleaner in the over 100 year history of Miele, the Callisto strikes the perfect balance of performance, filtration, features and price that make it one of the most widely sought after vacuums for allergy and asthma sufferers today.

Miele TwistFor bagged uprights, Miele had two models perform well, both garnering a top five place amongst all uprights tested. The Miele Twist ranked best of all Miele uprights. Though a bit heavy, the Twist offers exceptional cleaning ability and great value. The Miele Cat & Dogsecond model that placed well was the Miele Cat and Dog. The inclusion of the turbobrush and filter specifically suited for odor removal made this model an easy choice. Both the Twist and the Cat & Dog have the core features of the more expensive uprights.

In terms of cleaning performance and filtration Miele vacuum cleaners are consistently near or at the top of most categories. When factoring the overall value of a vacuum cleaner, at times a Miele might lose a little luster due to price, but in all, Miele vacuums remain one of the best choices for those who not only want a versatile cleaning machine but those who also want to improve indoor air quality.

Now, you might wonder why there is no specific mention of who rated these vacuums. That's easy! Some people, in an overzealous effort to appear unbiased, refuse to allow manufacturers or resellers to use their name. So while these people test and rank products, we who offer these products and information about them are not allowed to SAY that these people actually tested and ranked these products... because it "might" seem like these people are endorsing the products (when ultimately, they do not endorse any products). Confusing, right? We understand. So please forgive the vague nature of this post.

Posted by kevvyg on Thursday, October 04, 2012
MieleSince the introduction of the Miele S5 line of vacuum cleaners, the developers and designers at Miele have been busy with creating the sequel to this best selling line of canisters. Starting on October 8th, you will be able to see and experience that. With a total of six new S8 canister vacuums, Miele introduces the latest in features and innovation that manages to surpass the high standard set by previous models.

Taking into account a variety of feedback from consumers and dealers from across the globe, Miele has packed convenience, efficiency and style into this new line of S8 vacuum cleaners. Whether you need a vacuum for smooth flooring, carpet, all round home cleaning, or simply want the best that a vacuum can provide in terms of cleaning ability, air filtration, and style, there is a new Miele S8 to meet your needs.

Always striving to blend the unique with the functional, this series is named after the winds and breezes found around the world. With the new S8 models is a mix of Miele signature features as well as ones that were only optional with the S5 line. These include,
  • AirClean System - 12 Stage AirClean System with HEPA Filter
  • Encased Motor and Enhanced Sound Insulation for Quieter Performance
  • DynamicDrive Casters to Reduce Noise and Produce Easy Transitions Across Surfaces (Alize only)
  • Each Model is Individually Tested
  • +/- Foot Controls (no Rotary Dial)
  • Longer Clean Radius (Power Cord is 3' Longer)
  • Chrome Trim
  • 3D (Raised) Bumper
  • One Touch Cord Rewind

Introducing the New Miele S8 Vacuum Cleaners

Initially only the Miele UniQ and Alize will be available for sale online, but all of the new models, including the Marin, Kona, and Calima will be available at your nearest Miele dealer, including AchooAllergy, located here in Atlanta.

So stop by or visit us online starting Monday and experience the best that Miele has to offer!

Author: Kevin

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