AchooAllergy.com Blog
Posted by kevvyg on Monday, July 22, 2013
Choose from three American Made AprilAire Dehumidifiers to Control Mold and MoistureWell, they're back - AprilAire whole house dehumidifiers. Powerful, these dehumidifiers can help reduce moisture throughout your home by using your existing ductwork. Locate them in your basement and duct them directly into your HVAC to dry air while you cool.

Excess moisture and humidity during the summer months can lead to swelling of wood furniture and trim but more importantly, all that extra water in the air in your home can allow mold to grow. Mold can create harmful mycotoxins that can cause respiratory problems for anyone living in the home, particularly allergy or asthma sufferers. Sneezing, wheezing, congestion, and other cold like symptoms are common reactions from exposure to mold.

From bathrooms and laundry rooms to kitchens and even inside walls, mold can flourish in parts of your home that never you never even see. Removing moisture can not only reduce the risk of mold growth but also help keep dust mites under control and actually help to reduce your cooling bill. Moist air can retain more heat than dry air, so by driving the indoor relative humidity down, the air in your home can cool quicker while requiring less power to do so.

AprilAire dehumidifiers are made in the USA and feature a built-in humidistat, a MERV 8 air filter, auto restart and auto defrost, steel construction, and can be tied into your existing HVAC ducts and condensate line. We recommend that you consult a local HVAC contractor or professional for installation of the AprilAire 1750 or the powerful AprilAire 1770 dehumidifier. Take advantage now during this muggy, wet summer and save, as all AprilAire dehumidifiers are now on sale!

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Posted by kevvyg on Tuesday, July 16, 2013
As people, we often like to self-diagnose many of the everyday ailments, aches and pains we experience. Sites like WebMD and others, have given us neat little lists of symptoms that we compare ours to and ta-da, we're officially board certified doctors! If only it were that easy,right? Yet, there is plenty of merit in noting symptoms and reactions. Allergy Symptom Checklist title=Many doctors, whether they are regular physicians or allergists will often recommend that you log and track your symptoms. Combined with testing and family history, this log makes up a key piece of determining what exactly the problem is. How does it work? What does it tell the doctor? And, why it should not be the only thing used to diagnose a condition?

Most basically, to track your symptoms all you really need is a pencil and paper. If you have a smartphone, you can also use any notepad or reminder app to log your symptoms. Whether it is fits of coughing, sneezing, hives or any other chronic symptom, jot it down. Note the time of day, where you were, and other relevant information. This can include but not limited to,
  • Where you were/are and time of day.
  • Have you eaten recently and if so, what?
  • Have you used soap, shampoo, lotion, cosmetics or other personal care products recently, and if so, what?
  • Are you using a new laundry detergent, fabric softener or cleaners?
  • What is around you? (ie. Are you sitting in a field of daisies sneezing? Is your dog sitting on your lap?)
Any of these could be relevant or none of them could be. But, by noting as much information as you can, it can help your doctor pick up on patterns or possibly point your doctor in the right direction when trying to determine what tests need to be performed.

Patterns can be crucial in the diagnosis process. They can highlight the correlation between exposure and a subsequent reaction, but they should not be the sole determinant of a diagnosis. As any good scientist or doctor should tell you, correlation is NOT causation. Think of a diagnosis as research. Research often highlights correlations between events, but determining the exact cause often takes multiple studies or tests. Your health is similar in that regard. Just as allergy testing (or many other types of testing) should not be the sole determinant in a diagnosis, neither should a pattern, or simply family history for that matter. All of these things should be factored together, and from all of these, your doctor can make his best determination as to not only what the problem is but how to solve it.

Self Diagnosis Cured!!Don't get me wrong. Sites like WebMD and the Mayo Clinic are great for research and excellent educational tools with solid information, but they have tended to bring out our inner hypochondriac.
On a lighter note, I have a surefire way to fix this. Want to stop self-diagnosing yourself? Have a child. Unfortunately, you may begin diagnosing the new addition to your family, but worry not. I have a solution for this as well. Have TWO children! By the time the second one arrives, your inner hypochondriac has likely given way to simply being too busy or tired to spend countless hours online self-diagnosing. Good thing for you though, my blogs are short, so you can always find five minutes for a good read!

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Tags: Allergies
Posted by kevvyg on Thursday, July 11, 2013
An article recently published by a group of Swedish researchers calls into question some of the zeal over fatty acids in our diet. With the seemingly endless parade of ads for supplements rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, this latest research piece demonstrates a link between high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and an increased risk of the development of allergies.

Common Source of Fatty Acids - FishPolyunsaturated fatty acids is a broad category that includes many compounds, including the most commonly known Omega 3 (n-3) as well as the lesser known Omega 6 (n-6) and Omega 9 (n-9) fatty acids. The role these acids play in the human diet is complex and still continues to evolve, though Omega 3 and others are most commonly associated with anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies over the last few decades have shown a general lack of these compounds in the western diet and associated it with an increase in inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, COPD and even asthma. Omega 3 fatty acids are most commonly found in fish oils as well as some plant oils, and as a more recent trend, have been appearing in increasing amounts on store shelves, as dietary supplements. More recent research blurs the lines a bit by suggesting that things like Omega 3 may not be the miracle cure all the hype would lead you to believe, yet most concede that while the positives may not be as grand as originally billed, there are few drawbacks.

This latest piece of research builds upon a piece originally published in 2008 that produced similar results but on a smaller scale. In this Swedish study published in PLOS One, roughly 800 children were chosen from a population based group of 1228 born in the same year. From this group, samples of the umbilical cord serum were taken then analyzed and compared with standardized allergy test results taken over the course of the next 13 years.

Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acid Molecule - Omega 3The results showed that in children at age 13 demonstrated higher rates of respiratory allergies than those whose mothers had lower levels of PUFAs at birth. Not only did children with respiratory allergies exhibit this link but so did children who suffered from chronic skin rashes. Those who exhibited higher rates of allergies also had lower levels of mono-unsaturated fats found in the cord blood sample. So to simplify this - Higher levels of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids found in the cord blood correlated with higher rates of respiratory allergies and chronic skin rashes (think eczema), and it did not matter if the mother had a history of allergies or not. The correlation rates were still higher regardless of maternal allergy history.

So what does all this mean? For now, not much. This research piece is just another step along the way of understanding the origins of allergic disease. Though researchers demonstrated this correlation, what they could not determine was the mechanism behind this. The working theory is that the PUFAs dampen inflammation and the immune activation process, the same process that is thought to "train" an infants immune system to determine is harmful and what is not. This seems to fit since much of allergic disease is the immune system's overreaction to harmless "allergens." Further research is still needed to discover what the exact mechanism behind this is as well how to approach the consumption of PUFAs during pregnancy.

To read the full research article.

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Posted by kevvyg on Monday, July 08, 2013
While on a relaxing visit with family for the 4th, a coworker passed me a story about the use of a particular aerosol sunscreen being associated with a risk of actually catching fire. I understand it's summertime, and many people enjoy fireworks, but I've little doubt that few people are interested in turning themselves into a human tiki torch. All jokes aside, this is a serious matter that has led to nearly half a dozen people literally catching fire after using aerosol sunscreen. So why has did this happen and how can you still get protection from the sun without the risk of fire?

Previously, I've discussed the use of aerosol sunscreens, noting that they should be avoided. The primary reason we suggest avoiding these types of sunscreen is simply because sunscreen often contains chemicals that work just fine for blocking UV rays but are easily inhaled when delivered in aerosol form. Remember, it's skin, not your lungs, that need protection from the sun. Many of the chemicals in aerosols can damage lung tissue, so to avoid inhalation, we always recommend a lotion style sunscreen.

Modern aerosols use a propellant to deliver the product contained inside the can. So in each aerosol can, there is a mix of the actual substance that is being delivered as well as chemicals/propellants to deliver it. Both of these things are kept under pressure, so when you press the valve at the top of the can, out comes the product and propellant.

Propellants can vary, but one of the most common substances used in modern aerosol cans is LPG - liquefied petroleum gas. Now typically when someone says the phrase, "liquefied petroleum gas" to you, the first thought is often something like, "Oh you mean gasoline?" or "Open flame, bad idea". Most of us probably use aerosol cans on a daily basis and think little of the fact that what is inside the can is often highly flammable.

Much of the time, the propellant quickly evaporates once sprayed, but if the ratio of propellant to product inside the can is off, the pressure inside the can is not correct, or as was the case with this sunscreen, there is a problem with the valve system, too little or too much of the propellant can be expelled and cause a potentially dangerous situation. This is also why there are warnings on the bottles saying not to use near an open flame and do not inhale.

So look through your closet or beach bag and if you have any Banana Boat sunscreen, compare the UPC to this recall list. If you have a match, throw it away and replace it with a lotion style sunscreen. I know. It's not as convenient as the aerosol type, but the human inferno act - is better left to professional stuntmen or Marvel comic book characters.

So, to recap........................


To see the original article.

Author: K. Gilmore

Tags: Sunscreen
Posted by kevvyg on Monday, July 01, 2013
Every year it seems that summertime brings some very contrasting sets of weather to different parts of the country. This time last year the Midwest was in the midst of a severe drought, and while that continues in some areas, in other areas it is rain, rain and more rain. Here in just a couple days I will be headed back north to spend time with the family for the 4th of July, and while I expected part of my time up there to be spent in the hayfield, I will likely be repairing fence lines that were washed away by flooding last week.

Fence lines, though tedious, are a relatively easy fix. Dig a hole, set a post, restring barb. Cleaning up your home after a flood, though, is a bit trickier. Drying out is the first step, and depending on the severity of your water problem, you have a few options.

Flood Restoration DehumidifierFor flood waters that were relatively mild, meaning they didn't soak your walls or drown your washing machine, a smaller, room dehumidifier can be effective. Most have the ability to be ported with a garden hose to eliminate the need to empty a condensate reservoir. Set the dehumidifier up, attach the line, then set it and let it run.

For more severe flooding, like something that has soaked, the floors, walls, appliances, your task is a bit more difficult since it likely means replacing drywall or paneling. For this type of flooding, parts of your home and basement that are not visible have often been saturated. After the waters begin to recede (or you have pumped them out), a larger, home restoration dehumidifier is likely your best bet. These larger models have a higher drying capacity and can remove more moisture per day. All can be ported and many have internal pumps that can actually push the water away from the drying area. Fans can help by keeping the air circulating while a restoration dehumidifier works. Once the space is dry again, then the work of replacing, repairing and restoring begins.

Flood Waters Don't Like FencepostsCleaning up after a flood can be simple to intensive, depending on your specific situation. Regardless of severity, the sooner you get the space dried, the sooner repair can begin and the less likely you are to be dealing with mold. Mold thrives in a warm moist environment, so your basement after a flood is a veritable paradise to mold. And this, falls into the "Not Good" category, as mold growth can often lead to long term problems throughout your home.

So aside from enjoying the fireworks and grilling out, I will be spending my 4th helping rebuild fence lines. Aren't summers great?


For more information on Flood Cleanup or to learn about how flood water can impact your health.

Author: K. Gilmore

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