Take advantage this weekend only on Miele prices. If you were looking at purchasing a Miele vacuum cleaner, this weekend is the time to buy. On October 1st, prices are going up on several popular models including the Miele Twist and Miele Olympus.
For many with MCS, being particular about bedding isn't an option, it's a necessity. Most bedding is not organic and can irritate sensitive skin, causing allergic reactions, dermatitis, itching, swelling or worse. All of these things can leave you feeling tired instead of refreshed and reenergized in the mornings.
Though most are familiar with organic food, what's the deal with - organic - cotton? Merriam Webster defines organic as "of, relating to, yielding, or involving the use of food produced with the use of feed or fertilizer of plant or animal origin without employment of chemically formulated fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, or pesticides". So now let's take a look at cotton.
Cotton, a fibrous plant of the Gossypium genus is akin to okra and cacao and has been internationally domesticated for centuries, from Australia to Alabama. However, organic commercial cotton production has been on the rise for the past decade. Unlike the majority of cotton currently grown in the U.S., organic commercial cotton is not genetically modified. It is also grown in an organic environment meaning it is often manually cultivated, grown in organic soil, and not treated with fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
Luckily, AchooAllergy.com offers a variety of bedding made from 100% certified organic cotton to help make your bed as heavenly (and healthy!) as possible:
- Allergy Armor Organic Cotton Sheets - GOTS certified, these 300 TC sheets are soft and comfortable. Lacking chemical finishers and dyes, you can find sheets for any size bed in basic, cream or white colors, which match any bedding.
- Allergy Armor Organic Cotton Blankets - We are proud to say these blankets are cut, sewn, and packed right here in our Atlanta location. They are soft and lightweight yet warm, making a great layer for your bed, anytime of the year. Available in 2 weights, 100 and 120, each blanket is constructed from USDA certified organic cotton. Choose from either the crepe weave, which has a small tighter pattern, or the waffle weave which fluffs out to a thick and luxurious pattern after the first wash and dry. You can also select from four sizes (we even have blankets for the little ones!).
- Allergy Armor Organic Bedding Covers - Although we have not begun making our own organic pillows, we do have organic pillow and mattress covers, perfect for those coping with dust mite allergies as well as MCS and eczema. These covers have no finishes or coatings, and have an average pore size of less than 5 microns. Just slip these covers on your favorite pillow and mattress, then apply your organic sheets or pillowcases, and you're all set!
For more information on the GOTS Certification behind our organic cotton sheets and the GOTS certified fabric for our mattress and pillow covers.
Author: Rachel Power
My name is Lisa Rutter, and I am the founder of a group called No Nuts Moms Group. This is a group dedicated to raising food allergy awareness. We offer many resources on our site including a Support Group and Forum on Facebook for all food allergic families from all over the world as well as over 40 local groups throughout the United States, with one in Canada and one in Australia. Our groups are private, free to join, and are a wonderful way to stay connected with others in your area that are also dealing with life threatening food allergies. Within the local groups, we discuss things like, local events, schools, and safe restaurants. This is also a great place to lean on each other or let off some steam and not feel judged for your feelings. Food allergies can be very hard on families and it is nice to have a place to go where everyone understands these challenges. We also encourage outings and play dates within our local groups. This past Easter, our No Nuts Moms Group of Michigan hosted our second annual food free Easter Egg Hunt, with the Easter Bunny making a special appearance. Our Michigan group is also having a food free Halloween event coming up in October.
When I originally started this group in 2011, I was searching for local support and other playmates for my peanut and tree nut allergic child. I felt alone and overwhelmed, and I really wanted to find other moms and kids that both my son and I could relate to. The group has turned out to be so much more to my family and me. I have met so many amazing people and have had so many great things happen to me on this journey. I am now the Co-Leader of FACES of Michigan, which is a local support group for food allergic families. Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) recently recognized No Nuts Moms Group as an official support group. This was a great accomplishment and a very proud moment for me. Within the past two years, I have also been invited to educational and informative summits by some of the top food allergy organizations out there, and our group is currently helping to get a bill passed that would allow schools to stock the life saving medication, epinephrine. This is something new for me, and I am very proud to help out in this effort.
I am very passionate about food allergies, and it is extremely rewarding to be able to help so many families. I often say that I have the best non-paying job out there! This community and my family fuel me to keep going, and I couldn’t do it without all of them. At the end of the day, I can honestly say that I am doing everything I can to make my son’s future brighter. We, as a family, have hope and will never let go of that.
If you have life-threatening food allergies or have a child with life-threatening food allergies, please visit our main website, No Nuts Moms Group to learn more about our support groups.
About the Author: Founder of No Nuts Moms Group and Co-Leader of FACES Michigan, Lisa Rutter is a 36 year-old mother of two. She, her husband and children all deal with environmental allergies, and one child has severe peanut and tree nut allergies.
Starting and late summer and continuing well into autumn, ragweed can be one of the most ubiquitous and far reaching allergens of any season. Extremely small and lightweight, ragweed pollen can literally travel hundreds of miles. So while ragweed may not be a common to your area, winds can literally carry it from state to state. In addition to the ability to travel long distances without the aid of a Greyhound or proper bus fare, ragweed pollen delivers punches in bunches. Pardon the old boxing cliche, but what I mean is that a ragweed plant can produce up to a billion grains of pollen during a season. Ragweed is also a very hardy plant, difficult to get rid of in areas where it is not naturally occurring. Lastly, ragweed is actually a generic terms that covers over 41 species of plants worldwide. Coupled with the highly allergic nature of the pollen, these things can make this time of year miserable for a lot of people.
Brisk mornings or cool evenings can trigger asthma attacks for many. Walking the dog in the morning or that early evening jog can be particularly troublesome. As you exercise or your respiration rate increases with activity, your mouth and nose can have problems keeping up with warming the air you are breathing.
This doesn't mean you should simple go for a HEPA masks. There are other things to consider like the filter type you want or whether activated carbon/charcoal in the filter to adsorb odors, chemicals or smoke, in addition to the particle filtration, is wanted. You may also want a mask that is warmer than others, particularly if you have cold air induced asthma. This might include a fleece mask or simply a mask that holds heat around the face better. Regardless of what your specific needs are, there are a variety of masks to choose from. And most importantly, all can be effective in helping you reduce allergic reactions or asthma attacks while limiting exposure to the things that cause you the most trouble.
Author: Kevin Gilmore
Since its introduction, the Paralda has been a popular air purifier for anyone concerned with their indoor air quality. With a HEPA style filter and embedded Silver Ion technology, the Paralda reduces not only allergens like ragweed, mold spores and dander, but also pathogens and microbes that can cause colds or the flu. This is critical as we head into the flu and fall allergy seasons.
A small footprint allows you place it in nearly any room, regardless of the size of the room or space issues. Though it is compact, this tower air purifier will cover about 200 to 500 sq. ft., depending on how many air exchanges per hour you desire. The digital, soft-touch controls are easy to use and give you flexibility to customize the filtration level that is right for you.
Some additional benefits of the Paralda: Energy Certified, and with regular filter replacement, the Paralda comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. Right now you can save $100 and add this stylish air cleaner to your home or office for only $339.
Since bringing the manufacturing of Allergy Armor Organic dust mite covers in-house, we looked at a few different options when it comes to raw cotton fabric. Now we are proud to introduce a redesigned and upgraded product. First, we actually reduced the average pore size our Allergy Armor Organic. Instead of 6 microns, we've managed to drop that down to just over 4. What does this mean for you? The smaller the average pore size, the more effectively, the covers can block allergens like dust mites, dander, and pollen, which means a better night's sleep for you, and fewer mornings waking up with congestion, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, or sinus pressure. This is one of the best, if not the best, available today.
The second thing we looked to improve was with the design of your covers. Unlike our basic design, we've integrated a new feature with our covers. The organic pillow covers now have an offset zipper with a sewn over flap. Once zipped up, the flap hides the zipper and slide. This gives the cover a more streamlined look and feel, more like a pillow without a cover at all. This same fabric zipper cover is also now integrated into the design of our organic mattress covers.
Some of the things that stayed the same? You still get quality mattress and pillow covers, made right here in the U.S. Unlike our competitors, our fabric is certified organic by the leading international organic certification agency, GOTS (Global Organic Trade Standard). The cotton is certified to be free of chemical finishers, flame retardants, dyes, harsh bleaching agents, and fertilizer/pesticide/insecticide residues. This makes our fabric a great solution for those with chemical sensitivities, eczema or sensitive skin and allergies or asthma.
We expect to begin making your new organic mattress, pillow and duvet covers in just a couple short weeks. Pre-ordering ensures that your organic allergy bedding will be made and shipped as soon as our raw fabric arrives. You can place pre-orders now, or wait until they are officially back in stock.
*NOTE: The color is now a natural cream/beige, not the older style white color. New product images coming soon!
Author: Kevin Gilmore
A single cell amoeba, Naegleria fowleri is often found in bodies of warm, freshwater, but can also be found in soil. Typically, it enters the body through the nose. Once deep in the nasal passages, it makes its way to the brain and causes the often fatal disease, primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). Symptoms of PAM can easily be misdiagnosed since the early stages resemble bacterial meningitis, and often can be mistaken for the flu.
The areas where the microbe likes to inhabit does not only include lakes, rivers, ponds and streams. Another potential source is drinking water. If you grew up like I did and have a well, there is potential there for the organism to make an appearance since this water is rarely, if ever, chlorinated. Public water supplies, like those that tested positive in Louisiana, are typically safe if properly chlorinated. One potential problem, though, is that if not properly monitored and maintained, residual chlorine levels can dip below recommended levels. This opens the door for potential infection, and this is what the CDC found to be the case in this Louisiana parish.
Overall, the risk of infection is extremely low. Each year, millions swim in lakes, ponds, and streams all across the U.S., but in the last decade, there has been an average of less than four cases a year. When infection does occur, it often makes headlines due to the mortality rate. This can make Naegleria fowleri seem far more common than what it is. Still, there are a few preventative measures you can take to make this low risk, even lower.
- Avoid Getting Water Up Your Nose - Sounds pretty basic right? This means if you're swimming, avoid diving or swimming underwater. You can also wear nose plugs or clips to help prevent this, and it's probably a good idea to keep an eye on the little ones. If they were like me and my brothers when we would play with the garden hose, inhaling water isn't uncommon.
- Keep Swimming Pools Clean - Maintain adequate disinfection, for regular swimming pools - 1-3 ppm of free chlorine and a pH of 7.2 to 7.8.
- If Using A Sinus/Nasal Rinse or Neti Pot - Follow user instructions. Use only distilled or sterile water, which can be readily purchased at just about any grocery or convenience store, or simply boil your water. Tap water is fine for nasal irrigation, if boiled, then cooled, before use.
And in terms of swimming, if you weren't afraid of the water before, don't be now. Though slightly better odds than being struck by a meteor, risk of infection is pretty low. To put this into perspective, on average just under 40,000 people die a year from drowning. About 3 die a year from Naegleria fowleri.
In Louisiana, officials are increasing the chlorine in the water supply to not only kill the microbe but to also bring residual chlorine back up to recommended levels.
To see the DHH Press Release or for more information on Naegleria fowleri.
Author: K. Gilmore
The recall is a voluntary action by the manufacturer due to problems with certain models overheating, smoking and in some instances even catching fire. Brands covered in the recall include Frigidaire, Kenmore, DeLonghi, Danby, Gree, SeaBreeze, SuperClima and SoleusAir, among others. The Danby 70 pint model we offer, the DDR70A1GP, is NOT included in this recall. In the past we have offered the Danby Premiere 70, 50 and 30 pint models. And again, NONE of these models are included in the recall. So if you've purchased a Danby from us in the last several years, this notice does not affect you.
If you have a SoleusAir dehumidifier or want to check to make sure your model is not covered in the recall, please reference the model number and brand of the unit against the list provided in this Consumer Product Safety Commission Press Release. If you have purchased any of the models listed in the notice, please contact Gree with the information provided or via the Gree Recall website for a refund.
Author: Kevin Gilmore
What could an allergist could do to help me other than confirm what I already know? Specifically, is there any way to desensitize my body's responses to dairy so that I can enjoy products like cheese and ice cream again. - submitted by Milk Allergic
Cow's milk allergy is one of the more difficult allergies to deal with. If you see a board-certified Allergist, they would be able to help define what level of reactivity you have to these food products, and if you may have allergic sensitivity to other foods. In addition, there are many different ways the immune system can react to food protein that produces a rash, and an allergist could help determine whether it is an IgE mediated process or not. Also, an allergist could help define the exact molecule in milk protein that you are reacting to, i.e. alpha-lactalbumin, etc. which could point towards cross-sensitivity to beef, chicken, etc.
We know have several methods of food desensitization, but only for IgE reactions. Cow's milk is one of the foods for which there are established protocols. Not every allergist does food desensitization as it is a very new technique. Some allergists do desensitizations to hen's egg and peanut as well.
- Dr. Frank
Inhalants, such as, perfume, smoke, and chemicals, cause my asthma to get much worse. Are there any treatments that work? Simple avoidance makes me feel like a captive. - submitted by Jan & Larry
There are quite a few people out there that suffer from those types of triggers called "oxidants" and "volatile organic compounds" (VOCs). Oxidants are released when things burn, or by electrical equipment - or when stuff burns, and VOCs are petroleum based molecules which can directly or indirectly activate your body's nerves or allergy receptors. Many people with asthma can identify these things are triggers, and it usually means that their asthma is not well controlled and they have a lot of active inflammation in the lungs. the key to reducing the asthma triggers is to get the active inflammation under control as best you can.
Many products on this website can help you clean the air in your home, I would recommend a system that reduces VOCs as well as the standard smoke and dust.
- Dr. Frank
My nose runs when I am in the parrot room. Is there a test to see if I am allergic to my Umbrella Cockatoo? - submitted by Cockatoo Blues
True bird-feather allergy is quite rare, and most allergists do not have that in their testing equipment. We commonly see people who think they are allergic to feather pillows, and 75% of the time it is actually just dust mite matter that has built up in the pillow. People with true feather allergy tend to be reactive to a cross-reactive allergen (gal d 5) which is chicken serum albumin and report symptoms with ingestion of egg yolk and chicken meat. Even in exotic bird fanciers, the majority of fanciers that report symptoms are actually allergic to feather mites, Diplaegidia columbae, a cousin of the common dust mite.
The cockatoo is of the order Psittaciformes(Parrots) and there is a blood test called a Parrot Feather specific IgE, which can determine if you are allergic to it or not. However if you already know you develop symptoms when you walk into the room, you should think about wearing an N95 mask to protect your nose, mouth, and lungs. Depending on the diet, some bird droppings will release ammonia as a by product of nitrogen metabolism, and this can be seriously irritating to the nose and throat.
- Dr. Frank
Author: Kevin Gilmore
First, this was a difficult article to find. Despite so many news articles written about it, there was literally only one article that actually cited the original abstract. Typical of research pieces, the title was not something that made the association between it and the content evident to a layperson. Posted below, the research piece starts by mentioning the "hygiene theory". This is the theory that the rise in allergic disease in western societies is at least in part due to children not being exposed to a variety of microorganisms during key developmental periods. More simply put, the theory suggests that we're too clean. The proliferation of antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers, the focus on everything in the home and office being clean, the prolific use of antibiotics, and the reduction in the amount of time that children spend outdoors, exposed to germs and allergens, creates an environment where a developing immune system isn't properly trained. Subsequently, the immune system falsely recognizes allergens, microbes and other environmental elements as "bad actors" and when exposed to them, triggers an immune response to promptly boot them off stage.
This is only a theory and some of the most recent research has punched some holes into it. The current piece though expands on the hygiene theory and suggests that exposure to certain chemicals may play a role in the development of allergic disease. In this particular instance, researchers are focused on airborne chemicals. They have found that five specific maternal occupations are characterized by "high or persistent exposure to airborne chemicals." Additionally, they suggest that sustained exposure to chlorinated chemicals from swimming pools may also be related to the development of allergic disease.
VOCs, including chlorinated compounds like chloramines, have long been studied and show links to a variety of health problems. This study though, has caused a stir because of the mention of chlorine and swimming. Swimming is an often recommended activity for mothers to be since it is a great way to maintain a healthy weight, and unlike many other forms of aerobic exercise, swimming allows for better overall support of the body. The British National Health Service recommends swimming for pregnant women, and the U.S. National Institute of Health has sponsored studies that show swimming has no "adverse reproductive outcomes". However, the study we're currently focused on is one that looks less at swimming as an activity and more at the exposure to chemicals.
In not only the occupations highlighted but also swimming in chlorinated pools, researchers have suggested there is a association between VOCs and chlorine vapor and the development of atopic disease like asthma. So with that being said, are there alternatives to chlorinated swimming pools? While you can certainly wear a asthma mask to reduce exposure to pollutants (like the Honeycomb Carbon mask I recently picked up for a friend who is pregnant with her first child), a mask isn't really an ideal device to swim with.
A coworker of mine suggested saline or "salt water" pools. Personally, I've never swum or even heard of such a thing, but after some research as well as a call to a local apartment complex that has a saline pool and another to a retailer of such pools, I found one thing that appears to be true. Saline pools aren't as free of chlorine vapor as you might think. While they do use less chlorine, they still do use chlorine to sanitize the pools. They rely upon an advanced filtration system that uses the salt in the water to produce chlorine. And like traditional swimming pools, they do require a good deal of maintenance to ensure proper pH balance and chlorine levels are maintained to keep the water sanitary.
So what about the ocean, nature's original "salt water pool"? Love it. The ocean is great! Unfortunately, not all pregnant women have easy access to the ocean, not to mention some times of the year are simply too cold to go for a super brisk swim (all while pregnant nonetheless). Lakes and rivers might also be excellent alternatives, but again, access to these bodies of water may be limiting, as could be the weather. Still, in coastal areas or in places where weather permits, all three of these would be good alternatives to chlorinated swimming pools.
This study isn't definitive, and like other theories, a great deal of further research is needed to more clearly define the association, its consequences and suitable alternatives. I'm not suggesting you completely jump ship and avoid chlorinated swimming pools (bad pun #2). I generally do simply because I grew up swimming in lakes, rivers and "cricks" (what, up home, we define as bigger than a stream but smaller than a creek). Chlorinated pools are ubiquitous, particularly here in the U.S., and access to them is often free and convenient, but if this potential does give you cause for concern, consult with your obstetrician to find suitable exercise alternatives, or at a minimum, cut back on the frequency of swimming in them while pregnant.
Perhaps this all gives new meaning to one of my grandmother's favorite sayings, "Why don't you go jump in a lake?!" Thanks Grandma!
The original abstract of this research piece.
Author: K. Gilmore