Street Art - a form of visual art in public locations that the artist has been given legal consent to produce/perform.
Graffiti - Drawings, markings or slogans spray painted or sketched on a public wall or sidewalk.
Tag - A graffiti artist's personal signature.
N95 Respirator or Mask - Face mask or respirator that has been NIOSH rated to filter 95% of particles (0.3 microns or larger) that are NOT oil-based.
EN149FFP1(S) - A European standard for solid aerosol particles and is usable in all outdoor sports, the US equivalent of N95 filtration.
Across the street from AchooAllergy.com are train tracks where freight cars pass by throughout day. Sometimes after work, I get to watch the trains go by carrying along tagged boxcars, some belonging to longtime artists, and some belonging to beginners who have not set their style yet. Watching the boxcars pass by yesterday, I started to wonder if they use masks while they paint.
I searched online for a while, looking for forums or sites that got specific on masks for this purpose. After finding few resources on this topic, I decided to write this blog for friends and artists who were looking for the right mask.
It is easy to think that since you are outdoors, a mask might not be necessary. While it's true that working outside, fumes from paint dissipate more quickly, it's easy to forget that you arms are not quite as long as you think. But, if you consider that paint is literally being applied just a couple feet from your face, it becomes a little easier to recognize a mask, even outdoors, can only help. Wearing a mask can help keep the neurotoxins and paint fumes from being inhaled while working on a piece. Here are a few that may be suitable for your painting adventures!
Respro Techno Mask
A neoprene mask from the UK conforming to the EN149FFP1(S) filtration standard, the Techno has layers of particle filter media as well as Dynamic Activated Charcoal Cloth (ACC). This filters out dust, odors, benzene, pyrene, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxides, lead oxide, and black smoke. Filters will last about 60 hours (so about a month), and replacements sell as a pack of two.
Respro Bandit Mask
Made of cotton with Dynamic ACC laminated in between, it makes for a great mask to fend off urban pollution while covering your face and neck. This mask is hand washable and effective for around six months. You can leave it loose or use the secondary strap to pull in the lower portion of the mask to tighten up against the jaw. It comes in red or blue… This might be a good time to remind folks to pay attention to your environment and your choice in mask colors.
Coming out of southern San Francisco, these masks are unique in their design and color. A soft cotton shell, extra soft hems, and ear loops makes extended time wearing them comfortable, while the colors make the masked artist look more approachable than with other mask options that I have seen.
These protect you from non-oil based particles, pathogens, dust, pollen and other contaminants. Our Classic microfiber Vogmasks are 3-ply with a middle filter later. For the best protection of any Vogmask, the new N99 CV Vogmask meets the NIOSH N99 standards. With active carbon and an N99 layer, the CV also has an exhale valve and comes in even more vibrant colors than the Classic Vogmask.
3M 6291 & 6391 HEPA Masks
Although a bit bulky, this P100 rated respirator is ideal for working with oil-based aerosols. The pink round filters capture 99.97% (HEPA standard)of liquid and aerosol particles, pathogens (influenza strains such as Avian Flu, SARS, etc.), dust, pollen and mold. It is the warmest to wear, but it also provides the best filtration of the masks listed.
Other NIOSH approved filter options that you can purchase separately for the 6291/6391 mask are the 3M 6006 Multi Gas Vapor Cartridge (for chlorine, hydrogen chloride, chlorine dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide escape only, ammonia/methylamine, formaldehyde and hydrogen fluoride) and the 3M 6001 Organic Vapor Cartridge (for Xylene, Benzene, paint fumes, pesticides and myriad of other industrial solvents). All of these filters will last about 60 hours, and you can always switch filter types as needed.
I hope that street artists in the Southeast will find this blog and use our masks to create some more street art in Atlanta this summer!
Can someone develop and allergy to something they're close to? Specifically, MY pet. Can allergies be that specific?- submitted by Tim B. in St. Louis
Allergy is a genetic disorder that involves reactivity to specific allergens such as dust mite, pollens, and animals to name a few. Unfortunately, allergies can turn on at any time for unknown reasons. It is very common to see a pet owner develop allergy to their pet over time. Relocation of their animal or treatment with medication and possible allergy shots is often necessary.
Is it possible to be allergic to dust but not dust mites? I am on immunotherapy for several different allergens, one was dust. Recently, the FDA has taken away the dust serum and is saying that dust mite serum is the same thing? I was retested for dust mites and didn't have an immediate reaction, but did within 24 hours, a red itchy bump the size of a dime that lasted for several days. The allergy nurse said it was irrelevant because I didn't react right away within 20 minutes. My problem is being symptomatic to dust again since it has been eliminated from my weekly shots. I've been on shots going on two years. Would appreciate any insight or suggestions!- submitted by J. Sullivan
Yes!!! You can be allergic to house dust and not dust mite. House dust is a mixture of many substances including shed human skin, mold, animal hair and dander, fibers, and dust mite and its excrement. The amount of each can vary from home to home. The significance of Late Phase skin test responses to an airborne allergen such as dust mite has long been controversial. Despite the lack of conclusive data, many allergists consider a delayed response to be significant. This is based on the known fact that the allergic response is made up of an early phase [immediate up to 30 minutes] followed by a more prolonged late phase reaction. The late phase typically occurs 4-8 hours after exposure but can occur even later in some circumstances. Based on this data it can be extrapolated that a delayed response up to 24 hours could be relevant.
Every allergist has their own style and protocol as to what they may remove from serum after a retest. Typically I do not remove an allergen that has shown significant reactivity on previous testing.
Finally, If you seem to be more clinically sensitive to dust.... it may be necessary for your allergist to review your allergy serum makeup and increase the individual components (such as dust mite, mold etc.) that you may have lost with the removal of house dust from your serum.
To see all of our Dr. Mardiney's Answered FAQ's or to view allergy questions answered by Dr. Frank.
Author: Kevin Gilmore
Pet Allergy Solutions
Dust Mite Solutions
First I thought, uh-oh, I don’t want to catch that! But then I realized, it could be allergies. But wouldn’t the rain settle the pollen that’s making my friends congested? Not necessarily, quite the contraire mademoiselle (I’m learning French. Je suis Françoise d’apprentissage) . Heavy rain can spread pollen particles by fracturing them, making them more numerous and lighter in weight. When the rain is gone, these now slimmer and trimmer pollen particles become airborne once again, impacting your allergies worse than before the rain.
How are you going to enjoy the weather and control your pollen/seasonal allergies? It’s the time of the year to enjoy fresh air, sunshine and dresses! Here are few ways to have the best of both worlds.
- Safe Guard Window Filters - These wonderful window filters keep out dust, pollen, and other allergens, so you can breathe fresher, purer air all year long. These filters eliminate 92% of ragweed pollen and capture a variety of allergens and irritants that can wreak havoc on seasonal allergy sufferers. These window filters are available in 2 sizes with extensions to fit almost any width of window. If you already have some, you can now replace your window filter cartridges in them with little more than a phillips screwdriver and about five minutes of your time!
- Check the Allergy Forecast - Check the pollen count in your area. Just like a weather forecast you can check the pollen index levels, as well as what trees are causing the most pollen. This can help you do a little planning ahead of time for outdoor activities.
- Take Off Your Shoes - I think leaving your shoes at the door is generally a better way to keep the carpet cleaner, but during allergy season you can tracks massive amounts of pollen throughout your home. Ever notice yellow shoe prints? If nothing else, you can always slip on a pair of sandals.
- Don't Forget Your Pets! - Our furry friends can also track in pollen and other allergens, but unlike us, they likely don't have shoes to take off. With pets one of the easiest ways to keep them clean between baths and remove pollen, dirt and other debris with with pet wipes. These thick, handy wipes remove allergens and other debris, and if you want to take things a step further, try AllerPet. This safe, non-toxic cleanser is simply applied with a damp cloth between baths. The formula denatures allergens like pollen and dander, and is even perfectly safe for puppies and kittens.
- Change Your Clothes - When you come home, changing your clothes will help keep your allergic reactions down by preventing pollen from spreading throughout the house.
- Showers - Taking a shower at night will help rinse off any pollen that you’ve collected during the day. This will also keep pollen out of your sheets so you won’t be waking up to congestion and water eyes.
Author: R. Power
In addition to the Classic Vogmasks, there are now CV N99 masks. Originally, each Vogmask offered roughly N95 filtration (95% filtration of particles), but the drawback was the "roughly" part. Since then, the design of the mask has been improved, so much so that this latest version of the Vogmask has been tested to offer N99 filtration (99% filtration of particles). This is as close to a HEPA mask as you can get, without actually having a HEPA mask. In addition to the N99 filtration, the new CV Vogmasks have 4-ply filtration, with one of those being a thin layer of active carbon. So in addition to better particle filtration, the N99 CV can also tackle nuisance levels odors, fragrance and smoke. To make breathing easier each also comes with an exhale valve built into the right side. This keeps exhaled air, moisture and warmth moving out of the mask and away from your face.
Similar to the Classic Vogmask, you will also find a new Microfiber version. Nearly identical to the Classic in every way, the significant difference is that the new Microfiber, like the CV, offers N99 filtration. Lastly, there is the Organic Cotton Vogmask. With tightly woven, certified organic cotton, this mask offers the lowest level of particle filtration but is well suited for someone looking for a more natural face mask without plastics or other materials that can cause reactions for those with MCS.
Each mask is hand washable, lightweight, reusable and latex-free. Unlike other allergy masks, the range of styles and patterns gives you the ability to choose the mask that not only meets your filtration needs but provides the style and look you want. So if Spring allergy season is getting you down, an effective Vogmask might be just what you need!
To compare Vogmask features.
Author: K. Gilmore
I also wanted to throw out a quick reminder, there is LESS than a day remaining to get entered to win a FREE Vornado AC500 HEPA Air Purifier! Start the weekend off right and get entered to win. Best of all, it's free to enter, and you can quickly submit multiple entries in a matter of seconds! Check out this blog post for some helpful tips on controlling pollen and spring allergies and learn how you can enter to win!
Author: K. Gilmore
Treatment is suitable for the age range of 10-65 years, and to those who are diagnosed with grass pollen-induced allergic rhinitis (with or without conjunctivitis). Patients must have positive skin test or in vitro testing for any of the five grass species: sweet vernal, orchard, perennial rye, timothy and Kentucky blue grass (I thought this last one was a joke because I love blue grass music).
Last December the Allergenic Products Advisory Committee gave a unanimous vote to recommend Oralair as the first SLIT for the United States. Sublingual immunotherapy has been a common allergy medication throughout Europe and the rest of the world. Twenty years of research has shown SLIT to be safe and effective as an allergy medication. While in testing, the most common treatment emergent adverse events (TEATs) in adults and children were throat irritation and oral pruritus (itching).
My fingers are crossed for this treatment to be effective and to help secure a path into finding more natural treatments for allergies and other ailments.
Author: R. Power
AllergyCapitals.com lists the worst cities in the US for allergies based on the pollen counts, number of OTC/prescription medications per patient, and number of board-certified allergists per patient. The most current list below:
- Louisville, KY
- Memphis, TN
- Baton Rouge, LA
- Oklahoma City, OK
- Jackson, MS
- Chattanooga, TN
- Dallas, TX
- Richmond, VA
- Birmingham, AL
- McAllen, TX
- Box elder
Try to protect yourself, but enjoy this spring’s blooms while you can!
Author: R. Power
First and foremost, you should try to limit your exposure. For many outdoor tasks this can mean squeezing them into different parts of the day when pollen levels and air quality is better. Typically, mornings are good since dew can help to keep pollen from becoming airborne, winds are generally lighter, and overall air quality is at its best. However, if you're outdoors, remember a few things. A quality allergy mask can be handy to have. Most are lightweight; many are washable; and all can help to prevent you from breathing in pollen while you're outdoors. When outdoors, wear something that you plan on taking off or changing when you go indoors. This means that when you're done, remove your shoes, jacket, hat, etc. at the door and set them aside. Just because there is pollen outside doesn't mean you should have to deal with it indoors as well. Once inside, wash up! If you're doing a more strenuous outdoor activity, you may not want to wear a mask, but if this is the case, flush your sinuses when you’re finished. This can rinse away any allergens trapped in your nose or nasal passages and remove the source of the irritation.
Moving indoors, remember to vacuum! Just one walk to the mailbox outside is enough for me to leave greenish-yellow tracks on the rug at my front door. Vacuuming and dusting with sealed system, HEPA vacuum cleaner can keep spring pollen from started at your front door and being dispersed throughout your home. If you were considering a Miele HEPA vacuum, now might be a good time to choose one. In addition to Free Express Delivery (all but one model delivers in 1 or 2 business days), when you buy now you can get a year's worth of vacuum bags for free! The Miele filterbag trap all visible particles and features 9-ply filtration to remove large allergens while the certified HEPA filter removes all of the rest from not only your floors but also the air in your home.
Lastly, using a HEPA air purifier in your bedroom and can make all the difference in how well you sleep. We have long been proponents of creating a space in your home that is allergy friendly, and since most people spend more time in the bedroom than any other room, it is the best place to start! A high quality air purifier can filter out and trap common allergens like dust mites, dander, dust, and yes, pollen. Generally, it is best to set the air purifier on a low or medium setting and let it quietly do its work through the day and night.
While these things cannot cure your allergies, combined, they can go a very long ways toward reducing your exposure and limiting symptoms during this trying part of the year. To help you feel better and breathe easier, not only are we offering the free filterbags with each Miele vacuum, but we're also going to give away a Vornado HEPA Air Purifier! Sleek and powerful, the AC500 uses two HEPA filters and two activated carbon prefilters to remove large visible particles as well as pollen, dust and common household allergens. With four fan speeds, digital controls, replacement indicators and a five year warranty, this HEPA air purifier is effective, simply to operate and bound to provide years of allergy relief.
Using Rafflecopter, we're offering you several ways to enter, retweet, share on Facebook, etc. It's up to you how many chances you'd like to win, but sharing is caring! (And it's also a good way to increase your chances of winning!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway Author: KevvyG
For nearly 100 years Miele has been designing and building quality vacuum cleaners. Here at AchooAllergy, Miele has been a brand of vacuum cleaner that we highly recommend. Their emphasis on air filtration, keeping your indoor air clean while you vacuum, is critical for people concerned with allergies, asthma or indoor air quality in general. Traditional vacuum cleaners can remove visible dirt but can release millions of particles back into the air. They can literally take allergens and particulate that had previously settled out of the air and onto the floor and disperse them back into the air you breathe. Unfortunately, even HEPA vacuum cleaners can be guilty of this.
Miele takes air quality a step further. Not only do they independently test their products, but with a HEPA filter, they include the use of a 9-ply filter bag, a pre-motor, and a sealed system (on most vacs) to not only completely clean the air as it passes through the vacuum but ensure that dirty and clean air do not mix or leak. Sealed system Miele vacuums, equipped with their H13 HEPA remove allergens like mold spores, dander, dust mite allergen and dust from the floor and from the air you breathe - the perfect allergy vacuum.
This is all in addition to Miele's superior cleaning ability, high quality and unparalleled durability. The Vortex motor creates powerful, concentrated suction to remove not only the dirt, hair and soil you can see but also capture the microparticles that you can't. A range of included accessories (even more than usual if you are considering their HomeCare line) and attachments make Miele vacuums some of the most versatile cleaning machines you can own. In addition to all of this is the knowledge that Miele's are built to last twenty years!
So if you were considering purchasing one of the most advanced, durable and effective vacuum cleaners on the market, now is the time to buy. In addition to free express delivery (next day or two day delivery of nearly all Miele vacs) you will also receive TWO FREE BOXES of FILTERBAGS. That's a year's worth of bags, nearly a $40 value, free!
Author: Kevin Gilmore
I am headed off to enjoy the sunshine, beach and rainforests of Costa Rica! We will be traveling to the Guanacaste region where it will be dry with little rain during this time of year. This is also means I will be packing and planning for this five day trip abroad. If you deal with allergies, asthma, sensitive skin or any health condition really, you should always make sure to pack what you will need. You cannot always rely on certain things being available at your destination. Aside from givens like medication, specialized items you use or things you just can't travel without (favorite pillow), here are a few things I will be bringing:
This will help me snooze through the four hour flight down to Costa Rica. It’ll keep me warmer than the blankets they supply on airplanes. Plus, it will be nice to use my own organic blanket rather than a blanket that’s been kept in a plastic bag for who knows how long. Call me a germaphobe, but just how many people use an airline blanket before it is replaced?
Sometimes the air in airplanes dries out my nose and throat, making for an uncomfortable flight. I’m going to bring along a Silk comfort mask to make breathing a little easier and have a barrier between me and the air conditioning on the plane.
This is ideal for all of the water activities we have planned for our trip, and can be used on both face and body. This sunscreen is water resistant, so I don't have to reapply it every time I get in the ocean. With non-toxic ingredients ideal for those with fair or sensitive skin, I will feel relieved to know that I’m not contaminating water and marine life with PABA (once a common ingredient in sunscreen, now known for its "carcinogenic potential" as Environmental Working Group defines it), preservatives, benzophenones, dyes, fragrance or formaldehyde releasers.
These are perfect travel components for my dust mite allergies and a range of other allergies (pollen, mold, or pet dander). They fold up neatly, take up almost no space, are easy to pack and can be used on any pillow, available in all common sizes. I have two of these with me for this trip, so no matter how old the pillows I'll be sleeping on are, with these I've one less thing to worry about!
Hopefully I’ll have some stories and a tan when I get back!
Author: R. Power