However, some questions are best answered by showing you as opposed to writing. While you still will receive answers via email to all submitted questions, starting this week we're going to take a few of those FAQ's and answer them in a short video. This week, I'd like to thank Hermione, Maryann and Christine for their submissions.
February saw repeated record high temperatures across the nation, and with this coming hot on the heels of a warmer, wet winter for much of the country, conditions are ideal for insects to flourish. But aside from ants invading your pantry and carpenter bees feasting on your deck, there are some specific pest problems to look for and hopefully prevent.
Bed Bugs - The warmer temperatures can actually reduce the amount of time it takes for a bed bug egg to hatch, from 1-2 weeks to a little as 6 days. Warmer temps also mean more people are out and about, traveling and potentially picking up these little vampire hitchhikers (bed bugs) and bringing them home.
The best thing you can do is remain vigilant. Bag and store luggage and clothing outside until it can be unpacked and inspected. Wash clothing in hot water to kill any bed bugs that may be hiding in your clothing. While staying at hotels or motels, do a quick inspection of the room prior to unpacking, paying attention to tell-tale signs of bedbugs (small dark spot which can be bedbug droppings and blood spots on the mattress, sheets or furniture). If you find something, report it and look for a new place to stay.
For more information on bed bug prevention.
Ticks and Fleas - Nearly all insects love warm, humid conditions, and ticks and fleas are no exception. Not only do these little blood suckers bite, but ticks can carry a variety of diseases. Before coming in after being outside, check yourself for ticks. Pay particular attention to your pets. They can very easily pick up ticks and fleas. Regular bathing and brushing are two very easy ways to prevent and detect and possible tick or flea problems your pet may have.
For ridding your pet of fleas, try natural flea repellent pet shampoo or for getting rid of fleas in the carpet or furniture, try Dust Mite and Flea Control.
Mosquitoes - Like ticks and bedbugs, mosquitoes also feed on your blood and can transmit disease and viruses. While some areas spray insecticides to mosquito populations down, this can release harmful toxins into the air and water. Around the home, be sure to drain containers or anywhere water can puddle and become the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. And when looking for a suitable repellent, look for cintronella and other citrus extracts in the ingredients. Both are powerful, natural insect repellents.
Chances are good that it's going to be a very buggy summer, but this doesn't mean it has to ruin your time outdoors. With some very basic precautions you can enjoy the sun and outdoors with less worry about ticks, fleas, bed bugs or mosquitoes.
Bert Sperling, teamed with Breath Right and compiled the following list of top five cities for allergy sufferers.
- San Francisco
- Salt Lake City
On the other side of this spectrum, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American (AAFA) used pollen levels, number of allergist per population, and allergy medication use to rate some of the worst cities for fall allergies. Topping the list is Knoxville, TN followed by Dayton, OH.
And while the spring months often mean everything getting a sickly yellow-green coat in Atlanta, this pine pollen usually isn't a major source of allergies. Though local car wash companies love it, our typical pollen levels put us in the lower half of the pack at 59.
Typically most cities don't jump or drop too much within these lists, but things like local climate and changes in public policy can speed trends. Due to the composite nature of most of these types of lists, take them with a grain of salt. So, don't pack your bags just yet.
The Steamboy has been in service for years, but only more recently has the cleaning world turned its focus on steam cleaning. Though lightweight and compact, the T1 has a 27 oz. tank which provides a full 30 minutes of cleaning before you have to refill it. That's a leading statistic in its class!
In addition to this, by using a flash heating style, the Steamboy heats up to an impressive 248 degrees F. in seconds. Washable bonnets make for convenience since when you're finished, you simply toss them in the washer. The cord provides 16' of reach, and a replaceable water filter removes hard water mineral content, effectively extending the life of the machine.
All of these features add up to one of the most effective yet economical ways to get your hard floors cleaned and sanitized in minutes. So if you're in the market for a simple yet effective way to kill germs, remove allergens and clean without the use of bleach or harmful floor cleaners, take a minute to give the T1 Steamboy a second look.
Freezing winter temperatures actually help most seasonal allergy and asthma sufferers in a few ways, and for the most part, this winter has not brought these benefits.
Cold temps bring relief from those who suffer from pollinating plants and trees. - Colder temperatures drive pollen producers into a winter hibernation, but warmer temps mean some trees and plants are already budding.
Lower temperatures and/or snowfall holds outdoor molds in check. - As noted in a previous about mold allergies and fall, warmer temperatures can mean an uptick in mold spores from dead and decaying leaves.
Lastly, asthma sufferers are particularly sensitive to temperature/barometric pressure swings. - When temperatures spike and dip, as is common during the fall, asthma sufferers typically see an increase in symptoms, like wheezing, coughing and nasal swelling. Steady temps, warm or cold, minimize this.
For non allergy sufferers out there, don't think you're in the clear. Warmer winters typically signal a good year for insects, which is usually only good news for... insects.
So while I may think it's nice to see that the daffodils and tulips in my back yard have already sprouted, the fact that they did so in January probably doesn't make them as welcomed a sight for allergy or asthma sufferers.
Simply put, mucus is a noun and mucous is an adjective. So, the actual fluid that comes out of your nose when you are congested is mucus and the linings in your body that secrete mucus are mucous membranes.
Dictionary.com's definition of mucus is: "the slimy protective secretion of the mucous membranes, consisting mainly of mucin*." The word actually derives straight from the Latin word mucus, meaning "snot, slime, mold."
Mucous, on the other hand, according to Dictionary.com, is "pertaining to, consisting of, or resembling mucus" or "containing or secreting mucus."
Coming across it in the above definition of mucus, I had to look up the word mucin. Mucin is "any of a class of glycoproteins found in saliva, gastric juice, etc., that form viscous solutions and act as lubricants or protectants on external and internal surfaces of the body" (Dictionary.com).
There you have it, folks, probably more than you ever wanted to know about mucus-related words. For more about mucus itself, stay tuned for February's allergist interview, in which Dr. Scott Carroll of the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic discusses what those different colors of mucus mean for your health.
With the Vapamore lifetime warranty, Vapamore will repair or replace almost everything except wear on parts. You pay shipping to and from Vapamore, but all repairs are free.
Look over the fine print of the Lifetime Limited Warranty.
Simply fill out the Vapamore Warranty Registration and you're set for life on steam cleaner repairs!
There was little information I could gather online about EACI. The company has no web presence, and Honeywell makes no mention of acquiring the company or the brand in the history section of their website. What I did discover was that EACI was a company based in Hagerstown, MD. Their business focus was twofold. First, their Enviracaire division produced and sold air cleaners, much like the one shown above. Secondly, their Envirco division provided “ultra-clean air systems and components” as well as air quality testing and monitoring services.
What I could glean from the sparse information online was that in 1992 Honeywell purchased the Enviracaire division. The Envirco division was purchased by Donaldson Company, which develops and produces air filtration and exhaust systems. To this day Honeywell still manufactures and markets the Envircaire® brand with models like the 50250 and 50150.
The dinosaur we salvaged carried the product name of EV-25. Despite its rough appearance, when plugged in, the unit still worked! It smelled terrible, and the control dial was broke, so it blew out dirty air at full capacity. Filters were clogged with dirt and dust, but the unit still functioned, despite what I estimate to be approximately 18 years of service. The label below gives some idea of the age of this unit.
This model had the same basic cylindrical design that you still see with many of the modern Enviracaire® units, and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going out and trying to purchase one of these (if you can find one; aside from this dust bucket, I could not) you can still purchase aftermarket replacement filters for this product. While the importance of researching this soon to be extinct air purifier is debatable, it does shed some light onto how Honeywell entered the air purifier market.
That kind of thinking is dangerous.
Allergy and asthma attacks kill thousands of people every year. You can't get any more serious than that.
However, I believe that laughter really is medicine - and most of us adult allergy sufferers probably don't laugh enough. I think it's good to try to see the humor in all situations.
With that said, I'll admit it: I've been looking for a funny allergy joke for years now. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be a subject that most comedians want to tackle.
I did find one allergy joke that almost made me laugh, and achooallergy.com's in-house artist Ashley Vinson has helped me bring the joke to life below...
A sign recently spotted hanging in an allergy clinic:
(Like I said, it almost made me laugh.)
If you have any family-friendly jokes related to allergies, asthma, or chemical sensitivities, please send them in! And if your jokes make me laugh - or almost make me laugh - I'll post them here on the blog.