And just a reminder, with the holiday season upon us, keep in mind shipping times if you are wanting your order to arrive before the 25th. Standard deliveries, if ordered by Dec. 16th-19th should arrive before Christmas. This will vary a bit depending on your specific location. Expedited deliveries (1-2) day, can be ordered as late as the 19th and arrive on time. Of course, all of this is weather dependent, and we all know, the weather in much of the country hasn't been the most cooperative this past week.
Author: K. Gilmore
Shhh... it's so quiet.
The Blue Air Purifier
Hardly hear it hum
My dear Christina
Oh how I love your kittens
But not allergies
Its flu season now
Time to use my Respro mask
Keep me safe outside
Hot drinks for cold nights
No milk in my hot cocoa
No egg in my nog
Has lots of stuff for your nose
They will help you breathe
There's only 24 hours left to take advantage of our 15% Off Thanksgiving Sale. Use coupon code "thanks2013" to take a season's best 15% off your order. From a warm, cozy blanket, to HEPA air purifiers, humidifiers, and HEPA vacuum cleaners, save big on the best brands and products to help keep your home comfortable all year round!
There is not much that I can definitely say about life. It is a truly unique experience that many of us likely take for granted too often (me, again). For some, we're thankful for being in a position of financial security or our jobs/careers. Some of us are thankful for our health and being able to enjoy this life of ours. Others are thankful for being rich with loved ones, children, family and friends. Still others among us are simply thankful for a roof over our heads and food in the pantry. Most basically, every one of us who is reading this right now can be thankful for this day. Each day we draw breathe is a day where our tales are yet unwritten, and with that brings hope, and the opportunity for each of us to author another page in the story that is our book of life.
So between the turkey and football, the fellowship and friendship, I simply wanted to take a couple minutes to let my inner optimist out and offer thanks for all that I have in this life, both large and small.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Author: Kevin Gilmore
The most popular humidifier category is ultrasonic humidifiers. The appeal of ultrasonic humidifiers starts with their ability to put a lot of moisture back in air very quickly and often ends with them being some of the absolute quietest humidifiers available. In between there are a pretty wide variety of features and control options that help to differentiate these models. Most perform best as cool mist humidifiers, and the majority offer digital controls with a built-in hygrostat so that you can not only set your humidity level, but see what current conditions are in the room. Check out our Top Five Ultrasonic Humidifiers.
The deepest offering of any category is cool mist humidifiers. Not only does this encompass all of the ultrasonic models but also evaporative humidifiers and air washers. Cool mist humidifiers do just what the name implies, deliver soothing, cool mist to help relieve symptoms associated with asthma, allergies, eczema and the flu. In this category you will find a variety of styles, but each is effective in combating these winter symptoms. Compare our Top Five Cool Mist Humidifiers list.
The next category is our warm mist humidifier selection. Warm mist humidifiers are a favorite not only for the comforting warm steam they emit but also because many offer the ability to use a medicine cup or essential oils. A traditional problem with warm mist humidifiers is that by boiling the water, they presented a potential safety issue around kids or pets. As the years have passed, some manufacturers have overcome this problem and offer true warm mist without the potential problems. Additionally, a large portion of ultrasonic models offer a "pre-warm" feature, and while the mist that comes out isn't as hot as the old school, boiler-style models, it does help to kill germs and is warmer than the standard cool mist. Heat things up with our Top Five Warm Mist Humidifiers.
Last but not least are compact/child humidifiers. Though this category has a split purpose, child humidifiers vs. travel/portable humidifiers, many of the features that make the models the best are shared by each half. Features like size, ease-of-use, and weight all factor into decided which humidifier will be right for your child's bedroom or which is handy to take along with you on your holiday trip to see family. Go compact or fun with our Top Five Child/Portable Humidifiers.
Author: Kevin Gilmore
Before we start, let's go over a couple unique things about microbes. First, we're literally immersed in them. As the planet's oldest and most basic form of life, bacteria and microbes are actually big part of who we are today. There are literally hundreds of species fungi and bacteria that inhabit different regions of our skin, under our nails and throughout our digestive system. I can hear some people groaning about this, but we have largely symbiotic relationships with these guests. They aid in digestion and are a dynamic part of what makes the human body as resilient as it is. One very interesting thing about microbes though, they are highly adaptable, and when it comes to the flu and harmful bacteria, they quickly evolve to counter what we throw their way.
Wash your hands already! Sounds simple right? Surprisingly many people sell themselves short at this most basic task. Where do we go wrong? Let's start with the soap. Antimicrobial soaps flood the store shelves. Everywhere you look it's antimicrobial this and antimicrobial that. The problem is many of the antimicrobial agents are chemical based, and people forget that when it comes to fighting the cold and flu virus, you're combating the most versatile and quickly adapting organisms on the planet. The more exposure germs have to these substances, the more quickly the develop resistance to them. The same is true for antibiotics, and recent stories about drug resistant bacteria only highlight this very real and growing problem. It is a tit for tat sort of game, and the more we use our antimicrobial agents, the more quickly microbes adapt to them. What is the alternative? Good ole soap and water.
Soap is a surfactant which primarily works to break down surface tension between water and other solids or liquids. Think of soap as a lubricant that when used, allows dirt, grime and microbes to lose their grip on your skin. Soap doesn't have to be laced with special chemicals or fragrances. It simple needs to do its most basic job, which is to loosen things attached to your skin, allow them to attach to water molecules and flow merrily down the drain.
In addition to the soap, there are two other things that make washing your hands effective - heat and agitation. Heat and agitation (rubbing your hands together, working up a soapy lather) aid the process of dislodging debris, and though simple, both are necessary. Heat transfer is the process by which dirt, debris, and microbes are lifted from a surface. This is the same concept that is behind the sanitizing power of steam cleaners. Agitation effectively combines the soap, water and warmth so, When you combine all three things, ta-da! You've effectively washed your hands, and it didn't take any special antimicrobial soap.
The last two things to keep in mind when it comes to washing your hands are length of time and frequency. A good rule is sing "Happy Birthday" to yourself twice. If you do it aloud you may either get unexpected birthday gifts or some coworkers may question your sanity. It's really a 50-50 shot here. The reason you sing Happy Birthday twice is that this amount of time is generally long enough to effectively remove germs, dirt and debris from your hands and nails.
Finally, like a Chicago voter, early and often is the best time to wash. Most people don't think about it but we literally touch our faces hundreds of times each day. Throw in the hundreds or thousands or other things you touch each day, and you have the potential to come in contact with a lot of nasty bugs.
And what if you're not close to a sink, soap and water? This is what hand sanitizers were originally designed for. I've seen hand sanitizer often placed by the bathroom or kitchen sink, but if you're there, just wash your hands already! The best types of hand sanitizers to stick with are those that use simple alcohol to disinfect. Alcohol is effective, quickly evaporates and doesn't pose any potential risks that seem to be popping up regarding the use of triclosan (endocrine function disruption in frogs, the possible weakening of muscle contraction, or the association with the diagnosis of allergies and hay fever). You don't need a great deal of it, and if my past experience is any indicator, using a lot right before a staff meeting might get a coworker or two wondering if you spent way too much time carousing last night.
So remember, it doesn't take anything special to build a great first line of defense against the flu virus. To borrow from a childhood movie, wash Daniel-san, and wash well.
Author: Kevin Gilmore
There are now four new Stadler Form humidifiers available, Oskar, Oskar Big, Hera and William. Oskar is a compact, lightweight, nearly silent, evaporative humidifier. Oskar Big is just as the name implies, like Oskar… but bigger! Both of these models use almost no electricity, so they go virtually unnoticed on the winter power bill, and likely their best feature, both are top-fill humidifiers. So, there's no tank to remove and filling can be done without even turning them off.
In addition to the evaporative models, there are also two ultrasonic models available, William and Hera. Both have an array of digital features and controls. Like the Oskar twins, both Hera and William are cool mist humidifiers, but these two also have a pre-warm feature, as well as built-in, digital hygrostats, so you easily set your desired humidity level and eliminate the guesswork. Hera, the white model, is in short supply, so pre-orders are being taken for the next shipment that arrives.
We have also added four of the best Crane humidifiers. These include the popular children's models, Daphnie the Duck and Freddy the Frog. All of the Crane humidifiers are super-easy to use and deliver cool mist humidification. There aren't a lot of bells and whistles with these models, but they are pleasing to the eye, fun for the kids, and very easy on the wallet.
Lastly, we've had a couple new additions to our existing lines. Pure Guardian has added another large model to their line of ultrasonic humidifiers. The big advantage with this humidifier is the tank capacity - almost two and a half gallons! That means less filling and more humidifying. In our mainstay line, Air-O-Swiss, true warm mist is back with the S450. This model is a true steam humidifier that unlike the pre-warm featured in ultrasonic humidifiers, does actually heat the water to full 212° F. It separates itself from other steam humidifiers in that the steam that actually comes out of the unit is truly warm, not scalding, making it the best steam humidifier on the market. So unlike steam humidifiers of the past, the AirOSwiss S450 is actually safer for use around children or pets.
The other addition to the Air-O-Swiss line isn't necessary new, more a reintroduction. The AOS 7142 was very popular model when first introduced. The look, efficiency, and tank capacity all made it a top humidifier model, and after some time away, the 7142 is back again. I'm still not sure why it took a break, but we're glad to reintroduce it to the rest of the AOS line of ultrasonic humidifiers.
In addition to the new humidifiers, we have also updated our humidifier buying guide as well as the humidifier FAQ's page and other informational pages related to humidifiers and maintaining a healthy, comfortable relative humidity. So relieve symptoms of winter time dry air safely and effectively with any of these home humidifiers. And if you have questions, we have answers, so as always, you can call, email, submit a customer FAQ, fax, chat or send us a letter!
Author: K. Gilmore
Here at Achoo!, we touch on such research several times throughout the year, particularly with regard to how air pollutants (both indoor and outdoor) cause problems for people with respiratory conditions. Many point towards a causal relationship between things like asthma and vehicle exhaust. This publication, though, is based upon the review of epidemiological studies that include millions of people spanning five continents. Particularly telling are many of the studies coming out of rapidly industrializing nations like China and other parts of Asia. This part of the world has seen an industrialized revolution similar to that which occurred during the early 1800's and again during the middle of the 19th century. With this boom in manufacturing, nations like China have struggled to keep up with emissions and toll they take on the population.
These findings focused less on the specific elements that make up air pollution, but looked more broadly at the pollutant. The components of air pollution can vary, depending on the location, but as a whole, air pollution is fluid and has effects that can cover very wide areas. The largest two broad components of air pollution stem from particulate matter and "transportation-related emissions." And while some air pollution is naturally occurring, much of it stems from vehicle emissions, power generation, and industrial emissions.
In my opinion, the significance of this announcement is two fold. First, it actually focuses on a cause of cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, typically a time when we see a flood of "pink" merchandise and marketing, all designed to raise awareness of breast cancer. From boxes of saltines at the grocery store to the helmets of the Oregon Ducks college football team this weekend, this iconic color raises awareness of breast cancer. Local organizations hold events, races, even free mammograms, all to raise money and awareness of this issue, yet by in large much of focus on cancer research, particularly in the U.S., seems to be on finding a "cure." A thought that I always have whenever I see anything related to a "cure for cancer" is, a cure, though important, wouldn't be as necessary if you could find, then reduce or eliminate the cause.
Secondly, this study highlights a major environmental factor in the cause. We are all aware of certain things that cause cancer, like smoking or using tobacco, etc., but many of these types of things are causes that we expose ourselves too knowingly. There's little doubt that smoking or using smokeless tobacco can directly lead to things like lung, throat or mouth cancer, but air pollution is different. Mainly in that, you can't quit breathing!
The goal with this announcement, as stated by IARC Director Christopher Wild is
“There are effective ways to reduce air pollution and, given the scale of the exposure affecting people worldwide, this report should send a strong signal to the international community to take action without further delay.”
Sadly, to date, economic interests have largely trumped measures that could curb or reduce pollutants in areas where people are most effected.
To read the official WHO press release or to download the full IARC publication.
Author: K. Gilmore
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 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