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Posted by kevvyg on Wednesday, March 25, 2015
As the weather begins to warm again, that most joyous time of year is nearly upon us - spring! Sunshine, warm temperatures, daffodils, and blooming plants of all varieties. The Easter Bunny - Enjoy!So by looking back on were we've been these last few months and peeking ahead as to what the the broader outlook for the year looks like, we can get a pretty good idea of how miserable allergy season is going to be. You didn't think I was just going to talk about bunny rabbits and Easter eggs did you? As much I would like to, that's really not going to help anyone with seasonal allergies, other than by offering a temporary distraction. So, on that note....

Now that that's been covered, time to move on to more pressing matters. From dogwoods and oaks to all manner of tree and bush, plants are shaking off their winter slumber and springing back to life - dumping pollen into the air. Now it also the time when those articles start popping up all over the place, "Worst Allergy Season - EVER!". I do sometimes wonder, has someone with allergies ever went through a spring and thought, "Hhhmmmm.... not bad!" The reality is, this is how spring allergies are going to go.

This is How Spring Allergy Season Is Going to Go

While this winter was harsh enough to push the start of allergy season further into the year, the very wet nature of this winter is likely to mean high pollen counts. So while the spring allergy season is likely to be a little shorter than recent years, don't expect the trend of increased pollen counts and intensity to take a break.

With all this being said, what can you do in terms of relief?

How Do You Spell Allergy Relief?

There are several places to start, but we almost always recommend the bedroom. You'll spend more time here (typically 6-8 hours sleeping) than any other room in the home. Here are some quick hitter solutions to getting a better night's sleep while the pollen flies.
  • Air - With warmer temperatures, many of us are likely to want to open the window. I know for myself, as soon as the temperature creeps above 60° or so, my windows are open. With allergies, you can either keep the windows closed or try something like a window filter. While these don't offer HEPA filtration (to do so would completely block airflow), they do a great deal of the pollen in the air. The other item that can help clear up your indoor air is a HEPA air purifier. Something like an Austin air purifier is a simple way to remove the allergens. The HEPA/carbon filter lasts years before needing to be replaced, and the controls are simple.

  • Spring Allergies Suck, Remove the Pollen with a HEPA Vacuum CleanerFloors - Your floors are often the final resting place of allergens, including dust, dander, mold spores, and pollen. While you can trap a great deal of this particulate with an air purifier, you're still likely to track allergens in. Regardless of flooring type, you can not only keep them looking good but free of allergens with a high quality HEPA vacuum cleaner. When considering a HEPA vac, keep in mind quality. You often get what you pay for, and lower quality vacuums can leak and simply redistribute allergens instead of actually removing and trapping them.

  • Clothes - When the pollen counts are high, it's literally sticking to your clothes and then being brought into your home. Many find themselves washing their laundry more frequently. While regular washing can greatly reduce allergens trapped in your clothes, an anti-allergy laundry detergent can denature protein allergens that escape the normal wash cycle. Ecology works produces a plant-based detergent that is gentle of clothes, free of dyes and added fragrance, ultimately making it easier on your skin.

  • Outdoors - Avoid going out on days when the pollen count is going to be exceptionally high. This is easier said than done for many, but an allergy mask can make a big difference in blocking pollen and other allergens while you're outdoors. Though it can be a little dreary, right after a light rain, pollen levels in the air can dip, so this might not be a bad time to get some of your outdoor activities knocked out.

  • Medication - Antihistamines are the soup du jour when it comes to combating allergies. While most people take these AFTER they begin to experience symptoms, Spring Apple Blossomsmost allergists actually recommend you being taking them just prior to the onset of the allergy season. These help by tamping down the immune response to pollen - inflammation. There are over the counter as well as more powerful prescription antihistamines available, and a quick stop by your local board certified allergist can give you a better idea of which route to go. Or, you can always try OTC methods first, and if relief is still elusive, consult your doctor for more options.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Checking your local pollen counts, wearing a mask while outdoors, taking your shoes off when you come inside the home, and bathing your pet (if you have one) more frequently during allergy season are all things that can also help you avoid exposure to pollen.

Do you have any tips or hints you'd like to share? Leave a comment or send us an email at blog@achooallergy.com. Otherwise stay tuned for another potential Easter Bunny sighting.

Author: K. Gilmore

Posted by kevvyg on Monday, January 12, 2015
As many of you who have shopped or browsed our site have seen, there's a section on each product page where we field your specific questions about products. All are answered and many posted back to the website to help others. One question that has popped up several times in the last two weeks is about air exchanges per hour (ACH) and coverage area. I'll go over it a bit here, and if you want more detailed information, provide a link to a more in depth piece about ACH, below.

Two readers astutely pointed out a discrepancy between what Austin Air states as their coverage area for the HealthMate air purifier and what we state. Austin lists the HealthMate with 1500 sq. ft. of coverage, while we say it covers 750 sq. ft. Who's correct? Technically, both.

Coverage Area for an Air Purifier Can Actually VaryCoverage area is determined by a couple things. First, how powerful the fan is. The more powerful the fan, the larger volume of air it can move and ultimately clean. The second is how you actually define coverage. Air purifiers aren't like paint. With paint you're going to get about x number of sq. ft. out of each can. This number can vary a little depending on how heavy you apply, but generally, if four people paint with the same bucket, they're going to get pretty similar coverage areas. With an air purifier, the coverage not only describes how large of a room/space it will operate in but also sheds some light on how well it will actually clean in that size of space.

Understanding Air Exchanges per HourIt's wise to remember how an air purifier works. Air moves through the filters, pulled in by the fan, and once cleaned, it's pushed back into the room. This process happens over and over, and for good reason. Air is constantly being polluted with indoor and outdoor allergens and particles. The ACH is the measure of how often an air purifier can cycle through the entire volume of air in any space, and this is linked to how powerful the fan is. If you have a very powerful fan and the air purifier is operating in a small room, it's going to have the ability to cycle through all the air in that room many times per hour. If you take that same air purifier and place it in a large cavernous room, it may only be able to cycle through that volume of air once or twice per hour.

So in large part, coverage area depends on how many air exchanges per hour you want to target. What Is the Actual Coverage Area for an Austin HealthMate Air PurifierWe generally recommend a minimum of four ACH per hour, and that's true for every air purifier we sell. That's the minimum though, and if possible, we recommend getting to six per hour. Air purifier manufacturers vary when it comes to ACH. Some rate the coverage of their machines based on 5 or 4 ACH and some, like Austin, base it on 2 ACH. This means, that Austin Air Purifiers will appear to have very large coverage areas, when it reality if your goal is to filter all the air in your room at least 4 times per hour, then the space can be no bigger than 750 sq. ft. If someone else only needs light filtration, say 2 ACH, over a larger area, then perhaps the Austin HealthMate is perfect for a 1500 sq. ft. area.

As you can see, coverage and ACH are closely linked, and as I've shown here, when it comes to who's right - Austin or us? Both.

For more information on how to calculate air exchanges per hour or visit our highly informative Air Purifier Buying Guide for all the info you need to make the most informed choice about which HEPA air purifier is right for you.

Author: K. Gilmore

Posted by Rachel on Friday, January 24, 2014
In the first month of 2014, a lot has already happened. Amongst the news about the "polar vortex" and political drama, my family and I will be welcoming a new family member! My older brother in Mexico City and his amor will be welcoming their first daughter this spring. This gives us some time to prepare for just about everything, from her name to what kind of baby shoes we get to dress her in! Being born in the spring and in the year of the horse, means that she will have strong leadership skills, passion, kindness, and great intelligence. She will also have gorgeous luscious hair, thanks to my mother.

So, what will we spoil her with? With Mexico City being located in the Valley of Mexico, the 3 mountain ranges that surround the valley trap all of the air pollution produced by the heavily populated city. With all of the ozone and nitrogen oxide pollutants, it seems like an air purifier would be the perfectly practical gift.

I like the Austin Air Baby's Breath, and here are three good reasons why.
  • Austin Air Baby's Breath HEPA Air PurifiersLow Maintenance Filters - Austin Air Purifiers have a great reputation for their low maintenance filters. The all-in-one filter only need to be changed every 3-5 years, which is a great feature because with a new born, this will be one less thing to worry about and one less credit card charge to have.
  • Excellent Pollution Filtration - The Baby’s Breath filters are great for particle and chemical absorption thanks to its medical grade HEPA filter and HEGA (High efficiency gas absorption) cloth carbon filter. This filter system will remove air borne particulates such as bacteria and viruses while absorbing VOCs and pollutants.
  • Quiet, But Not Silent - It’s hard to find peace and quiet in the hustle and bustle of a city. Though the Baby’s Breathe’s motor fan is insulated by the four layers of filter media, it does create a small amount of white noise which helps block out any city noise you may hear at night or during nap time. Do mother’s get a nap time too?
Next on the baby list, I want to make sure that my future niece is in an environment that is not dependent on harsh cleaning chemicals. Luckily, we have a variety of cleaning products that are plant based and will not cause allergic reactions or skin irritations.

EcoDiscoveries Natural Cleaners EcoDiscoveries Are Safe, Plant Based Green Cleanersare plant based cleaners that use enzymes to clean just about anything in your house. The surfactants, citric acid and soil emulsifiers are all plant derived ingredients used to keep your nursery safe and clean. With babies exploring and putting their mouths on just about everything and anything, you can have some peace of mind knowing that your baby isn’t licking up harsh chemicals.

A lot of thought went into the design of these mattresses. Cornered edges and welded (not sewn) seams provide comfort and an aesthetically pleasing design all while preventing dust mites and bacterial growth. Starlight support baby mattresses are waterproof, fire resistant, and hypoallergenic and are sized for bassinets, changing tables, cradles or cribs. For my new niece to get the best sleep, I’d opt for the Starlight Support Crib Mattress.

When my future niece is going out in the sun to play in any of Mexico City’s beautiful parks or on a beach vacation, she’s going to be using Vanicream Sunscreen. It’s a safe sunscreen for all ages, and has titanium oxide and since oxide as active ingredients. There are no harsh chemicals or allergy triggers like nickel or nut derivatives, and it’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Vanicream is great for young children and others with sensitive skin and those with eczema or any allergies to perfumes and preservatives. Vanicream specializes in a variety of products for people with sensitive skin, from shampoo and conditioner, soaps, bath oil and moisturizers.

So far I think this is a great starting point for a healthy newborn. I’ve taken care of the her nursery with clean air and plant based cleaners, and will also be able to keep her safe from too much sun with without worrying about preservatives, fragrances or other harsh chemicals common in sunscreen. Now I’m just counting down the days until my little niece gets here!

Author: Rachel P.

Posted by kevvyg on Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Austin Air PurifiersNormally, we like to stay further in front of announcements like this, but lost in the Thanksgiving shuffle was news about Austin Air purifiers and filters. Starting December 1st, 2011, prices are increasing on all Austin units and replacement filters. Due to rising commodity costs, Austin Air purifiers are increasing by 10-11%.

Austin Air purifiers have long been some of the most efficient air purifiers for allergy and asthma sufferers. Steel construction, easy to use controls and long filter life have made them popular for those who want efficiency without hassle. True HEPA filtration, granular activated carbon and a sealed system have made them ideal for removing pollen, dander, dust, and other particle allergens as well as smoke, odors, and VOC's.

If you were considering an Austin or are in need of a replacement filter, there is no time to order like now!

Shop Austin Air Purifiers

Shop Austin Air Purifier Filters

Posted by Jamie on Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Austin Air Bedroom MachineMarch 7th to March 13th is National Sleep Awareness Week! This is the perfect opportunity to recognize one of the most important aspects of a happy, healthy, and successful life--sufficient and restful sleep.

The Austin Air Bedroom Machine, endorsed by the National Sleep Foundation of America was developed in partnership with the Johns Hopkins University Medical School and now uses the most advanced filtration system ever designed by Austin Air.

The Austin Bedroom Machine has a 5-stage filtration system that combines medical grade HEPA, and a HEGA Carbon Cloth (High Efficiency Gas Absorption). It is this unique filter design together with Austin’s 360-degree air intake system that provides a safe and effective solution to improve the quality of your sleep.

Austin air purifiers deliver clean air faster and more efficiently than any other air cleaner on the market. Using the Austin Air Bedroom Machine will improve the quality of air you breathe, improving your sleep and in turn, your quality of life. You will breathe better with this air purifier in your bedroom!


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