AchooAllergy.com Blog

Eczema


Posted by kevvyg on Tuesday, January 28, 2014
As many of you already know, here at Achoo you can find a variety of organic cotton bedding products. From sheets and allergy covers for your pillows and mattress to a couple styles of blankets, all of these products start as certified organic cotton fabric and are then transformed into the chemical-free bedding you enjoy.

Key Features Include
  • Made from USDA certified organic cotton
  • Great for winter but light enough for year round use
  • From start to finish, made right here in the U.S.
  • Free of pesticide and fertilizer residues as well as chemical treaters and dyes that are common in textiles
  • Gentle for those with sensitive skin, eczema, chronic dermatitis, or other skin conditions
  • Available in four sizes
  • Machine Washable
For more information, on either our Organic Cotton Blankets (Waffle Weave) or our Organic Cotton Blankets (Crepe Weave).

Author: KevvyG

Posted by kevvyg on Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Crane Adorable Child HumidifiersAs part of our expansion of our humidifier offering, we've now added select cool mist humidifiers by Crane. Crane is known for the animal/character themed design as well as their ease of use. So whether dry indoor air is making your child feel a little less than "froggy" or a night time cough is driving you "quackers," Crane has an inexpensive and simple solution!

Crane Child Humidifier ControlsBoth Daphnie the Duck and Freddy the Frog are cool mist humidifiers that use ultrasonic technology to quickly and effectively disburse moisture back into indoor air. Compact and lightweight, these models are perfect for a child's bedroom. Holding about a gallon of water each, both can help relieve symptoms of eczema (like itchy skin), asthma (like a dry night time cough), or just general symptoms of dry indoor air, like chapped lips, dry or painful nasal passages.

You simply remove the tank, fill, then set your humidity level and let it run! If you have hard water, you can pick up an optional demineralization cartridge/filter to remove mineral content. No hard water or you use distilled water? Then it's ready to go right out of the box.

Crane Ultrasonic HumidifierAs a couple other notes about these humidifiers, there are no BPAs or phthalates in the plastic used, and since both are cool mist humidifiers, there are no heating elements or boiling water to worry about if it gets knocked over or spills. And, both the Crane Duck humidifier and Crane Frog humidifier will automatically shut off once the tank is empty.

Each of these are in stock and ready to ship today or can be picked up from our showroom. I like them for a few reasons - cost, simplicity, and they're much easier on the eyes (especially in a kid's room) than most other models. Granted they lack some of the snazzy features and length of warranty of models that cost two to three times as much, but as basic way to restore humidity back into your indoor air, this duck (and frog), might fit the "bill."

And the last reason why I like these humidifiers? Bad puns galore! Just as a side note... is the "Crane Duck" anything like a "Lion Tiger"?

Author: KevvyG

Posted by KevvyG on Thursday, October 03, 2013
Stadler Form William Ultrasonic HumidifierThe next new Stadler Form humidifier to grace the Achoo runway, is the William. Like the Oskar, William sounds more like the guy who sits in the cubicle next to you and less like a humidifier, but no, William is a compact ultrasonic humidifier that can put a LOT of moisture back into the air in a relatively short period of time. This humidity can particularly help people dealing with allergies, asthma or eczema during the dry winter months. We try not to be too terribly formal here at the office, so what's to like about "Lil' Bill?"

First, William is very quiet, nearly inaudible even when running at its highest setting. Second is the robust moisture output. Winter time means people are using furnaces, heaters and wood burners - all of which can dry out a house in no time at all. To combat this, William can pump out up to three and a half gallons of moisture back into the dry air in your home. This capacity is a bit more than comparable ultrasonic humidifiers.

Large Digital Display - Stadler Form William HumidifierAnother feature I really like about Stadler Form's William is the control panel. There's a nice big digital display that shows you the current humidity, output level, and whether or not the prewarm feature is activated. From this panel you can set your humidity level, use the "sleep" or "automatic" modes, and adjust your output. This is important since even during the winter months just enough humidity is good and comforting, and too much can be a little too comforting for things like mold or dust mites. As the foam finger in the picture points out, it's large enough to let you know all you need to with just a quick glance.

When you open up the William, there are two things you might notice. First, to help prevent the growth of microbes, germs and bacteria, William has a small white device located in the nebulizer compartment. This Ionic Silver Cube emits silver ions which keep the water in the tank hygienic and free of microbes. You also might notice the water is warm in the compartment (if you have the prewarm feature on).

William is Hygienic with His Ionic Silver CubeOverall the Stadler Form William humidifier is small but powerful (put two regular size cereal boxes back to back and that's about the size of this model). So whether you find yourself waking up with a dry cough, dry or painful sinuses, itchy skin or chapped lips, the William can help!

For more information about the popular Stadler Form William humidifier or to see the full line of Stadler Form humidifiers.

Author: K. Gilmore

Posted by kevvyg on Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Allergy Armor Organic Bedding CoverOrganic fabric isn't the easiest material to come by, and as a manufacturer, we are constantly on the lookout for better raw materials. Despite enormous initial success, literally selling out of our organic barrier fabric after only a couple months, we took some time off before obtaining more material. During our break, we made a couple improvements, and will very soon be offering an even better product at the same price. So what did we improve, and how can it help you?

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.

Allergy Armor Organic Allergy Covers are Made From GOTS Certified Organic CottonSome 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

Posted by kevvyg on Thursday, July 11, 2013
An article recently published by a group of Swedish researchers calls into question some of the zeal over fatty acids in our diet. With the seemingly endless parade of ads for supplements rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, this latest research piece demonstrates a link between high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and an increased risk of the development of allergies.

Common Source of Fatty Acids - FishPolyunsaturated fatty acids is a broad category that includes many compounds, including the most commonly known Omega 3 (n-3) as well as the lesser known Omega 6 (n-6) and Omega 9 (n-9) fatty acids. The role these acids play in the human diet is complex and still continues to evolve, though Omega 3 and others are most commonly associated with anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies over the last few decades have shown a general lack of these compounds in the western diet and associated it with an increase in inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, COPD and even asthma. Omega 3 fatty acids are most commonly found in fish oils as well as some plant oils, and as a more recent trend, have been appearing in increasing amounts on store shelves, as dietary supplements. More recent research blurs the lines a bit by suggesting that things like Omega 3 may not be the miracle cure all the hype would lead you to believe, yet most concede that while the positives may not be as grand as originally billed, there are few drawbacks.

This latest piece of research builds upon a piece originally published in 2008 that produced similar results but on a smaller scale. In this Swedish study published in PLOS One, roughly 800 children were chosen from a population based group of 1228 born in the same year. From this group, samples of the umbilical cord serum were taken then analyzed and compared with standardized allergy test results taken over the course of the next 13 years.

Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acid Molecule - Omega 3The results showed that in children at age 13 demonstrated higher rates of respiratory allergies than those whose mothers had lower levels of PUFAs at birth. Not only did children with respiratory allergies exhibit this link but so did children who suffered from chronic skin rashes. Those who exhibited higher rates of allergies also had lower levels of mono-unsaturated fats found in the cord blood sample. So to simplify this - Higher levels of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids found in the cord blood correlated with higher rates of respiratory allergies and chronic skin rashes (think eczema), and it did not matter if the mother had a history of allergies or not. The correlation rates were still higher regardless of maternal allergy history.

So what does all this mean? For now, not much. This research piece is just another step along the way of understanding the origins of allergic disease. Though researchers demonstrated this correlation, what they could not determine was the mechanism behind this. The working theory is that the PUFAs dampen inflammation and the immune activation process, the same process that is thought to "train" an infants immune system to determine is harmful and what is not. This seems to fit since much of allergic disease is the immune system's overreaction to harmless "allergens." Further research is still needed to discover what the exact mechanism behind this is as well how to approach the consumption of PUFAs during pregnancy.

To read the full research article.

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Posted by kevvyg on Tuesday, May 07, 2013
My Godson, 'You did what with my binky??' I came across this on the drive in to work yesterday morning, and it reminded me of just a few short years ago.  From time to time I would babysit my godson, and for quite a while, he used a pacifier (which I always call a "binky").  Like many babies and very young children, he took comfort in a pacifier.  It was often the "go-to" thing at bedtime or when he was fussy.  When babysitting, the pacifier would inevitably fall from his mouth and land on the floor.  More often than not, I would see it happen, pick it up, make sure there was no dog hair or big chunk of dirt on it then pop it back in.  I can hear a few people gasping, but generally speaking, "dirt don't hurt" was a saying that my brothers and I practiced on a daily basis as children. My one brother's nickname was literally "dirt" since he was generally filthy from playing outside so much.  This is all a bit circuitous, but it leads me to two things, the hygiene hypothesis and a recent study published in Pediatrics.

While my approach in cleaning the pacifier is probably not taken by many, this recently published study I mention focuses not only on how parents cleaned their children's pacifier but also how it may impact the development of eczema and allergies.  In examining 184 children, researchers studied what the children were sensitive to, how parents cleaned their pacifiers, and analyzed the bacteria in the children's mouths.  At 18 and even 36 months, children whose parents cleaned their pacifiers by sucking on them, showed remarkable protection against eczema and asthma.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Some parents clean their child's pacifier by sucking it clean then giving it back to the child.  Odd as it may sound, this is believed to be the key findings of the study.

Regardless of how "clean" we, as a species, think we are, there are literally billions of bacteria living on and even inside of us.  On our skin, in our digestive tracts and in our mouths, bacteria play a very important part in everything from our immune system to the way in which we break down our food.  The theory is that by sucking on the pacifier the parent not only cleans visible dirt or debris from it, but they actually place bacteria back onto it.  That bacteria is then introduced to the child, exposing the child's immune system to a broader array of bacteria.  This ties into the hygiene hypothesis in that many believe children in western societies are "too clean," and because of this, are at an increased risk of developing things like eczema, asthma or allergies.

When we are infants, our bodies' systems are developing.  Think of the immune system like a defense mechanism that is untrained.  By nature, this system is designed to find things harmful to us and fight them, so at a very early age, the immune system is trying to determine what is dangerous and what can be ignored.  The hygiene theory suggests that lack of exposure to a variety of bacteria and germs means the system doesn't get thorough training and often identifies innocuous substances as harmful.  "Well, we have to find the shady characters to defend you against, and I don't like the looks of these guys." So when they immune system cannot find real enemies, they start identifying harmless substances as dangerous.

The hygiene hypothesis is just that, a hypothesis, and there are some studies that run counter to this.  This piece of research, though, suggests that there is some validity to it.  While it is too early to suggest that parents start sucking on their kid's pacifier to clean it, it really can't hurt.  Oh, and just for the record, most parents simply rinse the pacifier.  I guess I all into that "other" category.

For an abstract of the pacifier study.

Author: KevvyG

Posted by kevvyg on Sunday, August 12, 2012
Genetics and Allergic DiseasesLike many health issues and conditions, the primary determining factors are genetics and the environment. Both are not weighted equally in any given situation, but both play a role in the development of most medical conditions and diseases. Even when the specific causes of a condition, like allergies, asthma and eczema, are unknown, evidence is strong that these two factors are important. A recent study published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology suggests a very strong link between parents with allergic diseases and the chances of their same sex offspring in developing allergic diseases.

Using a combination of IgE blood tests, skin prick tests and close examination of parental history, researchers studied parents and monitored their children for their entire childhood. In collecting and analyzing the data they found that when a mother had asthma or eczema their female children demonstrated a nearly 50% increase in the risk of developing that same condition. The same was not true for male children. However, this a near identical increase in risk was seen when examining paternal conditions and their male offspring. Simply put, if a mother had asthma or eczema, her daughter was 50% more likely to develop the same condition. Her son, saw little to no appreciable increase in risk. If a father had asthma or eczema, his son was 50% more likely to develop the same disease while his daughter was not.

This is important for two reasons. In the more long term, it more clearly defines the genetic link between parents and children when it comes to allergic diseases. The genetics behind conditions like eczema will ultimately be key in preventing them. In the short term, because this link has been more readily defined, it could make it easier in the future to diagnose allergies and eczema. Patient history is a critical factor in determining asthma but even more so for allergies. Blood and skin prick tests can show sensitivities but it is not until a doctor sees the full picture of the patient's medical and family history that a most accurate diagnosis can be given.

To read an abstract of the study.

To view eczema friendly personal care products.

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Posted by kevvyg on Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Spring and summer can bring out the worst in some eczema, while fall and winter can be harder on others. Regardless of which season affects you the most, here are some warm weather tips to help keep your eczema under control.
  • Go to the Beach - Salt water has been known to work miracles on eczema. Like many mysteries sounding eczema, no one really understands why salt benefits eczema skin, but there are theories the magnesium in salt helps soothe dry skin. A word of caution, although therapeutic for some, salt can be painful to others with eczema, particularly if there are open wounds. If you're beach bound, test the waters and listen to your body.

  • Spend Time at the Pool - At home chlorine baths are sometimes recommended by physicians to kill bacteria on the surface of eczema skin. Since the pool is essentially one big chlorine bath, it's no wonder that some eczema sufferers find much needed relief poolside.

  • Time in the Sun - The sun is another natural wonder for eczema. For many, the sun seems to dry up their eczema and leave them flare free, most likely due to the body's spike in vitamin D production after time in the sun. What about sunscreen? This is a tricky one. Applying sunscreen is important to block the damaging UVA and UVB rays, but sunscreen can also reduce the amount of vitamin D the body produces. Although it will be tempting to soak up hours in the sun in hopes of banishing eczema, limit this time (15 minutes) if you don't apply sunscreens and stick to early morning or late afternoon hours when the sun's rays are weaker. For prolonged exposure in the sun, or during peak hours, find a good sunscreen and lather-up. Yes, eczema is a beast, but skin cancer is deadly.

  • Choose Sunscreen with Caution - Many sunscreens can burn or sting delicate eczema skin. The best bet for choosing a gentle sunscreen is to look for one which creates a physical barrier on your skin, rather than a chemical sunscreen, which destroys the absorbed UVA/UVB rays. The barrier versions usually contain zinc, which is great in treating eczema. Also, read ingredient labels for any known allergies or triggers. And always stay away from fragrance or perfume. Natural, unscented, zinc based sunscreens with as few ingredients as possible, are safest.

  • Wear SPF Clothing - If you're not the sunscreen type – either can't be bothered or nervous about finding the best one for you, then SPF clothing is the answer. SPF protection is now available in all sorts of clothing – hats, shirts, pants, socks, bathing suits. You name it. Look for clothing made from natural fibers when possible and be sure the SPF rating is from the tight thread weave and not from a chemical added to the fabric.

  • Jennifer & FamilyMoisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize - Spring and summer bring humidity, which helps skin retain its moisture. However, don't be fooled as these months also bring more time under the sun, at the beach, and at the pool, which can all be very drying. So, stick to your daily moisturizing routine and keep an extra bottle of your favorite cream handy to apply after prolonged exposure to the sun, or after a dip in the sea or the pool.

Wishing you all a wonderful flare-free summer!

Author Bio: Jennifer is a mother of two. One with severe eczema, food allergies, and asthma. One with mild eczema. She writes about her family's journey with these health conditions at It's an Itchy Little World. She is also the founder/owner of The Eczema Company which provides specialty clothing and natural skincare for children with eczema.

Tags: Eczema
Posted by kevvyg on Wednesday, February 08, 2012
Less Sunlight, More Food Allergies?Though milk is often fortified with vitamin D, from grade school health classes on we've learned that much of the vitamin D we receive is from exposure to sunlight. In addition to keeping bones strong and healthy, vitamin D and sunlight may play an important role in the development of food allergies and eczema.

A recent collaborative study between European and British researchers has found an association between exposure to sunlight and the development of food allergies and eczema.

Focusing on Australia, researchers were able to study a wide variety of climates and regions with widely varying amounts of sunlight. In areas with less sunlight (the southern part of the country), they found that children were nearly twice as likely to develop allergies to eggs and peanuts or eczema.

While this research is still in the early stages, it gives some early indications as to what may be behind these increasingly common conditions, and more importantly, how to possibly prevent them in the future.

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