AchooAllergy.com Blog

Holidays


Posted by kevvyg on Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Alcohol and Food AllergiesAs the season of family get togethers and office parties draws nearer, now is a great time to go over a few things regarding foods allergies and two things that commonly appear at these types of gatherings - alcohol and nuts. For people with food allergies, gatherings and meals can often be a hassle, and the frequency of holiday gatherings can greatly increase this. Nut allergies tend to be some of the most problematic, and with nuts in everything from Thanksgiving stuffing and pies to cookies and alcohol, some anxiety isn't without merit. Even though bowls of nuts sitting on a bar are largely a thing of the past, they can still make appearances at dinner parties. For adults though, what alcohols pose the most problems and which are safe?

This question can be a very difficult one to answer. Alcohol, though consumed like juice, food, or soda (though your liver hopes not with the same frequency!), isn't governed by the same regulations or even the same agency as these others. While foods and most beverages fall under the domain of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), alcohol falls under the guidance and regulations of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a subdivision of the Department of Treasury. This INCLUDES labeling rules and regulations. I TOTALLY Begged My Graphic Designer for a Graphic of 'Mega-Jumbo-Can-O-Caffeinated-Monkey-Juice' But THIS Is What I Got So while your mega-jumbo-can-o-caffeinated-monkey-juice will most certainly have a label listing the nutritional value and all the ingredients, alcohol is almost always devoid of the former (and often the latter as well). Though it is often easier to determine how many calories are in your alcoholic beverage of choice, finding the actual ingredients that make up that drink is another story entirely.

Many producers do list ingredients on their website or have at least become savvy enough to list some of the common allergens that are NOT in their products, particularly nuts or nut derivatives. Beyond visiting websites and doing your own investigative research, many people are left with only anecdotal evidence as to whether a type of drink can cause a reaction or not.

Distilled spirits (think whiskey, rum, etc.) have a list of standard requirements when it comes to labeling. These include
  • Name
  • Alcohol Content
  • Address of Distiller
  • Country of Origin
  • Net Contents (a metric measurement of volume)
  • Coloring Agents (colored with caramel, annatto, etc.)
  • Wood Treatment ("beechwood aged" ring a bell?)
  • Other Ingredients like Dyes, (Yellow #5), Saccharin, or Sulfites
  • Specific Type of Commodity (redistilled, blended, compounded, etc.)
  • Statement of Age
  • Distillation/Production Location
  • A Health Warning
Seems like a lot, right? Notice what's missing? Nutrition information and ingredients.

Nut Allergy & AlcoholAs of right now, major food allergens can voluntarily be listed for wines, distilled spirits, and malt beverages, but again, this is only voluntary. There has been a proposal to make this mandatory, and since 2006, nothing has been finalized... eight years later.

And, even if you do find a list of ingredients, this still may not cover a statement regarding the processing. Though some can tell you that there are no nuts in their products, many can't ensure their products were produced in a facility that is also nut-free. This touches on another problem, cross-contamination.

Any Type of Alcohol Can Potentially Contain Allergens and Finding What's In the Drink Is No Easy TaskBartenders and those mixing drinks work in fast paced environments and worrying about cross contaminating a drink is likely not high on the priority list when there are half a dozen orders rolling in at a time. A good general tip is to skip the garnish. One garnish in particular that can be troublesome for those with nut allergies is maraschino cherries. These are often processed or flavored with almond extract. If you know a favorite mix or type of drink that is safe for you and you order it with no garnish, you can dramatically reduce any risk. At that point ingredients should be coming straight from the bottle to your glass.

For reference purposes, here's a quick list of some common alcoholic beverages that contain nuts or nut extracts. Keep in mind, things can and do change, so contacting the producer is still your best bet.
  • Amaretto
  • Creme de noyaux
  • Creme de noix
  • Frangelico
  • Galliano
  • Kahana Royale
  • Nocello
  • Beefeater
  • Bombay Sapphire
  • Harp Lager
  • Phillips Dirty Squirrel
  • Southern Comfort
  • Eblana
  • Nocino

This list is by no means comprehensive, and there are MANY varieties of wines, beers, champagnes and other types of alcohol I excluded because they to be rather obvious choices to avoid (many had things like "Nut", "Cashew", or "Almond" in the actual name).

Be Safe This Holiday Season - Cheers!In general, I advise people to stick with what they know. For people with severe nut allergies being adventurous around the holidays can likely lead to some not-so-festive memories. Check producers websites whenever possible, and if you don't see the information you need listed, call or email them. Most producers would much prefer you contact them and err on the side of safety when consuming their products. Lastly, make sure you keep your auto injector (and a backup!) handy at all times.

Unfortunately, all we've covered today is nuts. If you are one of the rare people who has a wheat or gluten allergy, that's a whole other ball of wax. Be safe and enjoy the holidays responsibly!

Author: K. Gilmore

Posted by kevvyg on Thursday, October 16, 2014
Halloween is Coming!While the leaves have yet to turn here in Atlanta, it is certainly feeling like fall. Mornings in the 50's, cool breezes at night, and longer stretches with nothing but cool, dry air are all good indicators that summer is officially in the books (not to mention the Halloween decorations popping up). Not only can you expect trick-or-treaters to be show up on your doorstep in the hopes of making the local dentist a very happy man, but all this cooler, dry weather can bring out more than a few ghosts and goblins. Even though a Pure Guardian humidifier doesn't come with candy to appease your guests to be, it can deliver moisture back to your indoor air and restore a measure of comfort to your home.

This season, Pure Guardian has a couple new humidifier to help combat dry indoor air and restore humidity levels to healthier, more comfortable levels. The first of these is the Pure Guardian H4610 dual mist humidifier. As an ultrasonic humidifier the H4610 operates in near silence and features a large, two gallon capacity tank. For you this means fewer trips to the faucet since this model can run for up to 120 hours between refills. New Pure Guardian H4610 HumidifierSecond, for light sleepers, there's less chance of being kept awake by this appliance running. A nightlight, timer, and auto shutoff round out some of the features of this large room humidifier.

If you're looking for something a little smaller, the Pure Guardian H1510 ultrasonic humidifier might be a good fit. This model is more simplistic in design, but also comes with a lower price point to match. With easy-to-use manual dial controls, this no frills humidifier offers pre-warmed or cool mist humidification for small and medium size bedrooms. Like the larger H4610 it is quiet and requires very little maintenance, and does have a small nightlight that illuminates the blue water tank.

Both of these humidifiers have pretty reasonable price tags, and like all Pure Guardian humidifiers, there are no standard replacement parts. If you have hard water, you can opt for a demineralization cartridge, but because their Silver Clean Technology is embedded into the water tank itself, there are no hygiene accessories to replace. Plus, each comes standard with a three year warranty.

You can see the full line of Pure Guardian ultrasonic humidifiers or if you just want to enter into a drawing for a FREE Achoo! Allergy t-shirt, visit the AchooAllergy.com Facebook page, like, and post your Halloween picture.

Author: Kevin Gilmore

Posted by Shifrah on Friday, September 02, 2011
My family will be attending a conference in Jacksonville over this Labor Day weekend and staying at the Hyatt Regency there. While looking at the Hyatt website, I came across their offering of hypoallergenic rooms.

Keeping allergen exposure to a minimum while travelling is a problem many allergy sufferers face. Bringing items like portable air purifiers and even your own allergy bedding can help control allergies while staying in a hotel, but these options are not always convenient. An allergy-free room, maintained by the hotel you're staying in, seems like an excellent alternative.

So just what makes these rooms hypoallergenic? According to Hyatt, Respire by Hyatt rooms undergo "an additional six-step process to reduce airborne particles and minimize the presence of potential irritants." These six steps include a one-time shock treatment to minimize irritants, complete disinfection of the air handling unit with application of tea tree oil, hypoallergenic mattress and pillow covers, a medical grade air purifier, vacuuming with units that have "special filters that trap pollen and dust mites," deep cleaning and disinfection of room surfaces to remove allergy triggers, and every surface treated with an application to eliminate bacteria growth.

This all may sound great – and it might be – but we did have a few question marks. Mainly, we wondered about the use of tea tree oil as well as what is being used to disinfect and treat the room surfaces. Of course, minimizing allergens is a plus for allergy and asthma sufferers, but sometimes the "cure" can cause additional problems. For instance, using bleach to deal with mold could trigger respiratory reactions due to noxious fumes.

An article in News4Jax.com, Jax Hotel Offers Allergy-Free Rooms: Hyatt Regency Uses Special Pillowcases, Air Filters, Vacuum Cleaners helps clarify this matter, however, by specifying that the cleaning products used are chemical- and fragrance-free.

But a statement by sales and marketing representative Casper van Eldik Thieme made us wonder about how consistent the effects of these allergy relief efforts are. He describes: "We do this every six months. We go through the whole process and make sure it's clean for the guests. When they are staying here, they know that this room is as fresh and as clean as it was six months ago." Knowing how important it is to maintain a clean environment weekly, even daily, we cringed at the mention of "six months."

The best way to know whether these rooms work is experience. Has anyone stayed in a hypoallergenic or allergy friendly hotel room?


Posted by Jamie on Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Dyson Vacuum CleanersAre you struggling to find a gift for the Dad that seems to have everything? Hate the thought of buying another tie or belt? What about a vacuum cleaner? We have a great Father's Day sale on our Dyson Vacuum Cleaners. Every Dyson upright that we sell is 10% off this week!

With powerful suction and HEPA filtration, Dyson vacuum cleaners are the most popular vacuum cleaners on the market. The upright vacuums especially are acclaimed throughout the world. All Dyson vacuum cleaners are approved for allergy sufferers by the British Allergy Foundation and certified "Asthma Friendly" by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

The Dyson DC25 Multi Floor vacuum is the most versatile in the Dyson line. The Dyson DC25 Animal vacuum cleaner is the ultimate tool for allergic pet owners. For price conscious consumers or those with smaller carpeted areas, the Dyson DC24 has by far been our most popular small and compact vacuum cleaner. The Dyson DC28 Animal is one of the most powerful uprights in the world. If you have wall-to-wall carpeting, this is the perfect vacuum for you.

This offer expires on June 19th so hurry and place your order! If you have any questions or want more details about the sale, please contact us at 1-800-339-7123.


Posted by Shifrah on Friday, February 18, 2011
Hydrating during the dryness of winter helps your beauty routine.The end of winter signals the approach of spring and relief from the many effects of dry air. Indeed, it's at this juncture that many of us are experiencing – and exhibiting – the signs of a season full of dry air, both indoors and out.

In After winter's wrath, fix frizzy hair, dry lips and skin, CNN hightlights some ways in which to augment your beauty routine to counteract the effects of dry air:

• For dry hair, comb vitamin E oil through your locks before going to bed. This is deeply moisturizing and will reduce both flyaways and static. Also, try not to shampoo every day because your scalp produces fewer oils in winter. Instead, wear a shower cap or simply rinse with warm water and use conditioner. Blow dry on medium rather than high to help hair retain moisture. Leave-in conditioners can also help.

Chapped lips are another hallmark of winter when it comes to personal care. Nicole Catanese, the beauty editor of SELF magazine, describes the underlying issue: "There's a barrier layer on your skin. When it's very dry outside, that barrier gets disrupted, the layer gets tears and holes, so any moisture you put on your lips seeps right back out." A fool-proof solution is using Vaseline to keep dry air out and moisture in, giving the natural barrier layer of your lips time to heal.

Dry skin is something we all seem to struggle with in winter. Avoid anti-aging moisturizers during winter because they can be drying. Look instead for products containing vitamin E. Also avoid hot showers, opting for warm water, which isn't as drying on skin. Using a humidifier restores the moisture the heater sucks out of the air, "stopping the problem before it starts."

• To keep hands moisturized, try putting on lotion before donning your gloves. This gives the lotion time to absorb. And olive oil works as well as nail oils to keep nails from becoming overly dry and cracked.

Hydrate from the inside out. Omega 3 fatty acids help with dryness all throughout the body. It can be found in foods like salmon, almonds, sardines, and tuna to help fight inflammation caused by dryness. Vitamins C and E are also important. Vitamin C helps build collagen and is found in red bell peppers, broccoli, and citrus foods. Vitamin E, a nutrient in nuts and sunflower seeds, helps hold water in the top layer of skin. Biotin, also essential for skin health, can be consumed in egg yolks and peanuts. And, of course, drink that water!

For more on staying hydrated during the winter, see:
Easy Solutions for Dry Sinuses and Dry Skin
How We Keep Skin Hydrated During Winter
Five Easy Ways to Combat Cold Weather Dry Skin
Taking Care of Your Skin in Winter

Photo courtesy of Sean Rogers1

Tags: Holidays
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