Posted by Ivey on October 18th, 2013
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was proud to announce that the city’s air quality recently reached its highest level in nearly half a century. In addition to the dramatic impact of smoking bans, public health officials credit buildings using lower-pollution heating oils or opting for cleaner-burning natural gas with the annual prevention of 800 deaths and 2,000 emergency room visits and hospitalizations.
If a city with approximately 8 million diverse residents known for their headstrong personalities can make this change, I began to wonder what, if any, changes were taking place in other cities. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that in Atlanta (where I live) many programs and policies—most of which I have been taking for granted—are in place to improve our city’s air quality.
One of best-known programs is the Clean Air Campaign. With some of the infamous traffic in the nation, the Clean Air Campaign’s mission is to improve air quality by focusing primarily on reducing traffic congestion, which is a vital part of Atlanta’s journey towards healthier air. Clean Air Campaign promotes telecommuting, ride-sharing, public transportation, and has even partnered with schools to find unique ways to improve air quality so that students can enjoy the air on their campuses.
Posted by Ivey on October 11th, 2013
Cool, pleasant autumn weather prompted my husband to suggest we get our yard and garden ready for fall. Later on, he complained of itchy eyes and a stuffy nose. “It feels like my allergies are acting up,” he said. “Do fall allergies exist?”
The short answer: Absolutely. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, of the people allergic to pollen-producing plants, about 75% have sensitivity to ragweed—one of the primary fall allergy culprits. In fact, the AAFA estimates that 10-20% of Americans suffer from itchy eyes, irritated skin, runny noses, and even interrupted sleep as result of ragweed pollen.
In addition to wind-borne pollen, mold also presents a significant source of aggravation for fall allergy-sufferers. The combination of rain and fallen leaves creates a breeding ground for mold.
Despite these seemingly grim odds, it’s still possible to enjoy fall weather in your garden! Check out these tips.
- Consult your allergist. From the first itch or sneeze, talk to your doctor and devise a plan for keeping your fall allergies under control. If this fall marks your first experience with pollen and mold irritations, a visit with the allergist is essential for finding your allergy triggers.
- Dress appropriately. Wear long sleeves and pants to keep pollen and mold spores away from your skin. Gardening gloves not only help you avoid unsightly cuts and blisters but offer a great line of defense against allergens. Sunglasses and a hat are also ideal for keeping airborne irritants away from eyes and hair, respectively. Continue reading
Posted by Tony on October 3rd, 2013
In school, I was the only kid who dreaded having class outside on a nice day. I don’t hate nature, but this usually meant sitting in the grass for at least an hour…and unfortunately, I’m allergic to both pollen and grass. It isn’t that I can’t go in my yard (although it’s a good excuse to get out of yardwork), but if I sit in the grass for long periods of time my eyes itch, get red, and have even swollen shut. It’s very glamorous.
Who knew reading Men’s Health magazine could have potentially saved me a lot of trouble? They recently published an article offering one of the coolest ways to fight allergy symptoms: wearing sunglasses. That’s right, rocking sunglasses (the larger the better!) can help ward off allergy symptoms.
As strange as it may sound, wearing shades physically blocks out pollen, UV rays (which can stimulate symptoms), and other allergens. And it turns out this is pretty well known.
Participants in the study mentioned in Men’s Health wore large, wrap-around sunglasses, but doctors and other experts seem to agree that any type of sunglasses may help—if only slightly.
Sunglasses help by decreasing the amount of air that circulates over your eyes—which helps keep allergens from directly touching them. Since light exposure can increase allergy symptoms in your eyes, standard UV-blocking shades may even help control symptoms. Your eyes and nose are directly connected, so blocking your eyes will help keep your nose clear as well.
It makes sense if you think about it: The less allergens that touch your eyes, the better. So wear those big aviators all the time—they’re more than just a fashion statement. And if you’re an allergy-sufferer like me, you’ll take any bit of help you can get.
Have you noticed sunglasses providing any other useful purpose? Know another strange way to help fight off allergy symptoms? Tell us in the comments below or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Posted by Ivey on September 24th, 2013
While a lot of attention is given to solutions and proactive steps for dealing with allergies, asthma, and other problems related to environmental issues, we often neglect the social aspects of living with these health issues. For children with allergies, asthma, or similar symptoms, these daily struggles can be even more frustrating. On top of avoiding environmental triggers and keeping an epi pen or inhaler handy, many young allergy- and asthma-sufferers are also tasked with explaining these flare-ups to friends, teachers, and even other parents.
Luckily, there are resources to help you talk to your children about allergies and asthma in fun, creative ways, as well as how to be considerate of those dealing with these issues. For example, Taking Asthma to School by Kim Gosselin is actually written for children without asthma to help them understand asthmatic students and what happens when they get occasional shortness of breath. This illustrated book also contains “Ten Tips for Teachers” and a fun quiz.
Posted by Ivey on September 4th, 2013
If there’s one word synonymous with my beloved hometown of Atlanta, it’s “traffic.” More than just an interstate and highway hassle, harmful pollutants emitted by vehicles in congested areas also impact school campuses—like when parents wait for their children with vehicles idling. Recognizing the rewards of early education about the importance of clean air, as well as the opportunity to directly build healthier school environments, The Clean Air Campaign launched The Clean Air Schools program.
The Clean Air Schools program aims to reduce air pollution and improve air quality by educating children about sustainability, air quality, and transportation. After working with Georgia schools for almost a decade, the program, which is part of the larger non-profit The Clean Air Campaign, is taking its efforts a step further with a star-rating system to recognize schools going above and beyond to make a difference in air quality.
Posted by Ivey on August 12th, 2013
It’s time to head back to school. While this is an exciting time for returning students to catch up with old friends, meet new ones, and embark on new experiences, students with asthma and fall allergies often struggle to keep symptoms under control. Here are a few tips for student’s of all ages to stay healthy:
Visit your child’s allergist: Before returning to school, make an appointment with your child’s doctor to for a health check-up. This is a great opportunity to discuss any new issues, as well as to develop a plan to keep your child healthy throughout the year.
Meet with teachers and school health professionals: Teachers are often a first line of defense for helping control allergy and asthma symptoms away from home. Discussing your child’s symptoms will help teachers respond quickly and appropriately in critical situations. Teachers and school health professionals should also have copies or access to information about your child’s wellness plan, including medications like inhalers and epinephrine kits.
Posted by Ivey on July 9th, 2013
Parents have a lot to worry about these days, and a recent study shows you may need to start thinking about the air your baby breathes even before you give birth. The study, conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), reveals that in-utero exposure to air pollution may contribute to higher risks for autism.
For some time, we’ve been keenly aware of the link between air pollution and asthma, heart disease, chronic respiratory illnesses, allergies, and more. The HSPH findings, along with previous studies, indicate that autism may need to be added to this list.
Posted by Tony on June 24th, 2013
Mini-split air conditioners have become a common way to cool homes, offices, and basements. Their efficient zone cooling and ductless design, along with quiet operation, make them a great choice for many people. One thing holding some people back from jumping on the bandwagon is installing these units—professional installation is required for most models. But that’s changing thanks to Friedrich’s revolutionary, “do-it-yourself” Breeze mini-split models.
Being able to install a Breeze mini-split system through a window is one of its biggest advantages. This non-permanent installation is easy and changing the game when it comes to who uses mini-splits. Another bonus: installing it through a window won’t block your view like a window AC, since the indoor unit hangs on your wall and the refrigerant lines connect through a small window kit. Continue reading
Posted by Tony on June 19th, 2013
Miele vacuums took home the JD Power and Associates top prize for “Highest Customer Satisfaction” for both upright and canister vacuum categories. In the annual survey, consumers ranked Miele vacuums highest in performance, styling and features. It’s the second win in a row for Miele’s upright vacuums as they continue to impress everyone who uses one.
HEPA filtration, a sealed bagged system, and powerful suction makes for years of healthy living. Its HEPA filtration is big part of why customers, particularly allergy-sufferers, appreciate Miele vacuums. Their HEPA filters capture up to 99.99% of airborne particles down to .3 microns and are part of Miele’s sealed 12-step air filtration system.
Posted by Ivey on June 3rd, 2013
This summer may be shaping up to be a hot one—above average temperatures are predicted across much of the Western and Southern United States—but that doesn’t mean you have to give up patio parties and pool fun in favor of staying cool this summer. Swamp coolers, also known as evaporative coolers, are a great option for keeping your outdoor areas comfortable even when temperatures soar.
Swamp coolers are a budget-friendly option for dispersing a perfectly chilled breeze among everyone on your patio—even the “grill-master.” So, how does it work? Well, do you know how you get a chill after stepping out of the pool on a hot day? That cool is the result of evaporative cooling. Portable swamp coolers, like the Port-A-Cool Cyclone 3000, put this natural process to work to cool indoor and outdoor areas. These devices use fans to draw warm, stale air into the machine where it comes into contact with a water-moistened pad and is cooled up to 20 degrees. The refreshing air is then distributed throughout your space to make it feel 4 to 6 degrees cooler than the actual temperature. Continue reading
Posted by Tony on May 24th, 2013
You’re preparing for another hot summer—and so are we! To be sure you’re ready for the summer heat, we’re offering 10% off ALL orders over $150 from May 25-May 27, 2013. This site-wide Memorial Day sale includes all products (except Miele products). Simply use the promo code MEM10.
Whether you’re looking for an air conditioner, dehumidifier, fan, or air purifier—or maybe a few of them—now is the time to buy! Here are a few products on sale this Memorial Day Weekend: Continue reading
Posted by Ivey on May 14th, 2013
With the average American working at least eight hours a day, your office may seem like a second home. That’s why for those of us with allergies and asthma, it’s just as important to keep our offices clean and allergen-free as it is our own homes. In honor of May being Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month, here are some tips to help employees and employers maintain a comfortable working environment for everyone, ensuring the best productivity possible.
- Clear the clutter: While stacks of paper may seem like the mark of a busy employee, they’re also a great way to collect dust and other particle irritants on your desk. Take some time each week to tidy up your desk area by removing or recycling unnecessary paperwork. Also, view and save documents on your computer and/or company’s shared space to reduce waste.
- Wash your dishes: Busy days are just a part of work life. Regardless of the length of your to-do list, remove dishes and food containers from your desk and wash them as soon as possible. Dirty dishes (especially your coffee cup!) and used food wrappers can be a breeding ground for mold and other allergens.
- Encourage a fragrance-free work environment: Fragrances from perfumes, hand lotions, cleaning products, and more can cause reactions like headaches, nausea, or even asthma attacks.
Posted by Ivey on April 25th, 2013
Spring is finally here, and I’m ready to enjoy the nice weather with a run or bike ride outside. There’s only one problem—or maybe millions of tiny ones—pollen! If you have pollen allergies like I do, I’m sure you know how quickly a workout can be ruined by allergy symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, or even shortness of breath.
You can do more than enjoy the view from inside the gym though, so lace up your running shoes and get outside! These tips can help you keep pollen allergy symptoms at bay while exercising outdoors:
- Know your triggers. Most runners and cyclists take regular routes. If you notice your symptoms flaring up at certain points on your route, there may be a large concentration of trees or other plants producing pollens that aggravate your allergies. Take notice of the plants and trees around you, and discuss them with your doctor. An allergy test can also be helpful at determining precise triggers. You may even consider altering your route. Continue reading
Posted by Ivey on April 16th, 2013
With the spring travel season in full swing, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has released its annual “2013 Spring Allergy Capitals” list. For the past 10 years, the AAFA has ranked the worst 100 continental U.S. cities for people with allergies. This year, Jackson, MS, takes top honors on the list. However, several popular vacation destinations made their way into the top 25, including Louisville, New Orleans, Virginia Beach, Chattanooga, Memphis, Oklahoma City, and Knoxville. Furthermore, a Discovery Fit & Health article points out that the Eastern, Southern, and Midwestern states are generally worse in the springtime for those with allergy sensitivities.
While these areas may be the worst offenders, no vacation destination can truly be allergy-free. Why? Well, just like many of us, pollen is pretty good at traveling. These tiny airborne particles can travel by wind, as well as by settling on the bodies of insects and other animals. Pollen can even be an unwelcome travel companion by settling on your clothes, in your hair, and even on your skin. Plus, regardless of your travel plans, there’s always the possibility of encountering mold and other allergens.
Fortunately, these simple tips can help you reduce pollen exposure and allergy symptoms so you can enjoy your vacation from beginning to end:
- Plan to vacation at a beach or on a cruise, if possible. These getaways tend to be easier on allergy sufferers.
- Monitor the pollen counts of your intended destination before and during your vacation. Continue reading
Posted by Tony on March 12th, 2013
A cleaning revolution may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s exactly what Miele has created. Their new S8 line of canister vacuums are packed with extras and leading the charge in changing how we clean our homes.
I was lucky enough to chat with a Miele rep about these “next generation” vacuums. I really only had 2 questions: What makes one S8 model different from the others? And who should buy each one? I’ll share what I learned, but let’s run through the premium features they all share first. These vacuums filter air better than most canister vacuums, and they’re the lightest and quietest vacuums Miele has ever created. All Miele S8 vacuums include:
- Parquet Twister Floor Tool: All S8 models come with this floor tool, which is air-driven and perfect for smooth floors.
- AirClean Sealed System: It’s one thing to vacuum up dust, allergens, and other particles, but this sealed system ensures it stays in the vacuum’s bag and out of your indoor environment.
- One-Touch Controls: No wrapping a cord, holding down a button, or even bending over. Simply touch a button with your foot to rewind the cord automatically or turn the vacuum on and off.
- 6 Suction Settings: Different surfaces have various heights and textures; these settings let you control how much suction you use. For example, you’d use much more suction on high-pile carpet than when cleaning upholstery.
- Onboard Accessories: Easy to find and store, use these for cleaning furniture, upholstery, and various other areas of your home. Continue reading