» Indoor Health Matters

America’s First (Hypoallergenic?) Dog

Posted by Ashley on April 15th, 2009

Yesterday afternoon, President Obama and the First Family welcomed their new furry, four-legged canine “Bo” to the White House. Bo, a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog, is a curly-haired, black-and-white puppy with a lion-cut tail and lots of appeal. Aside from his penchant for being a gentle companion, obedient, agile, and easily trained, Bo is considered to be hypoallergenic – a must for 10-year-old Malia Obama, who is allergic to dogs. But is there really such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog? Many allergists say no.

According to the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, Portuguese water dogs – or “Porties” – are considered hypoallergenic because they are single-coated and shed less hair than other breeds. However, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) says that the amount of hair a dog actually sheds is not the issue for allergy-sufferers. It’s not a dog’s hair that causes allergies. It’s a dog’s dander, or dead skin cells. Continue reading

Hypoallergenic Pets – Myth vs. Fact

Posted by John on November 15th, 2008

As the Obama family looks for a new hypoallergenic dog to take to the White House (the President-Elect’s oldest daughter suffers from asthma), Nurse Kathleen MacNaughton of reminds us all that there’s really no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog.

“It’s a fact – All dogs have dander, even if they don’t shed,” writes MacNaughton. “It doesn’t matter whether the hair is long or short or even if the dog is hairless. But because dander often attaches to hair, dogs that shed less hair may also shed less dander. Dander is not something you can easily see. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. And even though you can’t see it, it can still trigger asthma symptoms and asthma attacks.” Continue reading

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Got Allergies? Photos of Home May Help Your Doctor

Posted by John on November 8th, 2008

I rarely watch television (I prefer online media), but when I do watch TV, one of my favorite shows is House M.D. Dr. House always considers all potential causes of illness, including environmental factors. In fact, in several episodes, the maverick diagnostician sends his interns to break into the homes of sick patients.

While I appreciate Dr. House’s efforts, I wouldn’t want a bunch of 20-somethings dressed in white coats breaking into my home! Thankfully, US News and World Report offers an alternative: take photos of your home to show your doctor. Continue reading

Indoor Air Quality and Asthma

Posted by John on November 2nd, 2008

If you have asthma, you should be familiar with all of your asthma triggers so that you can avoid them. Get tested for allergies if you haven’t already. Most asthmatics are sensitive to at least one common household allergen.

Indoor air quality is a major concern for people with asthma. If you can manage to avoid inhaling the particles that make you sick, then you’ll feel better. Continue reading

Snoring and Allergies

Posted by John on July 28th, 2008

Dennis Ledford, MD, recently explained the connection between snoring and allergies in the Tampa Bay Tribune.

“Nasal congestion, one of the major symptoms of allergic nasal disease, contributes significantly to the obstructed air flow that leads to snoring,” wrote Dr. Ledford. “Snoring, in turn, may disrupt the quality or duration of sleep and is associated with a serious medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnea.”

Allergy BeddingAccording to Dr. Ledford, allergy-related snoring is most often associated with chronic or year-round allergies caused by particles found on the bed or in the bedroom. Pet dander and dust mites are the two main culprits. If you have pets, keep them out of the bedroom at all times. Invest in allergy bedding and an air purifier for your bedroom to keep dust mite allergen at a minimum. Continue reading

Top Environmental Control Products for Allergy Relief

Posted by John on July 23rd, 2008

Allergy medication can be an effective treatment for allergies, but it’s not the only treatment option available. Some people choose to receive allergy shots (immunotherapy); for many, these shots decrease their sensitivity to certain allergens. (I received allergy shots for mold and grass pollen nearly 20 years ago, and the shots worked well, but now I’m allergic to cat dander!)

The most effective treatment for allergies is environmental control. In a nutshell, if you can control the allergens in your environment, then your allergy symptoms will fade away. Environmental control is also cost-effective, and there are no side effects. Continue reading