Monday, June 23, 2008

Combat Your Allergies with your Portable Air-Conditioner? Who knew?

Reader's Digest recently had an article about the top twenty ways to combat those annoying summer allergies. As I skimmed through, I found most of the concepts I expected: Eat fruit with vitamin C, don't let your pets on your bed, and clean your furniture often.

What I didn't expect to see was number three: Turn on your AC.

Turn on your air conditioner to supplement anti-bacterial activities? If it would've said "air purifier," I wouldn't have given it a second thought, but an air conditioner? As I read on, though, it started to make more sense. Air conditioners have natural dehumidifying properties, meaning they remove moisture from the air, making it less humid. "So what?" I said, but what I didn't realize was that bacteria loves moist areas, and when the air itself is really moist, then your lungs can become the perfect breeding ground for microbes that make your throat itch, your eyes dry and red, and your nose run. Keeping a dry, more sterile environment makes things uncomfortable for bacteria breeding, on top of the fact that all portable air conditioners, wall air conditioners, and central air conditioners have some sort of air filter to block debris and bugs from being sucked in and pumped into your home. The air filter is also key to keeping the allergen levels low. Make sure to check it and clean it often.
Concurrently, you can go the extra mile and get a portable air conditioner with an actual air purifier within it. This saves you having to go out and buy two seperate appliances, and saves you space and energy costs in your home. A few portable air conditioners with this all-in-one feature set are the NewAir ACP1000E and ACP1000H, and the NewAir ACP1300E and 1300H. These four units are great for medium to large size rooms, the "H" models have a built-in heater as well, and they ALL have ionic air purifiers inside, so you can cool off, heat up, and keep your nose dry, your asthma risk low, and sinuses unclogged. They're all pretty reasonably priced, too, especially for how much you get out of one little box. Naturally, they dehumidify the air as well, keeping the moist, bacteria-friendly humidity to a minimum.

So while it might sound strange to think that a machine that sucks in outside air can actually make the air inside your home cleaner and free of allergens, the proof is in the purifier! So turn on those portable AC's this summer and keep your body cool and your lungs healthy.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Can Your Cat’s Allergies Make Yours Worse?

Springtime not only brings warmer weather, but also seasonal allergies as well. Hay fever-like symptoms are common, as are exacerbated allergy and asthma side effects, but it’s interesting to note that humans aren’t the only ones who suffer. Blooming grasses, flowers, and plants can also trigger allergic reactions in dogs and cats, and this will often lead pets to persistently scratching, licking, and biting to get relief.

Unfortunately, when your pets suffer from allergies, your symptoms can also be affected. Particularly in cats, the real culprit behind cat allergies stems from cat saliva, and not fur, as commonly thought. This allergen is called Fel d1, and when a cat licks or bites itself, the saliva is deposited on its fur. This saliva then dries into dust which is released when your cat scratches, moves, or when stroked or brushed by humans. With that in mind, if your cat is itching, it will bite and scratch to get relief, and this will disperse more of the Fel d 1 allergen into the air you breathe – making your allergies even worse.

To counter pet allergies, many people try to regularly brush the animal, vacuum, change coverings, and even use sticky rollers on clothing, but cat hair can still end up floating in the air. Allergy furnace filters and air purifiers can keep you from sneezing, but what about your cat’s allergies?

While the above methods work well at keeping pet allergies to a minimum, one of the best ways to control pet allergies is to address the problem before it begins, and the key to minimizing pet dander is to keep your cat’s skin properly moisturized. In warm, arid climates, cats tend to shed because of dry skin, and installing a humidifier can help alleviate this problems. Switching your cat’s food from dry kibble to canned will also work, as this introduces more moisture into your cat’s skin from within.

Following this advice is sure to keep you and your pet’s allergy symptoms at bay.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How to Deal with Pet Allergies

Millions of American pet owners suffer from pet allergies, but the benefits of owning a pet oftentimes outweigh the drawbacks of experiencing hay fever symptoms, coughing, wheezing, and itchy, watery eyes. Studies have shown that 15 percent of the American population is allergic to dogs or cats, and one third of Americans who are allergic to cats live with at least one cat in their household.

To people who are allergic to animals, all dogs and cats are considered allergenic. Contrary to popular belief, pet allergies are not always caused by an animal’s fur. Rather, the glands in an animal’s skin secrete tiny allergy-triggering proteins that both linger in the fur and float in the air. Allergens can also be present in an animal’s urine or saliva, which may become airborne when dried. Also, more people are allergic to cats due to the cat glycoprotein Fel d 1, a substance excreted a cat’s sebaceous glands and most commonly found in a cat’s saliva and skin. This substances is oftentimes more prevalent because cats constantly lick themselves to stay clean.

In order to live comfortably with your best friend, follow these few simple suggestions:

Create an “allergy-free” zone in a specific area or room in the house where the pet is not permitted to roam.

Use a HEPA air cleaner throughout the rest of the home and avoid dander-catching furnishings such as curtains and carpeted floors.

Bath your pet on a weekly basis to help reduce the allergens in the fur by as much as 84 percent. Cats can even be bathed this often after they slowly become accustomed to regularly baths.

Look into immunotherapy shots which desensitizes one’s immune system to allergies (though they cannot eliminate them completely).

Prevent excessive shedding in your pet by regular brushings, feeding nutritionally-rich food, and by the addition of supplements containing fish oil with Omega-3 fatty acids which help moisturize the coat.

Although suffering from allergies and keeping a pet may not be easy, through the adherence to the above guidelines, you can experience the joy of keeping a pet without exacerbating your allergy symptoms.

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