How to Combat Dust Mites in Your Mattress

Dust mites are related to spiders and scorpions and look like them too. Millions of them can live on your mattress at a time, even if you can’t see any of them with the naked eye. Dust mites can be found particularly in mattresses, carpets, and upholstery. Even though they are hard to detect and to kill, there are proactive measures you can take to prevent dust mites, and if you already have a dust mite infestation, there are still actions you can take to limit their impact and get rid of them.

Do not confuse dust mites with bed bugs. The major difference is that dust mites feed on dead human skin cells and pet dander, while bed bugs are parasites, attaching to your body and feeding on your blood. Dust mites are still dangerous too though, besides it being creepy just knowing they are in your mattress while you are sleeping. They can impact you if you have allergies or cause you to develop a new allergy. Dust mites when airborne can trigger asthma attacks, and the dust mite allergy can also trigger allergic rhinitis and eczema. Common symptoms include sneezing; runny or stuffy nose; red, itchy, or teary eyes; wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and tightness in chest; and itching.

So why are mattresses a common breeding ground for dust mites? Since humans shed 1.5 grams of dead skin cells a day and we spend a third of our lives on our mattresses, you can do the math! And by the way, just that 1.5 grams of dead skin cells each day feeds over a million dust mites a day. Yikes. As you can see, our mattresses are a playground for these little pests. Humidity and the perspiration your body causes when sleeping also contributes to the ideal dust mite habitat, warm and damp.

The best thing you can do is clean your mattress with specific techniques and pick the mattress that is best for someone with allergies. Latex mattresses tend to be a good option because they are hypoallergenic and naturally resist microbes. In fact, latex foam is also more breathable than traditional foam, trapping less heat, where a cooler environment curbs the growth and proliferation of dust mites. But whether you own a latex mattress or not, there are ways to maintain your mattress to keep it dust mite free.

Each morning, wait a while to make your bed. Yes, we just gave you permission to avoid this chore (but not for long). This gives your mattress time to air out. Every couple weeks, strip your bed entirely to let it breathe. While your at it, run the vacuum over the surface. When properly maintained, a mattress can last up to 7-10 years. If your mattress is creeping up in age, you may consider choosing a new mattress.  We hate to break it to you, but if you’ve had your mattress for more than 5 years, there are most definitely dust mites, bacteria, and other microorganisms that have crept their way into your mattress layers – no matter how clean you think you are.

Your sleep health is just as important important was your overall health. Make sure your sleeping structure is helping you achieve the best sleep possible, not making you sick.

Written By Guest Blogger: Lisa Smalls

What People With Allergies Should Look For in a Mattress

Allergies are no laughing matter. In fact, they can make your life miserable and lead to all manner of nasty side-effects. Many people are happy to find refuge from allergens in their own home where they can control the environment and everything that enters and leaves. But what happens when it turns out that something in your home is perhaps inherently allergen-prone? Let’s look at what you can do to keep your mattress as allergen-free as possible!

 

Best Builds and Materials

Picking a mattress made with the right materials is very important for allergy sufferers. Dust mites are an incredibly common cause of allergies in your bedroom, so you’ll want to opt for a mattress that doesn’t promote their proliferation. Mattresses with a coil spring core, for example, can create a veritable dust mite haven. Those with a foam core are less prone to these issues. You might also consider opting for a latex mattress as it’s naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic. Organic options might also be good for allergy-sufferers.

 

Understand the Cause of Your Allergies

In addition to the dust mites mentioned above, there are a few things that could be responsible for your allergies. Mold and mildew are notorious for triggering allergies, and they can begin to form without your knowledge. This is most common in areas that see heat and some form of moisture – and, unfortunately, body sweat and saliva fit the bill. That means that you need to take special care of your mattress and your pillows to ensure you aren’t accidentally promoting an unhealthy environment.

 

Tips to Keep Your Bedroom Allergen-Free

You might not be able to complete wipe allergens out of your room, of course, but there are certainly tips to keep them to a bare minimum. Pillow and mattress protectors can help quite a bit. You’ll want to look for barrier bedding that is designed to keep moisture out of your bed and pillows themselves. It’s much easier to wash bedding than an entire mattress, after all. You also need to wash your bedding frequently and at a high temperature at least every week. Keep your rugs, carpets, and curtains clean, too, to help eliminate dust mites or other critters that might be living in them from growing to a problematic number.

 

Finally, airing out your mattress regularly is a good way to help keep it fresh and low on allergens.

 

Written By Guest Blogger: Lisa Smalls

Five Tips to Make Traveling with a Food Allergy Easier

As the holiday season quickly approaches, you might be thinking about making some travel plans. Maybe you’re thinking about traveling to a place that’s familiar, or want to catch some sight-seeing at a place far away.  Either way, it’s not always easy to travel and manage your food allergy, while enjoying local cuisine, but these 5 tips can make it a little easier for you.

  1. Carry a food allergy card in multiple languages

If you’re traveling somewhere where people may not share the same language as you it can be beneficial to carry a card that lists your food allergies in the language or languages spoken at your destination. Make sure that your cards clearly list which foods you can’t eat, rather than just stating what you’re allergic to.

  1. Order with extreme caution

According to Dr. Alyson Pidich, the medical director of the Ash Center, in New York City, and a food allergy specialist, you shouldn’t assume that what you’re eating is safe. Just because your trigger food isn’t listed on an ingredient list, doesn’t mean you should just assume that its fine. Certain foods and drinks, in particular, including sauces, salad dressings, soups and cocktails hide common allergens such as wheat, nuts, dairy and shellfish. It’s always better to be extra cautious.

  1. Bring your own food stash

It’s a smart idea to pack plenty of snacks and a few meal replacement options on your trip, if you can. There’s nothing worse than going hungry on your trip because you can’t find enough safe food to eat. Good options to pack are nonperishable foods like protein shakes, jerky, dried fruits, or nuts (if you aren’t allergic to nuts).

  1. Consider booking a hotel room or a Airbnb with a kitchen

Having access to a kitchen means you can prepare some meals for yourself. This also cuts down on the stress of not being able to find allergy-safe food to eat.

  1. Don’t forget your allergy medicine

Even if your food allergy isn’t severe, you shouldn’t leave home without your allergy medicine. Don’t assume you can buy what you need locally, depending on where you go. It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. You should also make sure to familiarize yourself with your destination’s rules and regulations about prescription (and nonprescription) medication, so you’ll make it through customs with your medicine.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/28/travel/five-tips-to-make-traveling-with-a-food-allergy-easier.html

Why Cleaning Your Home Is a Health Habit

We all know the things we need to do to stay healthy, right? You eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and practice good hygiene. But have you ever considered how your home might be affecting your health? Cleaning the house is often seen as a thankless chore, but it is actually just as much a part of a good well-being routine than going for a jog or brushing your teeth. Turns out there are quite a few health hazards lurking in your home, and a good cleaning routine is the only way to eliminate them.

 

Allergens and Pollutants

Enemy number one when it comes to allergens is dust. Dust is inevitable; it is a combination of skin particles, pet dander, sand, insect waste, dirt, food crumbs, and a variety of other products of everyday life. Most people get rid of dust as a matter of cleanliness, but it can also be dangerous.

And it’s not the only one. You may think pollution is just an outside problem, but your home’s air is also filled with pollutants. Even if there are no smokers in the house, air pollution can come from cooking food, candles, incense, and even the act of cleaning itself. All these micro-particles in the air can damage and irritate your respiratory systems and can be particularly damaging to children.

So how do you get rid of allergens and pollutants? Dust and dirt should be vacuumed and removed effectively, not just spread around, so make sure you have the right tools for dusting. Ventilation is key, so remember to open windows to air out rooms regularly, and make sure your kitchen fan is working effectively. You can also invest in an air purifier to clean the air you breathe every day.

 

Mold 

Mold is an annoyingly common phenomenon, especially in rooms which see a lot of moisture such as the bathroom and kitchen. It is also, according to the CDC, potentially harmful for your respiratory system. Some people experience allergy symptoms when living with mold, and some can even develop serious complications with their lungs.

Getting rid of mold or other ingrained stains often requires a proper deep clean, which can be time-consuming and exhausting. If you don’t have the time, patience, or ability to put in that much elbow grease into your cleaning, consider hiring a professional. A one-off full interior home cleaning in Appleton, WI, costs between $121 and $253, which can be well worth it for getting the hardest jobs done and leaving only basic ongoing maintenance for you to do.

 

Clutter Anxiety

Finally, there’s your mental health. Everyone has felt that elation when they finish cleaning: surfaces sparkle, the room smells fresh and clean, and everything is exactly where it should be. Turns out, there’s a reason for that wonderful feeling, and it’s not just pride at having actually cleaned.

Dirty, messy homes can trigger feelings of anxiety, according to Psychology Today expert Sherrie Bourg Carter. Clutter, mess, and general chaos in the home overwhelm the senses with unnecessary stimuli and can make you feel unfocused, stressed, guilty, and overwhelmed. When your house is uncluttered, your mind feels uncluttered as well.

The bad news is that you have to continue cleaning your house often. Unless you want to pay someone else to do it, there’s no way to avoid it. The good news is that you are not just doing it to make your house look good. Cleaning is an act of self-care and a health habit, one which will make you healthier and happier in both body and mind.

 

Written By Guest Blogger: Julia Merrill

Julia Merrill is on a mission. She wants to use information to close the gap between medical providers and their patients. She started BefriendYourDoc.org to do just that. The site offers an abundance of information from tips on finding the right medical care to help with dealing with insurance companies to general health and wellness advice and more.

 

Some Patients are Receiving AUVI-Q for $0 Out-of-Pocket

I ran across a discussion in one of my allergy Facebook groups the other day in which members were discussing the AUVI-Q  epinephrine auto-injector.  (Most of us are more familiar with the brand Epi-Pen.)  The AUVI-Q is an alternate brand of epinephrine auto-injector used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, in people who are at risk for or have a history of serious allergic reactions.

This brand boasts features such as a retractable needle, voice instructions, and a two-second countdown.  The most exciting part of the conversation is that people were talking about getting the auto-injector for $0 out-of-pocket. So- I thought I’d pass along the information here.  Please conduct your own research and talk to your prescriber for more information about which auto-injector is best for you.

Recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recommends at least 3 years allergy immunotherapy

Allergy Drops-safe and effective

A February, 2017 allergy immunotherapy research study published in JAMA recommends that patients continue their subcutaneous (allergy shots) or sublingual (allergy drops) allergy treatment for at least 3 years for long term effectiveness.

Sources: Shortened dose of immunotherapy ineffective in allergic rhinitis,  All-American Allergy Alternatives, LLC

Its Here! The 2017 Valentines Day Edition of the Safe Snack Guide!

Snacksafely.com announced the publication of this year’s Valentine’s Edition of the Safe Snack Guide, an extensive catalog of allergy-friendly foods used by thousands of schools and tens of thousands of parents nationwide to help keep allergens out of the classroom and the home.

This edition has an entire section devoted to allergy-friendly sweets for your sweetie! Many are available at your local supermarket or can be ordered online.

Find peanut, tree nut and Top 8 allergen-free, gluten-free, kosher, organic, and non-GMO foods from this fully interactive Guide!

Source: Its Here! The 2017 Valentines Edition of the Safe Snack Guide! – SnackSafely.com

5 Tips to Safely Celebrate the Holidays with Food Allergies

Top Tips for celebrating with family if you have some dietary restrictions.

Gathering with family is an important part of the holidays for most of us.  If you suffer from food allergies or eat a restricted diet due to a health conditions, here are a few tips to consider.
  1. Talk to the host prior to the event –   Ask ahead of time what is on the menu and if the host would like you to bring something.  If possible you might ask them to  prepare the main course in a way that fits your dietary needs.  You should also figure out if there will be enough dishes that you can eat to fill you or if you will need to bring your own food.  By all means, do offer to bring a dish or two that you know you can eat and then share the love with everyone!  I’m always tickled if family raves over my grain-free paleo-style dishes.
  2. Know what it’s swimming in – I’ve found that most of the common food allergens come in the sauces, dressings or marinades.  These culprits frequently contain gluten, dairy, egg, soy, or sugar.   You may ask the host to hold aside a portion of undressed salad or fix your piece of chicken or fish with no marinade or sauce.  I usually ask for olive oil, salt and garlic …It’s delicious every time and I know I’m not getting any hidden gluten or dairy in the sauce.
  3. Send a package ahead of you – if you’re traveling to an area where there is no Whole Foods or natural grocery nearby to accessorize your diet, you can often ship ahead a small box of essentials. You can either pack them yourself or you can use a service, like Amazon or Vitacost and have them ship the necessary items. I frequently do this with non-perishables, like coconut milk, sunflower nut butter, chia seed, and high quality coconut or olive oils.  Plus you can leave any of the gourmet leftover items with your host to enjoy!  Better yet, order enough to get free shipping and include a hostess gift of some special gourmet food item that he/she cannot purchase locally.   Organic dark chocolate or specialty cooking oils are a wonderful gift idea!
  4. Don’t go hungry – When we are hungry our brains may bypass the filter of what we know to be a better choice.  We’ll often we end up eating too much and pick foods that we’d normally avoid.  This is why I vow never take my husband grocery shopping on an empty stomach… you just never know what will make it’s way into your shopping cart! 😉  Eat a small protein snack prior to heading out, like nuts/seeds, guacamole or jerky.   If you know there will not be any safe options, it’s ok to eat your entire meal before you go and just enjoy the company and not the food.
  5. BYOBF  (Bring your own back-up food) – whether traveling by plane or car or just driving across town for a holiday get-together, you can never go wrong by having a few nonperishable snacks or options with you.  You never know when you’ll get stranded in the car or in the airport for longer than expected.  I carry things like packets of sunflower nut butter, coconut butter and shredded coconut, a piece of fruit, dried organic beef or bison jerky, Alter Eco 85% dark chocolate bar, and/or packets or tins of wild salmon or sardines.   I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stranded somewhere longer than anticipated and hungry and so thankful for my little stash!  As the true saying goes, “Fail to plan and plan to fail…”

Wishing you a most delightful and delicious holiday season making many memories with your loved ones!

Sources: 5 Tips to Safely Celebrate the Holidays with Food Allergies , All-American Allergy Alternatives, LLC