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Bert's Blog™

Bert's Blog™ features anything and everything to do with what is more suitable for those living with asthma and allergies. The blog also presents information for manufacturers aiming to provide products and services for those patients with asthma and allergic diseases.

Bert takes the science of certification and talks about it with you so that all can better understand what it means to be Certified asthma & allergy friendly™. He will also discuss tips, asthma and allergy news and resources, Q&As, newly certified products and services, and more.

Bert's Blog™ will occasionally feature guest bloggers from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and Allergy Standards Limited (ASL) who will talk about manufacturer tips, new Certification Standards, and industry news.

Tips to Make Your Home Holiday-Ready for Guests With Asthma and Allergies

11.12.15 Holiday Tips  New Products Image Tree DecoratingMore than 60 million Americans have asthma and allergies ... and it’s likely some of them will visit your home this holiday season. When triggers can lurk anywhere and everywhere, it’s important to take steps to ensure your home will be as comfortable as possible when your loved ones arrive.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s Certification Program offers some tips for getting your home holiday-ready and asthma and allergy-friendly:

Cleaning to reduce triggers

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Certified asthma & allergy friendly™ Vacuum Quality, But Without the Cords

11.5.15 Dyson V6 Absolute Cordless  Mattress Tool Image Mattress ToolVacuums and vacuuming are an important piece to an overall concept of a healthy home.  Certified asthma & allergy friendlyvacuums help remove allergens from carpet, keep those allergens inside the vacuum, and as a result, reduce your exposure to allergens and irritants.

To keep overall allergen levels in your carpets low, vacuuming once or twice a week is recommended by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. 

That’s a lot of vacuuming.

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Recent Comments
Iris Hernandez
I like this vacuum.
Thursday, 05 November 2015 17:27
Kathy
After being in the hospital ER last week with asthma. I wish I could afford one of these. I think it would really help. Thanks for... Read More
Thursday, 05 November 2015 19:55
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Cleaning Products That Go Beyond Cleaning

10.22.15 Cleaning Products Image Clean HomeAllergen removal, reduction, and avoidance in the home are now accepted (page 23) as vital parts of an effective asthma and allergy management plan. That means families like yours can help reduce exposure to your triggers by simply working to create a clean and healthy home environment with better indoor air quality (IAQ).

How do I improve my home’s IAQ?

But as I’ve mentioned before, there’s no single product or approach that can improve IAQ on its own. Earlier in the year, we discussed how to reduce allergens and irritants through vacuuming weeklyhiring professional carpet cleaners, and washing bedding weekly with Certified asthma & allergy friendly™ products and services. Today, I’m going to talk about Certified cleaning products.

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You Know Indoor Air Quality Matters, But Does Your Workplace or Child’s School?

10.16.15 Fellowes AeraMax Pro Image Product ShotAsthma and allergy management begins by controlling your indoor environment. And indoor air quality (IAQ) plays a key role in the quality of life for families like yours living with asthma and allergies.

You know to vacuum weekly; wash your bedding in at least 130°F water; change your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) or furnace system filter every 60-90 days; and place air cleaners in frequently-used rooms of your home. But does your workplace or local school know just how important IAQ is?

One in 4 Americans suffer from either asthma or allergies, and the prevalence of these conditions is only increasing. Common indoor triggers include airborne pollutants such as dust mite particles, volatile organic compounds, and mold spores.

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Cough. Sneeze. Wheeze. You Know the Symptoms. But Do You Know the Cause?

10.8.15 Flu vs Allergies Image Man SneezingThe similarities between symptoms of the flu or cold and nasal allergies—a.k.a. allergic rhinitis, indoor or outdoor allergies, seasonal allergies, or hay fever—can cause confusion. It can even cause you to make the wrong diagnosis and treat your symptoms with the wrong medications.

It is important to understand the differences and determine the correct diagnosis because if allergies are left untreated, they can cause more serious conditions like sinusitis or ear infections. There are some key differences between the two, but it is always important to talk to your doctor to get the most accurate diagnosis.

 

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Fall is in the Air So Here Are Some asthma & allergy friendly™ Tips to Prepare

10.1.15 Fall Tips Image LeavesFall can be hard for families like yours that are living with asthma and allergies. As global warming conditions boost ragweed levels each year, fall storms and tornadoes also pick up and disperse ragweed and other allergens.

The most common outdoor allergen in the fall is ragweed, which pollinates from mid-August to early October through most of the United States. It can trigger asthma and allergy symptoms in millions of adults and kids causing itchy and runny nose, nasal congestion, repeated sneezing, watery eyes, inflamed sinuses and, in severe cases, difficulty breathing.

But, it’s not just an outdoor problem—weed pollen also makes its way indoors and it is important to take steps in order to avoid pollen from getting into your homes. And don’t forget, removing it when it does get in.

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New HVAC/Furnace Filter Joins the Certification Program

9.24.15 Flanders Swiffer Filter Image Product ShotEver wonder why after you clean, clean, and clean some more, there’s still dust coating that nightstand a few days later? There are several possibilities as to why dust accumulation could creep up on you so quickly. But one of them could be your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

Airborne allergens like pollen, dust, and dander can be repeatedly circulated through your home by your HVAC system. More specifically, it could be the filter you’re using that is not capturing those particles.  The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) does not recommend that asthma and allergy sufferers buy low efficiency, inexpensive air filters. They can do a poor job of trapping ultra-fine particles, the biggest culprits of triggering allergic and asthmatic reactions.

There are Certified asthma & allergy friendlyHVAC/furnace filters that are scientifically proven to considerably reduce your exposure to allergens and irritants. AAFA is proud to announce that the Swiffer™ Extreme Dust Collector Indoor Air Filter is now a part of the Certified HVAC/furnace filter family.

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Certified Products Feature: Protect-A-Bed’s AllerZip® Smooth Mattress Encasement and Pillow Protector

9.16.15 Protect-A-Bed Image Product ImageDid you know that you spend one-third of your time in the bedroom? So creating a healthy environment, and reducing your exposure to allergens and irritants in that space, are vital to a multi-faceted asthma or allergy management plan.

In fact, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) identified that bedding has a key role to play in the reduction of exposure to allergen:

‘High levels of mites can be found in dust from mattresses, pillows, carpets, upholstered furniture, bed covers, clothes, and soft toys. The patient’s bed is the most important source of dust mites to control.’

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Certified Product Feature: Tarkett’s FiberFloor Flooring

9.10.15 Tarkett Flooring Image Product ImageAs I’ve mentioned before, hard-surface flooring is best suited for those with asthma and allergies because wall-to-wall carpeting is a common home for dust mites that can trigger an allergic reaction in many people. Carpet is also difficult to keep dry and moisture is a breeding ground for mold.

But not any old hard-surface flooring will do. Certain kinds of wood, tile, slate, or synthetic surfaces are better than others, so it is important to make sure chemicals that can irritate the skin and airways—such as urea, phenyls, and formaldehyde—are not present in large quantities. This type of flooring should be moisture resistant, which helps keep mold and mildew from growing in your home. It should also be easily cleanable with a recommended cleaning method that not only doesn’t introduce new toxins or irritants, but actually reduces allergens and irritants in your home.

Tarkett’s residential and commercial FiberFloor are a more suitable option for people with asthma and allergies because it is scientifically proven to considerably reduce your exposure to allergens. This hard surface flooring has been scientifically proven to:

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There’s a NEW Certified Product in Town and it’s the First of its Kind: The Dyson Humidifier

Dyson humidifierIf there’s one thing I stress over and over again, it’s that not all household products are equal. Humidifiers are no different. They can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can be circulated around the room and into the air you breathe.

Winter is on its way, and so is dryer air. No one wants those chapped lips, dry skin, or dry noses. So how do you find a humidifier that’s not going to trigger your asthma or allergies, yet still keep a room comfortable?

It’s not easy to navigate manufacturer claims such as “hypoallergenic” or “physician recommended,” especially when those claims are unsupported by scientific testing. That’s why the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) started the asthma & allergy friendlyCertification Program with an independent, physician-led scientific certification organization called Allergy Standards Limited (ASL).

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Coming Clean on Washers and Dryers: What Does it Take to Pass Certification Testing

8.27.15 Washing Machines Image LG Blue MachineAllergen removal, reduction, and avoidance in the home are now accepted as a vital part of an effective asthma and allergy management plan. That means families living with asthma and allergies can help reduce exposure to their triggers by simply working to create a clean and healthy home environment with better indoor air quality (IAQ).

But there’s no single product or approach that can improve IAQ on its own. Earlier in the summer, I wrote a few blog posts about how to reduce allergens and irritants in carpet through frequent vacuuming and professional carpet cleanings with Certified asthma & allergy friendly™ products and services. Today I’m going to talk about washing machines and tumble dryers! Each one can play a unique role in creating a healthy home.

Washing machines and tumble dryers that are Certified asthma & allergy friendly™ are proven through lab testing to considerably reduce allergens that can accumulate on washable items, such as sheets, pillows, comforters, clothing, washable rugs, small plush toys, etc.  Some washing machines can be an important tool in an overall plan of asthma and allergy management. But not all laundry machines are equal.

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Need to Know Back to School Tips for Asthma and Allergy Parents

8.20.15 Back to School  State Honor Roll Image 1st Day of School EditedThe back to school season is stressful for any parent. You have to buy new clothes, new supplies, and new lunch boxes. Not to mention you have to figure out afterschool care. Oh, and if your child has asthma or allergies, you need to make sure they’ll be safe at school when you’re not around. So let’s just add scary to the stress for parents of children with asthma or allergies.

You’re very aware of your child’s triggers so you can actively work to reduce their exposure in your home through simple cleaning routines or long-term renovations. But do their principles, teachers, or school nurses know what triggers your child’s asthma or allergies? Do they know what to do if your child has an asthma attack or allergic reaction?

Triggers can be anywhere and everywhere at a school. Rugs or carpeting can collect dirt and dust mites. Classroom pets are cute but problematic. Rigorous sports may exert your son or daughter and there are bees on the playground with freshly mowed grass. For children with food allergies, the cafeteria presents a problem and so do the treats sent by other parents.

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The asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program’s Impact: Part 5

This is a five-part blog series about the asthma & allergy friendlyCertification Program’s impact.

8.13.15 Berts Impact Part 5 Image Berts ImpactPart 5 is finally here.  I’m finally going to talk about how prevalence, "Health Mavens", tactics, and awareness all fit together like puzzle pieces to construct the asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program story.

Here’s the story.

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Certified Products Feature: Benjamin Moore® Natura® Premium Interior Paint

8.6.15 Benjamin Moore Natura Paint Image Product ImageIf you’ve ever been in a freshly-painted room, you probably know that the strong fumes and odors can irritate your eyes, skin, and airways. This is largely due to potentially harmful chemicals—a.k.a. volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—commonly found in many paints used in the home. VOCs are emitted into the air as the paint dries, allowing the toxic fumes to potentially trigger your asthma and allergy symptoms.

Total VOC levels can increase even after the paint dries, and this can be especially problematic for people with asthma or allergic diseases. This means that their symptoms may not only be triggered immediately following paint application, but also over time.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is proud to announce that Benjamin Moore® is introducing a solution for families living with these chronic diseases that are looking to redecorate their homes and walls! Benjamin Moore’s Natura® Premium Interior Paint is now Certified asthma & allergy friendly™ because it is scientifically proven to considerably reduce your exposure to irritants that may trigger your asthma or allergies.

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The asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program’s Impact: Part 4

This is a five-part blog series about the asthma & allergy friendlyCertification Program’s impact.

7.30.15 Berts Impact Part 4 Image Mark AwarenessThe third post of this five-part series about the asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program’s impact talked about what “Health Mavens” do to improve their home’s indoor air quality.  In this post, I want to share what “Health Mavens” think when they see the Certification Mark.

From the last post, we know that not all household products are equal.  Only products with the distinctive asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Mark are scientifically proven to be more suitable for those with asthma and allergies.  And recognition of the Mark is rapidly growing.

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Certified Service Feature: Stanley Steemer’s Carpet Cleaning Service

7.23.15 Stanley Steemer Carpet Cleaning Image VanEarlier in the month we talked about one way to reduce asthma and allergy triggers in your carpet.  But the National Institutes of Health advises us to use more than one approach for effective allergen avoidance and control.  (It can never be simple, can it?)  So in addition to vacuuming once or twice a week, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recommends having a Certified professional carpet cleaning three to four times a year.

Allergen avoidance and control can seem difficult, but the Certification Program does its best to make it as simple as possible for you through testing and certifying products and services.  Only Certified asthma & allergy friendly™ products and services—like Stanley Steemer’s Carpet Cleaning Service—are scientifically proven to be more suitable for those with asthma and allergies.  So when you see the Certification Mark alongside the Stanley Steemer name, you know their carpet cleaning service passed rigorous testing.

In fact, Stanley Steemer’s Carpet Cleaning Service is Certified because it is scientifically proven to considerably reduce your exposure to allergens.  But there’s still more to it.  A professional carpet steam cleaning service must meet strict standards during testing when:

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Recent Comments
Carpet Cleaning Perth
Yes things has to be considered while carpet cleaning and you have come up with good info about allergens in this post. hope your ... Read More
Friday, 16 October 2015 08:07
Cleaning Services Parramatta
Greetings! Got to find your post more interesting and good information about allergens and things has to be considered while clean... Read More
Tuesday, 23 February 2016 12:06
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The asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program’s Impact: Part 3

This is a five-part blog series about the asthma & allergy friendlyCertification Program’s impact.

7.16.15 Berts Impact Part 3 Image Health Maven TacticsThe second post of this five-part series about the asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program’s impact talked about who a “Health Maven” is and how they’re concerned about indoor air quality.  In this post, I want to talk with you about what a “Health Maven” does to improve their home’s indoor air quality.

From the last post, we know that 80% of “Health Mavens” put at least a moderate effort into improving their homes’ indoor air quality.  But what is it they do to help reduce triggers for their loved ones with asthma and allergies?

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Certified Products Feature: Samsung VU3000 Lift & Clean

7.9.15 Samsung VU3000 Image Product ShotYou’ve probably heard many times before that hard-surface flooring is best suited for reducing asthma and allergy triggers in your home.  But what if you can’t rip up the carpet because you live in an apartment or because it’s too expensive to do so?  There has to be another way to reduce triggers, right?

Well, there is another way, and that’s to vacuum your carpets once or twice a week.  But it’s important to remember that not all vacuum cleaners are equal.  Only Certified asthma & allergy friendlyvacuums—like the Samsung VU3000 Lift & Clean—are scientifically proven to be more suitable for those with asthma and allergies.

So what makes theTop of FormBottom of FormSo so Samsung VU3000 Lift & Clean a better option for people with asthma and allergies? This vacuum cleaner is scientifically proven to:

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Holly Haven
I would love to win this vacuum for my home! Thanks!
Thursday, 09 July 2015 18:24
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5 home-renovation tips that will reduce asthma and allergy triggers in your home

7.6.15 Matte Release Home Reno Tips ImageThis is the peak season for do-it-yourself projects, and maybe you already have your tape measure in hand, ready to tackle a bathroom remodel, open up the floor plan or finally reimagine that unfinished basement. There are plenty of considerations to take into account with any project, including space, budget and your desired results. But you also need to think about the people who will be enjoying this space with you, especially if any of them suffer from allergies or asthma.

Whether you undertake the project yourself or you hire a professional, each project has the potential to make life easier for the allergy and asthma sufferers living in your home. To help you create the best environment for them, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) offers these helpful tips from its asthma & allergy friendly Certification Program:

Shut the door on bad cabinets. If you’re looking to add or replace your cabinets, you may be considering common options like pressed wood, particleboard or composite boards. These materials, however, often release high levels of volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde. To make your new cabinets more suitable for the asthma and allergy suffers in your home, talk to manufacturers about low-VOC options instead.

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Recent Comments
CAROLINE
As a family who suffered through a home renovation it is,safe to say this information is much needed. I never experienced asthma... Read More
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 00:55
Bert
Hi Caroline - so sorry to hear about that! Severe symptoms can be extremely scary. You can find more detailed information and tip... Read More
Wednesday, 08 July 2015 16:08
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The asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program’s Impact: Part 2

This is a five-part blog series about the asthma & allergy friendlyCertification Program’s impact.


7.2.15 Berts Impact Part 2 Image Health Mavens for ConsumersThe first post of this five-part series about the asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program’s impact talked about why the program was created.  In this post, I want to talk about a special group of people that you just might be a part of.

From the last post, we know that asthma and allergies affect 1 out of 5—or 60 million–Americans.  That includes children and adults.  But did you know these diseases are the 3rd most common chronic disease among children under 18?  These children need help from their moms, dads, caregivers, teachers, and doctors to manage their asthma and allergies.

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