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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.

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Recent blog posts

2.4.16 Kenmore Elite 81714 Image Product ShotI know I don’t have to tell you the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recommends vacuuming at least once per week. But then there’s the dilemma of what vacuum to use.

Only Certified asthma & allergy friendly™ vacuums are scientifically proven to be more suitable for those with asthma and allergies. And now Kenmore has added one more to their family of Certified vacuums!

So what makes Certified vacuums like the Kenmore Elite 81714 a better option for people with asthma and allergies? This vacuum cleaner is scientifically proven to:

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1.21.16 Get Organized Month Image MedicationJanuary is Get Organized Month, a.k.a. GO Month, according to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). And AAFA knows that organization is especially important for those living with asthma and allergies.

I know I don’t need to remind you just how dangerous severe asthmatic and allergic reactions can be. That’s why I’ve put together some tips and tricks to help you “GO” this month when it comes to your asthma and allergies.

Review your medical history. Request your asthma and allergy records, or set an appointment to review them with your doctor. It’s important to recall your history so future treatment can be adjusted as needed.

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1.7.16 New Years Resolutions Image List of ResolutionsHappy New Year, everyone!

As 2016 rolls in, many of us are thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. We may want to exercise more, eat healthier, or take more “me-time.” But it is important to remember your asthma and allergies play a big role in your quality of life too.

Maybe you’ve had allergies since you were little. Or maybe you are new to living with asthma. Regardless of your situation, take advantage of a new year and make a new life for yourself. A life without limits.

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12.31.15 A Look At 2015 Image New YearAs the New Year rolls in, everyone looks to the future. What will 2016 bring? What are my New Year’s resolutions? How can I make this year better than the last?

But sometimes it is good to look back and reflect as well. In 2015, many products passed our strict tests and are Certified asthma & allergy friendly™. We are thrilled with the variety of products that are made with you in mind. That’s more products and more options for you to create a healthier home this New Year.

Products Certified in 2015

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Posted by on in About Bert's Blog™

12.24.15 Happy Holidays Image Santa Hat BertHappy Holidays from Bert and the asthma & allergy friendly™ Certification Program team.

 

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Posted by on in Asthma and Allergy News

12.7.15 5 Steps to Red Seasonal Allergies Image Couple CleaningIf you find yourself using more tissues and sneezing up a storm during certain times of the year, you're not alone. More than 45 million Americans are living with seasonal allergic rhinitis—a.k.a. nasal allergies. For many, allergies that occur seasonally and are mild, but others have allergies so severe it interferes with their day-to-day lives.

"If you have allergies upon exposure to an allergen, such as tree, grass and weed pollen, your immune system incorrectly believes the pollen is an invader. It then overreacts by producing IgE antibodies which ultimately act in releasing certain chemicals such as histamine, responsible for countless unpleasant symptoms such as watery eyes, itchy throat, sneezing and nasal congestion," says Clifford W. Bassett, MD, AAFA Medical-Scientific Council Subcommittee Chair. "Outdoor allergens include pollen and mold spores while indoor allergens involve pet dander, dust mites, and others. The key is to be proactive and see an allergist for proper testing in order to confirm the triggers for your allergy symptoms. Then, you can put an individualized allergy action plan in place."

Dealing with seasonal allergies is a pain, but you shouldn't let it lower your quality of life. Here are a few helpful steps to gaining control of your symptoms:

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The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America works with Allergy Standards Limited to scientifically test products and services.  These tests make sure products like vacuums, air cleaners, and humidifiers more suitable for families like yours with asthma and allergies.  This video takes a closer look into the labs and facilities where those products are tested against our strict standards!

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11.25.15 Toys  KP Image Product ShotPhysicians often recommend removing stuffed toys from children with asthma and allergies. Stuffed toys are like filled bedding, so they can house dust mites and other allergens. They can even contain dyes that could irritate your child’s sensitivities.

But not allowing children to have stuffed toys doesn’t seem fair, does it? Luckily there are products out there that are more suitable for them. But which ones?

Manufacturers place a lot of claims on their products. But only Certified asthma & allergy friendlytoys are scientifically proven to reduce their exposure to allergens and irritants. The certification process tests stuffed toys against strict standards to ensure they do not have properties that are likely to trigger your child’s symptoms. The stuffed toy must:

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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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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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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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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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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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Tagged in: Allergies Cold Fall Flu Tips
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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