Is Frequent Vacuuming Helpful For Allergies?

Well that depends. The basic fact is that in many instances vacuuming often releases just as much dust into the air as it picks up out of the carpeting.

A study conducted in 2011 compared 21 vacuum cleaners from 11 manufacturers marketed for household and commercial use, ranged in age from six months to 22 years and cost from less than $100 to almost $800. They looked at the effects that age, brand and other factors had on the amount of small particles and bacteria released into air.

None were perfect, all of the vacuums released some fine dust and bacteria into the air. Not surprising to us, vacuums with so-called High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters in some cases released only slightly lower levels of dust and bacteria. Newer and more expensive vacuum cleaners were generally less polluting than older or less expensive models.

The good news is that vacuums are improving and today’s vacuums are even better than they were in 2011, so if you have been dragging around a vacuum that is more than for or five years old, consider replacing it with a new one.

So, is frequent vacuuming better for allergies? We don’t necessarily think so. If you have a good vacuum cleaner, take your shoes off and don’t have lots of pets then  vacuuming every few days is ok.  If the carpet or floor is dirty by all means vacuum.

One of the things we tell all of our clients that seems to help is to do their vacuuming early in the day. It gives the dust time to settle before they settle in for the night or put the baby down for a nap.

BTW our Miele vacuum cleaner at home is 10 years old and we have no intentions of replacing it.

Vacuum Cleaner Emissions as a Source of Indoor Exposure to Airborne Particles and Bacteria
Environmental Science & Technology

Wishing you the best of health

Extreme Allergy Control – Taking it Beyond the Limit

Talk about extreme allergy control! I was shocked to read today about a lady in Toronto that has asked her community to cut down the oak trees next to the school because her two children have nut allergies.
That’s right, nut allergies.  You can read the entire article here Mother Wants Trees Cut Down.
At first I thought there must be a mistake.  Why would you cut down oak trees because of nut allergies?  Unless your children think they are squirrels, they aren’t going to be eating the acorns.  Did she mistakenly believe that the acorns could be inhaled and make her children sick?  What kind of uninformed extreme allergy control measure could this be?
No, turns out not only does she know better, she is the head of the school’s Allergy Committee.  She is afraid that the acorns could be used to “bully and torment children”.  Bully and torment with acorns?  If this is her greatest fear, then she needs a serious reality check.
I’m a Mom.  I understand protecting your children.  Honestly, I tried to protect my kids even if I did let them drink out of the water hose and make mud pies.  I tried to protect them from real and present dangers.  Look both ways before you cross the street.  Swim in pairs.  Wear your helmet when you ride your bike.  Don’t take candy from strangers.  Don’t take candy from people you know unless it is chocolate and you are going to share with Mom.
My kids had allergies and I tried to control their exposure as much as possible.  Some people might think I used extreme allergy control measures because I had no carpeting in my home and ran air cleaners in each bedroom. But that doesn’t mean that I asked people to remove the carpeting from their house lest someone bully my child by rubbing their face in the carpet.
Let’s just be reasonable, shall we?
Til Next Time!

Avoid Ticks – Here’s Another Reason

We know ticks carry disease.  If you live in the Southeastern United States, you know to avoid ticks.  You are particularly aware of the risks of Lyme disease as well as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  (As an aside, why do they call it “Rocky Mountain” when you are more apt to find it in the Appalachian or other eastern mountains and not the Rockies? But I digress).

Well, researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia (Susan Wolver, MD, Diane Sun, MD, and others) have discovered another reason to avoid ticks. Their research indicates that the bite of a Lone Star tick (named for the spot on its middle, not its location in the Lone Star state) can cause subsequent anaphylaxis when eating red meat.

What is even more interesting is that the IgE antibodies are as a result of the carbohydrate alpha-gal.  This is the first time a carbohydrate as been identified as an allergy trigger.  All other triggers are proteins.  Further complicating matters, these people have a negative skin prick test to meat. This makes making a diagnosis even more difficult.  As if diagnosis weren’t tricky enough, the symptoms occur between three to six hours after exposure, much longer than usual for food allergy.  All because you forgot to avoid ticks!

Read all about it here in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

If you are outside in wooded areas or fields, be sure to check carefully when you come inside for ticks.  Ticks like to hide in folds of skin.  They should be removed so that the entire tick is removed, and the head is not left behind.  But of course you know this, you just didn’t know the link between tick bites and allergy to red meat. That is until now.  Yet another reason to avoid ticks.

Until next time!