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Contest Winner Welcome to the March edition of the National Allergy E-Mail Newsletter! This month we'll discuss The Best Vacuum Cleaners For Controlling Allergens, including what doctors recommend, what technologies are available and what machine may be best for you. I recently bought a vacuum that I love. Maybe I should chalk it up to getting older that I am really excited about a vacuum cleaner, or maybe it's because I have spent the first part of my domestic life with my grandmother's old upright, which probably spewed as many particles into the air as it pulled from the carpet. Given that my husband and I are new homeowners, we heartily agree that our new Dyson HEPA Upright has been a worthwhile investment, which we intend to enjoy for many years to come.

The more I research and read, the more information I find about the benefits to allergy sufferers of good vacuuming habits. There are many other vacuums on the market today making various claims and offering features you didn't even know you needed. This month I'd like to help you sort through some questions about vacuums and vacuuming such as:
If you're new to the newsletter or you'd like to reread any of our newsletters, you can find all of our past issues on our website. In the coming months we'll have more educational articles about the aggravating factors behind allergy, asthma, and sinus problems as well as helpful tips and valuable subscriber-only coupons. To top it off, we're giving away an Austin Air HM-400 Air Purifier, valued at $399.99, to one lucky subscriber every month!


Katie Weaver & The National Allergy Newsletter Team


The Best Vacuums For Controlling Allergens

National Allergy Coupon

What Is House Dust?
I try to vacuum regularly, or at least when I know company is coming over. Whenever I vacuum, I manage to fill the Dyson collection bin full of junk from my carpets and floors, but just what is all that dirt and fuzz? Research shows that about 70-90% of what we remove is gray/brown dust that contains a significant amount of dead skin cells. Somewhere between 5 and 25% of that debris is carpet or smaller fibers that have been loosened by traffic or by the mechanism of the vacuum itself. About 5% of the waste collection is hair. The remaining portion is actually what can be the most dangerous for allergy sufferers containing fur, food particles, insects, mites, sand and mineral dust, pollen and other plant parts, carbon and other pollution particles, and paper and packing materials. Other collected microbes include soil and skin organisms, bacteria and mold spores like penecillium, ascoporium, aspergillus and alternarium. There may even be allergenic animal dander - even if there is no pet in the home.

It may not sound too threatening that only a small percentage of the collected whole is made up of allergens and microbes. But consider that one gram of dust can contain more than a million bacteria, thousands of fungal spores, hundreds of pollen grains (depending on time of year) as well as live house dust mites. In fact, research performed at Dyson's lab shows that carpet might contain up to 1000 dust mites per square meter in more heavily infested environments. Given lower humidity and more frequent cleaning, this level could be lower in the 10's or 100's. These facts are only intended let you know how important it is to do frequent vacuuming with a efficient vacuum that can pull harmful particles from your floors and carpeting, rather than kicking them up.

Dust Mite Close-Up What Do Doctors Recommend For
Controlling Dust And Other Allergens?

Carpeting is a haven for bacteria and dust mites, but furniture and beds are actually the most concentrated source of dust mites. Because of this, any home allergy-proofing regimen should start with encasing your home's
mattresses and pillows. Encasings are the most doctor-recommended, non-drug allergy prevention method. You can prevent exposure to mites and dander on furniture by treating it with any number of home treatments designed to limit airborne allergen exposure. Many doctors recommend such treatments for their allergy and asthma patients.

Another critical step to controlling house dust is vacuuming carpet regularly. There is certainly a fair share of vacuum hype out there, but what our customers truly want to know is what do doctors recommend and what vacuums have we tested and found effective. Dr. Dennis Spangler, Chief Medical Officer for the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic says, "none of them are any good unless it's a HEPA vacuum. Those types of filters significantly eliminate the dust particles in the room." The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology agrees - one of their Indoor Allergen tips includes the following admonition: "People with allergies should use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or a double bag, since using a standard or water-filtered vacuum cleaner stirs dust up into the air."

HEPA FiltersIf you are familiar with "allergy lingo", you probably recognize the acronym "HEPA". It stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and has become the industry standard for both home air purifiers and vacuum filtration. A true HEPA filter, by definition, must remove 99.97% of particles at least 0.3 microns in size. This is as small or smaller than pollen, pet dander, mold and some smoke and smog particles. Particles that are 10 microns or less are considered respirable and can settle deep into the lungs. Respirable particles make up over 99% of the 7 million particles in every breath you take! All of our vacuums are outfitted with HEPA filtration, and some like the Dyson Uprights and the Electrolux Oxygen Ultra Canister, can remove nearly 100% of the tiny harmful particles by way of various technologies.

What Vacuum Technologies Are Available?
Upright vs. Canister. Efficient HEPA vacuums are available in a variety of styles and price ranges and come with any number of features. One of the first questions to ask yourself is whether you prefer a canister or an upright. One of our vacuum representatives told me recently that canisters are much more popular in the northeast and Europe than in other regions, while demand for uprights is much higher in the south and southwest. True to statistics, I purchased an upright for my Georgia home. The advantages to an upright are its strength on carpeted surfaces and the ability to adjust the cleaning head to different carpet heights. I also like the relative simplicity of vacuuming with an upright - no extra cords, nozzles or tubes unless I want to use them. The advantage of some newer uprights is their ability to act like a canister with a detachable hose, variety of attachments and long power cord.

I find that my new upright is a little less agile in and around our living room furniture. In addition to their reduced maneuverability and limited ability to reach into small places, uprights can also be louder and heavier than canister models. Knowing weight can be a deterrent for some people,
Dyson's new DC14 models have been designed with a lower center of gravity and a more ergonomic handle for easier control. Size and storage can also be an issue for those of you who live in smaller living spaces - you may want the lightweight, compact design that canisters can offer.

Electrolux Harmony VacuumBagged vs. Bagless. Bagless cleaners have become increasingly popular since their introduction in the early 1990s. Dyson has had a great amount of success dispelling the prevailing view that a bagless machine is not recommended for an allergy sufferer. In fact, we even warned against bagless vacuums because many of them are not well sealed and particles are not settled well in the collection chamber so when the user tries to empty them, they are greeted with an allergenic dust cloud. This was an obvious concern of mine, as well as many of my co-workers who tested the Dyson. However, I found that if done carefully, emptying the Dyson created no more dust exposure than emptying a typical bagged vacuum. However, I would still advise that a highly sensitive individual wear a high-efficiency mask when emptying a bagless machine or have someone else do it for you. My favorite part of going bagless is the obvious savings in not having to purchase replacement bags. And in the case of Dyson units, even the HEPA filters are lifetime and don't need replacing (nor do their belts or other parts for that matter).

Over the years, we have supported a core of bagged vacuum cleaners with HEPA final filters. All of our Electrolux Models use bags that also include an easy-empty feature which protects the user from exposure to any of the bag's contents. If you are hesitant to part with your current vacuum but want more protection from allergens, using high-efficiency replacement bags is an important allergy-reduction option. Our Filtrete by 3M are available for a variety of vacuum models.

Power and Filtration. Most domestic vacuums measure power in wattage. Most canisters operate at about 1100 watts and most uprights pull about 1400 watts. Wattage is an indicator of the power with which the motor spins. Some manufacturers also use figures such Air Wattage and Water Lift that measure the suction power of the machine.

It is important to remember that the inclusion of a HEPA filter is not indicative of more suction power, it only means the vacuum is equipped to remove smaller, allergenic particles. Some vacuums add additional filters to maximize particle removal. For instance, the Nilfisk has a permanent cloth filter to catch larger particles that might otherwise clog the HEPA filter. Whatever extra filtration a HEPA vacuum may use, it is important to know whether the vacuumƒs filtration system is well-sealed. A vacuum can claim to have HEPA filtration, but may leak allergenic particles from joints and covers.

Some think that a water-based filtration system will improve the efficiency of a vacuum cleaner. The AAAAI cautions against water-filtration machines and research by Nilfisk America casts doubt on their safety for allergy sufferers. A study published by the American Lung Association's Respiratory Journal stated: "The sharp increase in airborne cat allergen associated with small particles when the water-filtering vacuum system was used was shown to be due to the formation of fine droplets by the machine. úIn contrast, the HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner effectively contained the allergen." There is also the issue of possible mold growth to consider with a water-based vacuum.

HEPA Filters Handheld Models. Nothing beats the convenience of a cordless, handheld vacuum for kitchen crevices, quick car cleanup and spills. However, even small handheld vacuums can exhaust dirty air, which is why I recommend the DirtTamer Deluxe or DirtTamer Ultima by FilterStream. Each comes with extra-strong suction power, as well as attachments for various applications. These HEPA filtered hand vacs do the trick on small jobs without compromising the air you breathe.

What Type Of HEPA Vacuum Is Right For Me?
As you can see, we highly recommend HEPA filtration. Beyond that, the type of vacuum you choose largely depends on your living space, budget and desire for various features like telescoping wands, headlights, extra attachments, etc. Below is an abbreviated chart showing some of our available home vacuums and some helpful information about each of them.

Make & ModelTypeHEPA FilterKey FeaturePrice
Bissell PowerGlide Platinum 24 lb. Upright, BaggedDisposable HEPA Affordable;
3M Filtrete Bags
Bissell Healthy Home Model 5770 25 lb. Upright, BaglessPermanent HEPA Cyclonic Filtration;
FREE Acarosan Carpet Kit
Dyson DC14 Telescope Reach All Floors 18« lb. Upright, BaglessLifetime HEPA Maximum Reach 52.4 ft.$549.99
Dyson DC17 Absolute - Animal 21 lb. Upright, BaglessLifetime HEPA Specially Designed For Pet Hair Pickup$549.99
Dyson DC18 Slim - All Floors 16 lb.
Upright, Bagless
Lifetime HEPA Lightweight, Trim, Easy To Carry$469.99
Dyson DC21 Stowaway 23 lb. Canister, BaglessLifetime HEPA Canister Design, Wraparound Storage$499.99
Dyson DC24 Ball All Floors 11.65 lb. Uprigt, BaglessLifetime HEPA Lightweight, Handle Compresses For Easy Storage$399.99
Dyson DC25 Ball All Floors 16 lb. Upright, BaglessLifetime HEPA Motorized Brushbar, 360 Degree Spin$499.99
Electrolux Harmony 12 lb. Canister, BaggedDisposable HEPA Very Quiet$299.99
Sanitaire by Electrolux 16.6 lb. Upright, BaggedWashable HEPA Sturdy enough for commercial use, but features you need at home$399.99
Electrolux Oxygen 3 Ultra 14.6 lb. Canister, BaggedDisposable HEPA Microseal Technology; Full-size powerhead$499.99
Eureka Boss SmartVac 21 lb. Upright, BaggedDisposable HEPA Power Paw Attachment$164.99
DirtTamer Supreme 4 lb. Handheld, BaglessDisposable HEPA Wet/Dry$65.99
DirtTamer Ultima 4 lb. Handheld, BaglessDisposable HEPA Unmatched Suction$75.99

Tips For Vacuuming Your Home
HEPA Vacuum

This Month's Exclusive Offers - Expire 4/11/2005

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Dyson Vacuum Cleaners are sweeping the nation. Now there is no better time to see for yourself what the rage is all about. We are already offering Free Ground Shipping & Handling when you order a Dyson and now we'll give you $30 off as well. Consider the new DC14 models. They are designed with a lighter feel and better maneuverability.   Vacuum bags must be changed often to prevent clogging and loss of suction power. Whether you need replacement bags for an Electrolux, Eureka, or Nilfisk vacuum you purchased from us or youƒd like to make your current vacuum more allergy-safe with an Aller-Vac or Micro-Clean high efficiency bag, now is the time to stock up and save!

To take advantage of the offers in this newsletter, be sure to subscribe by clicking here. After confirming your subscription, you will have an opportunity to read the current newsletter complete with the promotional codes.


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