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| Welcome to the National Allergy E-Mail Newsletter! First, we want to wish you a very Happy New Year and all the best in 2004! This month, we'll be looking at more important steps you can take in the fight against household allergens, and hopefully clear up some confusion about all the various Dust Mite Treatment Products available today. You may have noticed that our newsletters frequently address the subject of dust mites. That's because these little pests are causing allergy symptoms for around 20 million Americans - more than any other allergen. So we want to offer as much help and education as possible about dust mite control in your home environment.|
In this issue we address the following topics:
The National Allergy Newsletter Team
Dust Mite Treatment Products
Are Dust Mites Causing My Allergy Symptoms?
The short answer is quite possibly. Remember that dust mites are microscopic organisms that love warm, humid and fibrous environments where there is plenty of food (they primarily eat our shed, dead skin and other organic matter like mold spore). Although they avoid human contact, dust mites rapidly produce a waste product that is easily inhaled. And regardless of how well you clean, dust mites are simply a part of the environment and therefore extremely prevalent in almost all homes.
"The most important factor in an environmental control program is avoidance of dust mite allergen. Sensitivity to dust mite antigen is a strong predictor of asthma and asthma severity, and reducing dust mite allergen exposure in the home can reduce the severity of asthma, eczema, and allergic rhinitis... Household areas with the highest levels of dust mite infestation include the following: carpets, pillows, mattresses, drapes, stuffed animals, clothing, and upholstered furniture."
In our November newsletter we discussed the importance of controlling dust mite allergen in mattresses, pillows and other bedding since your bed and bedding meets all the criteria they love. Their other favorite places include carpeting, sofas and even that favorite overstuffed TV chair in the family room. Incidentally, we now have a short video on our site for those of you who'd like to see these little guys in action (once on the page, just click the picture of the dust mite in the "Health Tips" section on the right hand side).
I've Encased My Bedding, Now What?
After investing in mite-proof bedding encasings, many doctors recommend removing carpet and limiting the use of upholstered and fiber-filled furniture. Dr. Michael Berry of the EPA states that "Carpeting and fabrics not cleaned and properly maintained have the potential to cause a variety of health problems inside the building environment." But most of us enjoy the feel and comfort of wall to wall carpet and upholstered furniture and don't want the hassle or expense of removal and replacement. So, although removal is the ideal solution and truly the best for allergy sufferers, many folks need another option.
Simple household chores such as frequent vacuuming and dusting can help reduce the amount of dust and surface allergen, but these activities can sometimes be MORE aggravating for allergy sufferers if not done properly. We'll give you some tips on dusting and vacuuming later. Thankfully there are a number of dust mite treatment products available to help, and they provide a great way for dust mite sensitive people to survive without having to re-decorate or spend hours each week vacuuming! These home treatments are safe and effective and can really help to reduce the allergic symptoms associated with dust mites and, in some cases, even animal dander and mold.
Which Dust Mite Treatment Product Is Best For Me?
Outlined below are the treatment products offered by National Allergy. We hope that the following chart will be a handy reference for you as you decide which product would work best for you and your home. The different treatments affect dust mites in different ways. Some will neutralize the protein in their allergen rendering it harmless while others actually kill the mites themselves. Of course, each product requires a slightly different application and routine for maximum effectiveness. All of these treatment products have been tested in published medical studies or by independent labs with demonstrated effectiveness. Although these products have been shown to be safe, please read the entire product label prior to use.
Helpful Tips For Vacuuming & Dusting
As noted, several of the treatments listed above require vacuuming following application. Additionally, research has shown that frequent vacuuming can be a help in general.
"Regular vacuum cleaning removes surface mites and allergens, but it does not remove deeply embedded allergens or reduce the number of live mites."
Central vacuum systems are best because there are no exhaust emmissions because the collection canister is usually located in a garage or basement. The downside is the expense of installation. Upright or canister vacuums should have a sealed filtration system with a True HEPA filter. These machines provide the best protection for allergy sufferers since there are virtually no leaks and the exhaust is filtered. If you don't have one of these vacuums and are not planning a purchase anytime soon, all is not lost. Special microfiltration bags may be available for your current model. These bags offer a great way to improve the dust and allergen-trapping ability of your current vacuum. Dusting is another dreaded household chore that can truly help control dust and allergen accumulation in the home. But be sure to use a dust cloth that picks up dust rather than stirs it up. Our Dust Grabber has long been a favorite due to it's magnet-like charge - dust really clings to these cloths, and they can be washed and used over and over again.
How Can I Be Sure I Have A Dust Mite Problem?
Unfortunately, dust mites are a reality in most every home regardless of the cleanliness, age, region or size of your home. Tests are available that can help measure the severity of the dust mite problem such as the MITE-T-Fast test. This easy-to-use test allows you to detect clinically significant levels of dust mite allergen in furniture, bedding or carpets and is great for monitoring progress with home dust mite control. If you are not sure you or a family member has allergies, visit your local allergist for an allergy test, or use an FDA cleared self-test such as the new MyAllergyTest which tests your allergic response to the 10 most common allergens.
We hope this newsletter has given you some further strategies to reduce those stuffy noses, watery eyes and other allergic symptoms that often result from the menacing dust mite. The National Allergy Email Newsletter strives to educate and enable you, the consumer to make cost-effective, healthy choices so you can live allergy-free!
If you have specific questions about allergies, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do our best to help.
Stay tuned next month for another look at the aggravating factors behind allergy, asthma, and sinus problems and helpful things you can do to find relief, an exciting coupon, more exclusive offers, and another chance to win an Austin Air HM-400 Air Purifier.
This Month's Exclusive Offers - Expire 2/15/2004
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