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Allergen-Avoidance Away From Home

Contest Winner Welcome to the June edition of the National Allergy E-Mail Newsletter! This month I'll give you some tips for Allergen-Avoidance Away From Home. Whether you are traveling near or far this summer, your allergies are going with you. Friends' homes, hotels and even our workplaces all harbor allergens that can cause symptoms. The good news is that you can take many of the same tools you use at home and create allergy-safe zones away from home! Having my own Allergy Safe Zone at home really does reduce my allergic symptoms. However, that's not all I do: I have an air cleaner in my office at work, I take allergen bedding covers on vacation, and take other allergen-avoidance precautions that make the hours I spend away from home more bearable. Here are some of the common allergens and irritants that you may face while away from home:
National Allergy June CouponIf 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 future editions, we'll continue to provide you with 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, at the beginning of each month we give away an Austin Air HM-400 Air Purifier, valued at $449.99, to one lucky subscriber! Click here for a list of previous winners.


Katie Weaver & The National Allergy Newsletter Team

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Allergen-Avoidance Away From Home

Mold Allergen

Allergen Avoidance Away From HomeAny building or environment that has a musty smell or is close to high moisture areas can harbor mold. For example, beach and lake houses can be more prone to mold and mildew as can hotel rooms located near an indoor pool. The CitriSafe Air Treatment Cabinet and Goodmorning Purifying Spray are both all-natural mold treatment products than can offer temporary relief if airborne mold spore is a concern. Simply spray Goodmorning spray on a vent filter and attach it to the room's incoming vents to block mold spores that may be in the duct system.

Another handy tool that I recommend for hotel rooms or offices that may have a mold problem is the Wein Ionic Room Purifier. It packs in a suitcase and when plugged in, quietly eliminates airborne mold spores. NOTE: The Wein unit should not be used while using the CitriSafe cabinet as they counteract each other thereby giving no benefit.

When my husband and I took an extended trip abroad, to prevent mold and mildew we opened our windows to keep our small flat well-ventilated. Because there was not much pollen in the air, we also hung our wet towels outside to dry rather than heaping them on the floor. Given the high price of using the laundromat, we often did our laundry in the sink, but we made sure wet clothes could air-dry on the clothesline rather than leaving them inside. As the weather got chillier, we used space heaters, which kept the air plenty dry. I had very few allergic symptoms there. (We also brought encasings from home).

Pet Dander

Did you know that pet dander can remain in a house or hotel room for years after a pet has lived in that environment? Even if your aunt Susie got rid of the cats last year, chances are that Fluffy's allergen will remain for years in upholstery and carpet. Vacuuming with a HEPA Vacuum can help clear the air, but if you can't haul your own vacuum to your Aunt's house, at least you can loan her some Allersearch ADMS Spray. Allergic To Pets? The Breakthrough Guide to Living with the Animals You LoveThis convenient spray will denature any pet (or dust mite) allergen that remains around the house. Another tactic that I try when I stay with friends or families who still have pets is to ask them if they're able to run a HEPA air cleaner a few hours before I arrive. It makes a huge difference in reducing my pet allergen reactions.

For a wealth of excellent information on pet allergies and avoidance, I highly recommend Shirlee Kalstone's new book, Allergic To Pets? The Breakthrough Guide to Living with the Animals You Love.


You never know what harsh chemicals and bleaches have been used to "sanitize" your hotel room, or even what harmful chemicals there may be in the toiletries that are provided. Many of our readers are not bothered by chemicals, but for those of you who are, chemical sensitivities can put a serious damper on your vacationing. If you're staying with friends or family who know of your sensitivities, you can ask them to go easy on the chlorine products, or they may not mind if you bring some of your own EnviroRite supplies for tidying up the bathroom or kitchen.

Hotels catering to business travelers and vacationers may be prepared for allergic guests and may have non-chlorine products available. Some hotels call these "green rooms". However that can mean anything from the hotel providing recycled toilet paper and organic cotton sheets, to one that uses non-allergenic cleaners and bedding. It's best to call ahead and ask what special services or products are available.

For the safest toiletries option, I recommend bringing your own Vanicream Products Travel Pack. It offers just the right mix of chemical free bath and body products so you can avoid common irritants like perfume, lanolin, dyes, formaldehyde, or parabens that are in many hotel toiletry items.

Off-gassing and chemicals from new carpets and furniture are among other allergy concerns, especially in new office buildings. It's these chemicals that also contribute to the symptoms associated with Sick Building Syndrome. I keep a small Hunter Air Cleaner in my office to filter common allergens and keep the air moving. However, chemically sensitive readers should look for an air purifier that can remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) such as the IQAir HealthPro Plus. For those with severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), consider the IQAir GC MultiGas unit . These are both excellent units, but are best for larger spaces. For VOC and particulate filtration in smaller offices or cubicles, I recommend the Austin Air HealthMate Jr. VOC cartridges can also filter smog and outdoor pollution, if your workplace is located near busy roadways.

Dust Mite Allergen

Dust mites are one of the most common allergens. They love humid, warm environments where there's plenty of their favorite food - dead skin cells and other organic matter. This makes carpet, bedding and upholstered furniture prime living space for the little pests. Anti-Allergen Solution by The Ecology WorksWith a new person in hotel beds each night, there's no shortage of dust mite food, not to mention other germs or bacteria. That's why if I'm staying anywhere for more than a few nights, I at least bring an allergy pillow cover with me. National Allergy's SofTEK encasings are lightweight and economical - perfect for vacations or business trips.

Hotel carpeting and upholstered furniture can also harbor dust mites. Bring along a travel-sized bottle of Anti-Allergen Solution spray and take care of mite allergen on the spot. Covering hotel air vents with a portable vent filter is another simple, effective way to reduce airborne allergens that are coming in the room. These same techniques can be used in a guest room or office where you are trying to reduce dust mite allergen.

Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have gotten lots of press lately as more and more hotel guests report cases of infestation. Some bed bugs have even made it into the homes of travelers. Bed bugs and dust mites are not related, and though they occupy the same habitat, they act much differently. Here are some of the main contrasts between the two:
  • Dust Mites are in almost every hotel, office and home; however, bed bugs have only been found in isolated cases, mostly in hotels.
  • While dust mites feed on dead skin cells and other tiny organic matter like mold spore, bed bugs feed by attaching themselves like a tick to the human body and extracting blood.
  • Dust Mites do not bite and are not prone to direct human contact. The presence of bed bugs may be indicated by 2 or more red "bites", usually on the legs or arms.
  • Dust mites are translucent and cannot be seen with the naked eye but bed bugs are darker and can be seen.
  • Dust mites are not surface dwellers. They burrow and live inside mattresses and pillows. Bed bugs typically hide in the ticking around mattresses, behind headboards, between the mattress and box springs, and even behind picture frames - any small confined space.

Using allergen-proof encasings, while a primary defense against dust mites, is only a secondary defense against bed bugs. Bedding should initially be thoroughly vacuumed out or exterminated by a professional. Then SatinSoft Classic encasings can be used on mattresses and vinyl encasings on box springs as a deterrent since they both utilize a membrane as a barrier to block off their favorite hiding places. And remember, bed bugs are not an allergen, but definitely pests that you should keep an eye out for in hotels and motels. For more thorough information on bed bugs, click here.


I hope these tips on avoiding common allergens when AWAY from home will be a good complement to your efforts at creating allergy-safe zones in your home. Congratulations to all graduates and their parents and I wish all our readers a wonderful summer. Stay tuned for some of my favorites for surviving summer!

This information is for educational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor first about your specific condition, treatment options and other health concerns you may have.

Remember that our customer service representatives have plenty of experience guiding people through the options for allergy, asthma and sinus relief, so feel free to contact us by calling one of our phone experts at 1-800-522-1448 Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:30 pm Eastern Time. You can also e-mail us at


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Help Your Friends

People you care about can benefit from allergen avoidance. Help them learn more about minimizing the allergens in their environment by forwarding them this issue of the National Allergy E-Mail Newsletter. They'll thank you for it!


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