Are you Sensitive to Chlorine?


Do you react after swimming in a chlorinated swimming pool? I get hives every time I go swimming, even when I go to pools which operate mostly on ozone and only use a very small amount of what they call “free chlorine”. I have always wondered if there is anything I can do to reduce the skin reactions I get and worry that it may in fact be affecting my asthma. The American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (ACAAI) has great information on this topic. They mention that if you get hives or a rash after swimming in a chlorinated pool it does not mean that you have a chlorine allergy, however it may mean that you have a chlorine sensitivity or “irritant dermatitis” (like a chemical burn), which is caused by hypersensitivity to this natural irritant. If you get a rash or hives from the pool, have you found anything that helps to reduce the amount of hives you get? For my breathing I do take my inhaler prior to swimming to prevent an asthma flare-up. Have you found certain pools affect the rash, hives or other skin reactions you get from swimming pools? Do you notice a difference with indoor pools versus outdoor pools?

ACAAI Chlorine Allergy


Would anyone like to take over this allergy blog?

acz_50.gifI love writing this blog and hearing from people who are suffering from the same allergies I am. I like to think I have helped a few readers along the way. My life is very busy right now and I am finding I have less and less time to devote to this blog. I must simplify my life to survive. If anyone is seriously interested, let me know. I also own the matching URL , a Twitter account and Facebook account in the same name. This WordPress account gets about 100 visits a day.  This WordPress account is not monetized but it can be, by using the matching URL. I have not kept up with the Facebook and Twitter accounts lately.

May is Allergy & Asthma Awareness Month

May is a peak time for people dealing with allergies and asthma and a perfect time to raise awareness about these diseases.

What are allergies?

Allergies are an overreaction of the immune system to allergens that usually do not cause a reaction in most people. Some of the symptoms of allergies include sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and itching; some allergies (food or drug) can cause an extreme response (anaphylaxis) that is life-threatening, is a medical emergency, and is the most severe allergic reaction. If you or someone around you is having an anaphylactic reaction, please call 911 right away.

For those with extreme allergies that cause anaphylaxis, I suggest reading about them on this WebMD web site.

A New Year, Start Fresh

Every year at this time, I clean up all the holiday decorations and start to reorganize and clean. It’s a new year so Toxic Cleaning ProductsI want a new beginning. This year I was sick with a virus over the entire holidays. I was very conscious of keeping my home germ free and safe for my family. No one else got sick, so I must have done a good job.

Keeping your house clean so you don’t suffer from Winter allergies is very similar to keeping it free from germs. We can’t see germs and, even though they are much larger we can barely see pollen and dander.

When you are closed up in a house all Winter, dust is the enemy. Dust particles are composed of pollen, pet dander, dust mites, lead dust, pest droppings, chemical contaminates and pesticides. Not exactly what you want to be touching and breathing in all the time.

Dry dusting and sweeping just stirs up dust. Always use a vacuum with low emissions and a HEPA filter. I have a whole house vacuum that vents out into my garage. I love the idea of getting everything completely out of the house. Use a barely damp cloth to dust your furniture.

Use chemical free cleaners made of household products. Four tablespoons baking soda in one quart of water is a good general cleaner. Vinegar and salt mixed together makes a good surface cleaner. Lemon and salt is good for stubborn stains.

Do you have trouble sleeping at night?

Everyone has an occasional sleepless night, but people who have consistent sleeplessness called insomnia might want to check out their bedrooms for pollutants and toxins that cause irritation, allergy flare-ups, watery eyes, swelling of the throat, respiratory problems, irritation, nervousness, insomnia and more. Formaldehyde is usually the culprit. It may be time to change your sheets!

The toxins could be coming from  your sheets, curtains, carpet, rugs, furniture or more. All permanent-press cotton and polyester/cotton bed sheets and curtains are coated with resins that release the vapors of formaldehyde. Engineered particle board or plywood veneered wood in much furniture and closet systems unless otherwise labeled gives off formaldehyde fumes. Formaldehyde can cause insomnia.

So change your sheets to 100% cotton sheets that are labeled untreated or formaldehyde-free. Sheets labeled organically grown cotton are usually untreated. Wash your new sheets several times in a dye-free and perfume-free detergent. Yes, your sheets will be wrinkled, but you will sleep better at night. I use Nellies All Natural Laundry Soda ( go to the 3rd page of my allergy store), Try this and see if it doesn’t help.

Allergies to Mold is a growing problem

Do your eyes water and do you sniff and sneeze more in certain locations in your house or when you visit friends or businesses? Do you seem to suffer more inside your home or office than outside? Do damp basements and bathrooms make you miserable? You may be among a growing list of people allergic to mold. Mold is everywhere around us, but our homes should be a sanctuary to escape the misery.

Mold spores are tiny (5-10 microns) they can easily evade the natural protective mechanisms of our nose and upper respiratory tract. Allergic reactions are the most common effect: runny nose, itching eyes and rashes. The other common effects of exposure to molds include wheezing, flu-like symptoms, chronic sinus infections, fever, nose bleeds, shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and respiratory infections. Mold spores can trigger or aggravate asthma, particularly, in children. The effects of molds are cumulative, the first 200 exposures may have no effect but the next one can cause a reaction.

“Toxic Black Mold” is the most feared all molds. Finding this mold in you home, work place or school can mean the building must be closed for serious professional mold abatement. Insurance companies normally do not cover mold damage.  Normal household mold is easier to control and eradicate using very easy to find products. Remember, the cause of mold is moisture.

How to get rid of mold:

Before doing any of the things on the list below, it is important to wear a particulate respirator (N95 or TC-21C) and rubber gloves.

1. If you suspect black toxic mold contact a professional mold abatement company to test your home. Check that all roofing, gutters, drainpipes and siding are repaired and working correctly. Check under sinks to see if there are leaks or plumbing problems that need fixing. Check your basement for leaks and the floor for water pressure seepage. If you entirely eliminate the source of dampness, your mold problems will end after clean-up. Use a dehumidifier in damp areas of your home or office.

2. If the mold you have is not toxic, start with a fungicide cleaner to remove the mold, you must also kill the root to prevent it from coming back. Bleach will only temporarily remove the surface mold, also bleach can be dangerous. Follow the directions on the fungicide and always use a respirator and gloves. I prefer to use non-toxic methods when possible. Vinegar and tea tree oil makes a great deterrent for light mold, but it will not completely remove heavy deposits of deeply rooted mold.

3 Use an air purifier in your home or near your desk if you work in an office that has mold problems. Replace the air filters on your furnace and air-conditioner as needed. Use vinegar and tea tree oil on a regular basis as a spray in your shower and sinks to prevent new growth. Mix 2 teaspoons tea tree oil, 2 cups water in a spray bottle, do not rinse. Vinegar can also be sprayed on undiluted. Turn on the ventilation fan or open a window, the smell will dissipate in a few minutes after using.

To those of you suffering from the recent flooding, I sympathize with you. It is very had to get away form mold spores when your whole world is damp and moldy.

Sensitivity to Ragweed is on the Rise

ragweedMore and more people are becoming allergic to ragweed and molds. In a recent study conducted by Quest Diagnostics, the results from nearly 14 million blood tests, from 2 million patients over a four-year study clearly show increases in sensitization to pollens. Ragweed increased 15% from 2005-2008, for mold the increase was 12%.

A study in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” found that ragweed season was nearly a month longer in 2009 than in 1995 in northern areas of North America. Whether this is a result of climate change is still up to discussion. 2011 has been a bumper year for all things pollen so expect even worse results for this year.

A list of the top most populated cities for sensitization to ragweed: 1. Phoenix, 2. Las Vegas, 3. Kansas City, 4. Riverside-San Bernardino, 5. Dallas, 6. Chicago, 7. Sacramento, 8. Philadelphia, 9. Denver, 10. Washington D.C., Minneapolis/St. Paul (tied) If you didn’t see your city, and feel you live in the worst place for ragweed, you are not alone. It doesn’t matter where your city ranks if you are the one suffering from ragweed pollen. To find the pollen count for your area for the next few days go to:  Also read more about how to make your life more comfortable during allergy season  on my Allergy Comfort Zone Blog

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