Tag Archives: allergies

Choosing A Safe, Nontoxic Sunscreen

It’s widely known that your skin is your largest organ – taking good care of it is so important not only if you want to look your best, but in order to feel your best too. That’s because the ingredients in the products that you put on your skin are absorbed directly into your bloodstream.

safesun 270x300 Choosing A Safe, Nontoxic Sunscreen

Choose a safe sunscreen to avoid sun damage.

One summer skin care tip you’ve probably heard time and time again is to slather on plenty of sun screen every time you head outside. This habit is said to prevent sun burn and skin cancer – and delay signs of aging.

But are all sunscreens created equally? Not at all. In fact, many of the more popular brands of sunscreen actually contain harmful ingredients that you don’t want to put on your body!

It all starts with the ingredients. Truthfully, all you really need in a sunscreen is titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These natural, mineral ingredients sit on top of the skin to form barrier protection from UV rays

Unfortunately, many sunscreens also have ingredients that aren’t so healthy, such as:

  • Fragrance – Synthetic fragrances are petroleum-based and are linked to organ toxicity and can trigger allergies.

  • Oxybenzone – This common ingredient has been shown to disrupt hormone activity. Plus, it only blocks UVB ray (sun’s good rays that provide vitamin D production), not UVA which are the most free radical damaging rays.

  • High SPF – Contrary to popular belief, it turns out high SPF does not necessarily offer more protection. The Environmental Working Group performed a study and determined that lower SPF is used more effectively.

To find a safe sunscreen, check out the EWG’s list of approved brands. They run the Skin Deep Database, which is the number one resource for learning about ingredients in personal care products. A few brands, such as Andalou Naturals and Juice Beauty. The Honest Company also offers a great nontoxic sunscreen for kids and babies!

It’s also wise to follow a few other sun protection tips in order to avoid being sun burned:

  • Stay inside when the sun is at it’s hottest – between 11 AM and 2 PM.

  • Wear a wide brimmed hat while working outside, such as while gardening, or when you’re near the water.

  • Wear long, loose clothing that covers your skin when you’ll be outside for several hours at a time.

  • Have the family wearing rash guard shirts (long sleeve and short) for swimming this summer.  They are comfortable and will save having to put extra sunscreen all over the body.

By following these tips you can enjoy the summer sun burn free!

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

How to Reduce Allergies in The Home

While you’ll see a lot of news and info popping up this time of year about pollen and reducing those allergy symptoms, the truth is “allergy season” lasts all year long. For those allergic to pets, this is no surprise. There are other risks present all year round, too. Read on to learn more about how to reduce allergies in every season. According to a recent issue of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation‘s quarterly newsletter, FreshAAIRwinter allergies come mainly from indoor sources, so be on the lookout in your home for allergen hot spots. “When windows are shut and the heater is on, less fresh air is circulated through your home and exposure to indoor allergens increases.”

How to Reduce Allergies – Check These Sources

 How to Reduce Allergies in The Home

typical allergy triggers in the home.

  • Pet Dander – Particularly concerning in the winter when your pet is likely indoors most of the time, pet dander can be a major cause of allergic reaction. Cut back on dander in the home by bathing your pet often and vacuuming your floors and furniture regularly.  If your pet is the one suffering from allergies look at your cleaning supplies.  Get rid of strong smells and go with non-toxic. Sometimes just good old fashioned floor soap works best.  Remember to wipe your dogs paws and underbelly after an outdoor walk. Having a problem with the pet bed and the odors.  Switch to an antimicrobial treated floor mat. Dr. Doormat controls the growth of microorganisms and odors. Position the mat at the doggie door and other entrances. Dogs also love sleeping on the floor mat because of the way it feels and they don’t destroy it.
  • Dust Mites – As gross at it sounds, these little buggers are everywhere. If you are allergic its likely to be more the feces of the dust mite than the actual mite.  Keep your home clean with a regular schedule – wash bedding often, dust surfaces, and stay on top of laundry.
  • Furnaces and Heating Sources – Dust and allergens accumulate in the heating and air conditioning system. Keep them serviced and change filters regularly. Follow these winter indoor air tips.
  • Carpets – Avoid wall to wall carpet, but if you have carpet and are stuck with it, at least make sure it stays as clean as possible.  Keep them cleaner by wiping shoes thoroughly on Dr. Doormat as you enter the home.  The surface of the mat will help trap allergens, pesticides and toxins and disable odor causing microorganisms (bacteria, mold, fungus) on the mat.  We can’t always guarantee how well a guest will wipe so we also recommend taking shoes off after using the antimicrobial treated doormat to reduce and minimize our exposure.  Keep a shoe rack near the welcome mat.    Vacuum your carpets regularly and steam clean as needed.  Remember to sanitize the head of the vacuum cleaner before and after you vacuum to further reduce the spread of viruses and germs.
  • Ceiling Fans – Have you cleaned them lately? Use the pillowcase trick to trap dust and dispose of it outside your home!

Cutting down on allergen exposure is the key to keeping your family breathing easy. Follow these tips for a cleaner, fresher home – all year long.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

A Healthier Home with Houseplants

 A Healthier Home with Houseplants

Spider Plant helps remove toxins in the air

As the weather starts to cool down, you’ll likely be spending more time indoors. In fact, the EPA estimates that Americans spend up to 90% of their time indoors. The air inside can contain 5 – 10 times more pollutants than the outside air.  Why?  Because the outside is exposed to wind, rain, and sun to naturally degrade the pollutants.  Our indoor environments are perfect breeding grounds for all of these elements to build up and grow in our homes.  Substances like dust, mold, pollens and other bacteria may make it hard to breathe and cause problems for those with allergies.

Luckily, there are easy, natural solutions to help you improve the air you breathe in your home. The first step to a healthy home is Dr. Doormat.  Another natural way to keep the air in your home clean and improve your family’s health is by simply investing in a few houseplants.

5 Health Benefits of Houseplants

1. Breathe Easier

Your body takes in oxygen and releases carbon dioxide each time you take a breath. Houseplants do the opposite. During photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.  Adding plants to your indoor space will increase oxygen levels and make it easier for you and your family to breathe.

2. Prevent Illnesses

Plants also release moisture vapor into the air. The moisture vapor released into the air increases the humidity of a room. In the dry winter months, houseplants can help prevent respiratory illnesses, colds, coughs and sore throats. As an added benefit, your skin will stay hydrated!

3. Improve Allergies

A NASA study report showed that plants can remove up to 87% of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).  VOCs are introduced to your home from common objects like rugs, vinyl floors, grocery bags, inks, man-made fibers and paint.

 A Healthier Home with Houseplants

Peace Lilly helps remove mold and purify the air for allergy sufferers

Many houses also have pollen, dust and mold trapped inside.  When your windows are closed during colder months, these particles can’t escape and can aggravate allergies and cause colds.

Air purifying plants pull VOCs into the soil and convert them to plant food. You’re left with cleaner and healthier air to breathe in your house.

4. Elevate Your Mood

Some studies suggest that houseplants can improve your mental health, too.  Many companies put plants into offices to prevent fatigue, improve attentiveness and lift workers’ moods.

Plants are also used to help those suffering from depression. When patients feel sad or lonely, caring for another living thing helps them feel more of a sense of purpose in life.

5. Sleep Better

Most houseplants only produce oxygen during the day, but several will also produce oxygen at night. Higher levels of oxygen make it easier to breathe and promote deeper levels of sleep.

Choose the Right Plant

Not all plants will produce health benefits for your family. In fact, some are poisonous to children and pets and should be avoided.

The following plants are non-toxic and will purify and humidify your home’s air.

  • Spider Plant: Great for living spaces, this plant purifies air quickly and removes toxins.
  • Dragon Tree: This plant is also ideal for living spaces. It purifies air and removes toxins.
  • Gerbera Daisy: Releases oxygen at night and purifies the air by removing toxins. Place this plant in your bedroom to improve sleeping.
  • English Ivy: Removes toxins, especially those found in offices and studies.
  • Boston Fern: Humidifies the air in your living spaces.
  • Snake Plant: It has a scary name, but the snake plant won’t bite. It will purify the air and remove any toxins associated with fuel-burning appliances and fireplaces.
  • Peace: This plant removes mold and is ideal for bathrooms or damp areas in your home.
 A Healthier Home with Houseplants

English Ivy is perfect for removing toxins

Any amount of houseplants in your home will improve your air quality and mood. However, in order to get the full benefit from houseplants in your indoor space, experts recommend that you place one large plant (8-inch diameter pot or larger) for every 100-150 square feet.

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to purify the air in your home with houseplants, try the book How to Grow Fresh Air.

This is a subject that is very dear to me since I have had allergies all my life and collect houseplants.  It’s amazing how powerful mother nature is.  To think that  our forests are designed to be the clean up crew for the atmosphere and our rain forests are being threatened by human interference.  I guess that makes me a treehugger.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Allergies and Pollen Counts, It’s more than Numbers

I am pleased to introduce our guest writer, Diane Dean, RN-BC, LPC, CEG from Pittsburgh, PA. Diane is a licensed registered nurse, a licensed counselor, professionally-trained coach and medical writer with 20+ years of healthcare experience.

Pollens:  They’re More than Numbers When it Comes to Allergies

 Allergies and Pollen Counts, Its more than Numbers

Pollen is everywhere

Sneeze.  Cough.  Sniffle. You took your allergy medicine, checked the pollen count and you haven’t missed an allergy shot.  So, what’s the problem?  Plenty, says Dr Jeroen Buters of TUM’s Chair of Molecular Allergology and the Center of Allergy & Environment. Buters set out to study the germ cells (pollen) of grass, birch trees and olive plants, common allergens in Europe.

Buters noted that factors other than the airborne pollen concentrations can affect your allergy symptoms. The most notable? Maturation of the pollen–the number of allergenic proteins present varies with the age of the pollen.

Pollen concentrations, especially grass pollens, also vary greatly within short period of time and distances, regardless of airborne pollen concentration levels. Buters notes, “The allergic potential varied by a factor of 10. In other words up to ten times more allergens were released on the ‘intense’ days than at other times.” Strangely, distance mattered little.  Buter’s research noted vastly different allergen concentrations—almost a fourfold difference in pollen concentrations—in pollen-measuring devices only 250 miles apart.

Last, the weather affects how much you’re wiping your nose or dabbing your tear ducts.  Buters fingers wind as one of the main factors that carry pollen from place to place, often inside of a short time span.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a subsidiary of the National Institute of Health, suggests the following measures to help reduce your suffering from environmental allergens, like pollen:

  • Avoid the outdoors between 5-10 AM. Save outside activities for late afternoon or after a heavy rain, when pollen levels are lower.
  • Keep windows in your home and car closed to lower exposure to pollen.
  • Avoid hanging clothes outside to dry.  Pollen can collect on clothing and be carried indoors.
  • Have someone else do the mowing, if you’re allergic to grass. If you must mow the lawn yourself, wear a mask.
  • Keep grass cut short.
  • Choose low-pollen ground covers and trees, like Irish moss, bunch, dichondra, crape myrtle, dogwood, fig, fir, palm, pear, plum, redbud and redwood trees; or the female cultivars of ash, box elder, cottonwood, maple, palm, poplar or willow trees.

     Allergies and Pollen Counts, Its more than Numbers

    Pollen Spore

Buters encourages immunologists and environmentalists to combine his new research with existing measures.  ”By combining allergen measurements, airborne pollen forecasts and weather data, we can significantly improve the allergy models used to date.” He also remains in favor of developing allergenic proteins for administration to allergy sufferers, in lieu of vaccines.

Buters is a visionary.  Although, yes, prevention’s the best measure, until researchers have integrated Buters’ research data into tangible means, we’re stuck with big old tissue wads in our pockets, allergy shot tincture vials, and an assortment of symptomatic over-the-counter remedies.

Oh…Gesundheit!

Best Regards,
signature Allergies and Pollen Counts, Its more than Numbers
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Is Cleaner Better For Allergy Sufferers?

 Is Cleaner Better For Allergy Sufferers?

The Joys of Vacuuming!

Some experts believe that exposure to a little dirt and germs help build up your immune system, so you don’t have to endlessly dust and bleach.  But experts also say you should follow some basic guidelines to defend against the irritants.  For starters, try to vacuum once or twice with a model that has a HEPA filter; this will trap pollen particles and other irritants instead of sending them back into the room at the other end of the vacuum cleaner.  I always recommend using your own vacuum cleaner, never allow a cleaning service to use their company vacuum that travels from one dirty house to another.  Some machines will allow a double bag

To reduce other irritants in the bedroom wash your bedding once a week in hot water and use dust mite covers on mattresses, pillows and box springs.  Sheets need to be changed once a week and washed in hot water.  Dust mite covers should be washed every other month or quarterly if you just don’t have time.

Did you ever feel like the dust is endless and you can’t keep up.  Equip your furnace with a heavy duty filter.  Use one with a rating between MERV 8 and MERV 11 and change it at least every two months.

 Is Cleaner Better For Allergy Sufferers?

Dirty air ducts help re-circulate the dust and animal hair throughout the house.

If you have moved into a new house that may have been occupied by a pet before you, make sure the air ducts are sucked out.  That way lingering cat or dog hair will be sucked out and not allowed to recirculate through the air conditioning or heating system.   All of these steps are basic steps to protect an allergy sufferer from obvious irritants that may impair their ability to breath.

To avoid tracking allergens through the house in the first place wipe off on Dr. Doormat.  This provides a control site to stop dirt in it’s tracks and reduce further exposure.  We keep a shoe rack in our home and remove shoes after a good wipe at the main entrance.  So this brings us back to the original question. Is cleaner better for allergy sufferers.  Yes, providing you are using cleaning supplies that do not contain harmful toxins and fragrances to cause more aggravation than if you did nothing.  A little cleaning every day can go along way to making the task a breeze and keep things under control.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.

Weclome to the Dr. Doormat Blog

 Weclome to the Dr. Doormat Blog It gives me great pleasure to announce the launch of our new Blog at Dr. Doormat. Many of you email and call me with your comments, questions and much appreciated support. Now, I’m excited that we have a new way to communicate. Since 2002 when I began to research various ways to clean up my home environment for my family, I uncovered a wealth of information and felt a responsibility to share what I learned with friends and family. This long journey of developing Dr. Doormat has not only been an adventure in business but an opportunity to fulfill a mission and help so many people learn about the issues of how to manage their home environment. I plan to include health tips, share relevant articles that I think you would find useful and share with you an under the hood view of running my business and balancing family life. I will invite guest blogger experts like Allergists, Veterinarians, Medical Advisors, Professional Housekeepers and Environmentalists and real Moms among others to contribute. I will also occasionally recommend products and techniques to help us through the seasons. I believe it takes a village to raise a family and I would like you to be part of mine.

May Every Step You Take Be Healthy!

Best Regards,
Debbie Greenspan's signature
Debbie Estis Greenspan
Founder/CEO/Mom
Dr. Doormat, Inc.