Hypo-allergenic Hairspray

About two years ago when my allergies hit an all-time high, I was experiencing swollen eyes each morning, my face and neck had red patches, and my scalp itched constantly. Now, one of these annoyances would have possibly been tolerable, but all three were more than I wanted to deal with. I knew it was time to find out what was going on and make some changes.

The first thing I did was pay attention to everything coming in contact with my eyes, face, neck, and scalp. This could be facial cleansing products, shampoo, cosmetics, hairspray, or fragrance/scent from other products used in my daily primping ritual. I suspected my cosmetics, but knew this would have no impact on my neck and scalp. The next thing that came to mind was hairspray, which is the one product that hits all affected areas. So I quit using hairspray. Day two of being hairspray free showed improvement in my red and swollen eyes. By day three, the itchy patches on my scalp and neck were better too.

As always, I began doing research to find out what is in hairspray that could cause an allergic reaction. Certain ingredients and preservatives such as, parabens, imidazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, phenoxyethanol, methylchloroisothiazolinone, and formaldehyde, are associated with increased allergic reactions. The interesting part is I don’t have to actually use the hairspray… simply walking into a room where someone else has used hairspray can cause problems too. This is because the hairspray causes cells in your body responsible for fighting allergies to release a substance known as histamines. These histamines cause swelling and mucus secretions in the eyes, nose and throat. This certainly explains why my eyes were red and swollen. And, because I was using the product and it was coming in direct contact with my skin, I was experiencing skin allergies as well.

At this point I had to ask myself the BIG question. Can I break my hairspray addiction and continue having these bad hair days? How much is my vanity worth? Well, thank goodness I discovered NEW IMAGE hairspray, a hypo-allergenic spray without fragrances, lanolin, oils, lacquers, and other allergy causing ingredients. NEW IMAGE is available at a local beauty supply store for about $6.50 for 10 ounces. Score! Not only does it work, but it is inexpensive.

I am happy with the results and am no longer “scratching my head” in regard to hairspray allergies.

Strive to be healthy!

Cats Have Allergies Too

Have you ever heard the saying that after years together animals begin to take on the personality and/or characteristics of their owner? I wonder if that’s the case with me and my cat Baxter. Baxter seems to have allergies… just like me.

Baxter is a wonderful cat who is 11 years old. Two years ago he began making this strange gulping sound when he swallowed, as though something was stuck in his throat. His purr sounded unusual and he had kitty laryngitis; he would meow, but make no sound. His eyes were weepy and he sneezed a lot. When this continued for several days I took Baxter to his vet. The vet said Baxter’s throat was red and swollen, so he must have a respiratory infection. The fact that animals can have respiratory infections was a surprise to me, but I accepted this diagnosis and gave Baxter the round of antibiotics prescribed.

This scenario happened two more times over the next year and seemed to be worse each time. When it happened a fourth time, Baxter quit swallowing all together, drooled on everything, and wasn’t eating much. I knew we were reaching the point of a serious illness. We went back to the vet and got our final round of antibiotics.

If you’ve read My Personal Story on this blog site, you’ll know that I lived on antibiotics as a child and the experience was not good. I began comparing my situation to Baxter’s and realized I was giving him medication to treat the symptoms without knowing what the true problem was. I began researching throat irritation in cats, cats not swallowing, and all related subjects I could think of. With the information found, Baxter’s symptoms appeared to resemble food allergies. Allergies in animals are difficult to diagnose… it’s all trial and error. You take them off of food, switch to an organic or hypo-allergenic food, give their system time to clear, and then begin changing the animal’s eating habits until you find something that works.

Baxter was a die-hard consumer of Fancy Feast canned cat food and also loved his morning sip of milk. I immediately discontinued the milk and set out to find an organic food he would eat. (If you have cats, you know changing their food is a major life event. You can’t simply open a new type of food and expect them to eat it, especially if they are the least bit finicky to begin with).

So the search began… I found some organic cat food at local store, Food For Thought, that looked promising. I began mixing a bit of the Fancy Feast canned food with this in hopes of gradually changing him over. Did I mention Baxter is also a smart cat and not easily fooled? He would have no part of this new food regimen and meowed constantly for something to eat. In my desperation to feed him and keep him quiet, (where was the kitty laryngitis when I needed it?) I began purchasing chicken gizzards or cheap cuts of stew meat from the grocer’s meat case and cooking those for him. This is something he would eat… but my continued research showed cats needed more than a pure protein diet. For instance, calcium is an essential nutrient for having a healthy cat. I didn’t want to solve one problem while creating another. (As shown in this picture, we did have to discontinue his Wheat Beer drinking too…)

Continuing my search, I found other manufactured cat foods that seem to work, such as Meow Mix and Whiskas. I also found a dry organic cat food that seemed to help. With a lot of work, Baxter is now eating these new foods. He occasionally still cries for his “milk-fix,” which I accommodate with Whiskas CatMilk. This CatMilk claims to be 98% lactose free and filled with calcium. Apparently there are other cats who cannot tolerate whole milk.

Baxter has an occasional flare-up of gulping and sneezing, but less all the time and the severity has decreased greatly. Baxter still misses his Wheat Beer, but is adjusting.

Strive to be healthy!

Battling Nasal and Sinus Congestion

Who can keep track of all the things that cause sinus congestion? I certainly can’t, because it can range from seasonal allergies, to a common cold, to chronic sinusitis. Whatever the cause, I am always working to battle the condition without taking prescription or over-the-counter medications.

My greatest challenge is bed time when I lie down. Once in a horizontal position, my sinuses begin to fill up and I have difficulty breathing through my nose. This not only interrupts my sleep, but my husband’s as well because I tend to snore. I know it’s hard to imagine, but I must confess that I can snore with the best of them. But, it’s all due to nasal congestion.

Last fall a friend introduced me to a natural remedy; an herbal aromatherapy oil used in your nose called Nasosympatico, containing a mixture of almond, eucalyptus, peppermint, thyme, and lavender oils. The inexpensive 1-ounce bottle I have was purchased online through Wise Woman Herbals, although I have recently had problems on their website. I searched other sites and found it available through PureFormulas.

I dip a Q-tip into the bottle for a small amount of oil and then swab the inside of my nose. This is recommended up to three times per day. At three times per day, my nose seemed to get a bit dry and was uncomfortable. I cut back to using the oil once daily just prior to bedtime and it works great. The scent is naturally pleasant and keeps me breathing easily through the night. Here’s to a good night’s sleep and no snoring…

Strive to be healthy!


With cool, dry weather fast approaching, I thought it may be good to re-post this blog from February 2012…

Are you getting shocked every time you touch something in your home… or scaring a pet when you reach to pet them and they get hit with a bolt of electricity… or is your hair out of control because you can’t rid it of static electricity… or are your clothes clinging in all the wrong places? Well, the answer is simple to de-electrify your home or office… simply put moisture in the air, better known as humidity.

During the cold winter months when the air in your home or office is too dry, in addition to static electricity you may experience a dry throat and nose, respiratory problems, nagging cough, dry skin, and have uncomfortable pets because of itchy skin. Adding moisture to the air will solve all these problems and make everyone more comfortable.

The process of adding moisture to the air is simple, a small humidifier is all you need. There are many models available at Walgreens, Walmart, Target, or any general department store. The unit doesn’t have to be big or intrusive, but can be small enough to be out of the way on the floor or set on a small table.

Most problems begin to occur in October or November when the weather turns cold and will continue until things warm up again around March. I run my humidifier in my bedroom during the night for these winter months to help me sleep better and wake up feeling hydrated and ready for the day. Humidity in your home should be 30% to 50% and you can measure this if desired. But, you’ll be able to tell when the humidity is right because the problems will disappear and you’ll be comfortable. (If you reach the point where you have moisture collecting on your windows, the humidity is probably too high and you can cut back on running the humidifier).

So, if you’re experiencing some of the symptoms of dry air this winter, use a humidifier to make yourself, your pets, and everyone in your home more comfortable.

Strive to be healthy!