Ask an Allergist: Can I have seasonal allergies in the winter?

HEDBERG color logo 2017 200I’m used to dealing with allergy symptoms in the spring and fall, but why am I still having trouble with them in the winter? Isn’t all the pollen gone? Do rapid temperature fluctuations (like unseasonably warm days in winter) cause allergy symptoms to come back?   

Response by Dr. Matt C Bell, MD – Board Certified Allergist of Hedberg Allergy & Asthma Center

The easiest answer to this question, and the most likely, is that what you’re dealing with is not allergy-related at all. While there are some allergens that persist through the winter (dog, cat, dust mite, and cockroach, for example), winter should be a time when we have a bit of a respite from outdoor allergies.

tissue boxWe will occasionally see some outdoor allergens: outdoor mold levels spike during unseasonably warm, windy days and pollen from cedar trees peaks in the wintertime. Outside of those things, however, winter is typically a time of relief for those suffering from classic spring/fall pollen allergies.

The most likely culprit for the nasal congestion and cough that present this time of year is a viral upper respiratory infection. While viruses can (and do) spread any time of the year, they spread more readily in winter. Two key factors influence this: 1) Cold air causes constriction of blood vessels in the nose leading to slower response from immune cells to the site of initial infection;  2) Drier air in the winter time causes viruses suspended in water vapor (from a cough or sneeze) to stay airborne longer, potentially infecting more people.

The absence of sneezing and itchy eyes can help differentiate a viral respiratory infection, or cold, from symptoms caused by allergies. While there are no great treatments for viral respiratory infections, it may be worthwhile to see your primary care doctor if symptoms persist longer than 10-14 days. If your symptoms do include classic allergy signs like sneezing or itchy nose/eyes, it may be worthwhile to see an allergist as there are effective treatments for allergy-induced nasal symptoms.

Dr. BellDr. Matt C. Bell is one of the Board Certified Allergists practicing at Hedberg Allergy & Asthma Center, with locations in Rogers and Fayetteville. The clinic diagnoses and treats asthma, allergic rhinitis and other diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract, drug and insect hypersensitivity, latex allergy, hives, allergic skin disease, recurrent infections and congenital immunologic deficiencies. Hedberg Allergy & Asthma Center was ranked No. 1 in the category of “Best Allergy Clinic” in the most recent Mom-Approved Awards, as voted by mothers in Northwest Arkansas. Click here to visit the clinic’s website or call 479-464-8887 (Rogers) or 479-301-8887 (Fayetteville) for more info.

Giveaway: $100 Shopping Spree at The Cannery Market

Happy Monday, mamas! This is the time of year we get the itch to do something new to the house. Maybe it’s the winter blahs that make us want to get organized, paint a few walls, or find a new favorite piece of furniture we can’t wait to bring home.

So this week we’re going to indulge that urge to get something new for the New Year by sending one of you to our favorite place to shop for one-of-a-kind furniture, home decor, gifts and antiques — The Cannery Market in Bentonville. The winner will enjoy a $100 shopping spree! (We love free shopping money!)cannery market sign1

If you haven’t seen The Cannery Market yet, you’re missing out on one of the coolest vintage shops in NWA. We know the owner, Jennifer Hansen, personally and there’s no one better at finding those amazing, high-quality pieces that only get better and more interesting with time. These are the kinds of pieces (old and new) that tell their own story and make a room feel special. As Jennifer puts it, the shop “specializes in uniques.”

Jennifer and her husband source almost everything in the store (it’s not a flea market). This means they’re constantly refreshing the store’s inventory with carefully curated and beautifully staged pieces at great prices. Each time you shop there, it’s a new adventure. If you’re looking for inspiration, wander through and get ideas from how she’s staged each room. (They do offer design services, too.)

If you like affordable, unique pieces you don’t see at chain stores, this is your kind of place. There’s nothing “cookie cutter” about it. (Follow The Cannery Market on Facebook and Instagram to see some of the newest arrivals. Just be aware that things can sell FAST once they’re seen online so you’ve got to pounce on them quickly.)

To see all the awesome in person, swing by the shop Wednesday — Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4:30 p.m. (Cannery Market is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.) Call Jennifer at 225-1808 if you’re hunting for something specific. 

Here are a few of Jennifer’s favorite pieces that came through The Cannery Market doors during the past year. Scroll down to see how to throw your name in the shopping spree giveaway drawing.

IMG_2877We had a big crush on this distressed, white Ethan Allen bench. Classic, timeless, lovely.

IMG_2880Each piece is interesting alone and together they are stunning.

IMG_2878As self-confessed “word nerds,” we’re loving this original Underwood Typewriter case, which was re-purposed as a side table on casters. Genius!

cannery1How many places have things like a vintage, four-pane window? Special find.

 HOW TO ENTER: To throw your name in the online hat to win the $100 Shopping Spree at The Cannery Market, click the word “comment” located right under the headline of this post. Then scroll down and add your comment by telling us what you’d love to find at The Cannery Market OR what piece shown here is your favorite. (Winners are always chosen at random.)

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emailINCREASE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING: Help us spread the word about this giveaway by emailing your friends and family about the giveaway. We’ll give you an extra chance to win for every person you tell. Just be sure to put giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com on the CC line of your note so we can give you proper credit.

You can also earn extra chances to win by being one of our newsletter readers. Newsletter subscribers get free access to the good stuff, including exclusive giveaways (like this one), information about local events, local mom interviews, recipes and more.

The nwaMotherlode newsletter is delivered straight to your inbox so you don’t miss anything awesome. CLICK HERE to sign up. We won’t fill your inbox with info, no worries. We only send out newsletters when there’s something in it for you — and we know you’ll be interested in hearing about it.

BE SOCIAL: You can also earn extra chances to win by commenting on our Facebook page, following us on Twitter or following us on Instagram. If you do any of those, just mention it in your comment or email so we can give you proper credit.

For more info about The Cannery Market, click HERE to visit the shop on Facebook. Watch your inbox because we’ll notify the winner via email by Friday.

 

Giveaway: Professional organizing from The Organizer Chicks!

Mamas, we are SO excited about this week’s giveaway because we know it’s something that almost all of us have wished for at one time or another. If you’ve ever fantasized about how great it would be to have a Professional Organizer come over and help you finally get your house in order — organized in a way that truly works for you and your family — this is the giveaway that could make it come true.organizerchicks

We’re hosting a giveaway from our friends at The Organizer Chicks that includes:

  • Initial consultation
  • Four-hour work session with TWO Professional Organizers
  • (Total of EIGHT hours of professional organizing which equals a $480 value!)

For many of us, one of our goals for the New Year is to get our homes and organizing methods in better shape so we can get more done and enjoy clean spaces that don’t make us feel stressed. One of the best ways to finally make that happen is to let someone who is truly gifted in this area come over and not only come up with a plan but help you make it happen. That’s what Professional Organizers do. (And they can do a LOT in four hours. Check out this before and after photo that happened after only two hours.)

before-after-closet1As owner Amber Taggard pointed out in our recent interview, some people feel guilty for needing a Professional Organizer’s help. But the reality is that we moms hire professionals all the time. Would you feel guilty for hiring an electrician to come over and fix a broken fuse box? Nope. The electrician knows things we don’t know and has specialized training in his area of expertise. Professional Organizers are also specifically trained to put rooms and/or entire homes in order as well as develop new systems and routines that will help you KEEP that organization intact.

organizer1Electricians don’t judge you for a broken fuse, and Professional Organizers don’t judge you for a cluttered space. They are simply happy for the opportunity to transform a space and make a positive difference for their client.

HOW TO ENTER: To throw your name in the online hat to win this giveaway valued at $480, click the word “comments” (located right under the headline of this post). Then scroll down to the bottom of the posted comments.

Then add your own comment telling us which space in your house you’d love to have transformed by two of the Organizer Chicks. Why did you pick that space? (Would it be your kitchen? Bedroom? Garage? Kids’ playroom? Home office, etc?)

You can also email your answer to us at giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com.

As always, the giveaway winner will be chosen AT RANDOM and notified via email. (Watch your inbox!)

Once the organization work is complete, we’ll share that person’s experience and before and after photos here on nwaMotherlode.com, so fellow moms can read about and see what professional organizing in action really looks like.

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emailINCREASE YOUR ODDS OF WINNING: Help us spread the word about this giveaway by emailing your friends and family about the giveaway. We’ll give you an extra chance to win for every person you tell. Just be sure to put giveaways@nwaMotherlode.com on the CC line of your note so we can give you proper credit.

You can also earn extra chances to win by being one of our newsletter readers. Newsletter subscribers get free access to the good stuff, including exclusive giveaways (like this one), information about local events, local mom interviews, recipes and more.

The nwaMotherlode newsletter is delivered straight to your inbox so you don’t miss anything awesome. CLICK HERE to sign up. We won’t fill your inbox with info, no worries. We only send out newsletters when there’s something in it for you — and we know you’ll be interested in hearing about it.

BE SOCIAL: You can also earn extra chances to win by commenting on our Facebook page, following us on Twitter or following us on Instagram. If you do any of those, just mention it in your comment or email so we can give you proper credit.

For more info about The Organizer Chicks, click HERE to visit the website or click HERE to read our recent interview with the owner, Amber Taggard.

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Fayetteville Athletic Club’s New Year offer: $500 in free services

Mamas, most of us know that, depending on what you’re buying, there is a good time of year to do it — a window of opportunity that saves you more money. Experts say the best time to buy a car is at the end of summer, for example. But if you’re shopping for a gym, this is the time of year to do it because the incentives are GREAT.facad

One of our sponsors, Fayetteville Athletic Club, gave us a heads-up about their current offer which applies to anyone who becomes a member by January 31, 2017. New members get more than $500 in Club Services. (Just fyi… Fayetteville Athletic Club was named one of the “Best Places to Work Out” by women who voted in the 2016 Mom-Approved Awards.)

Here’s an outline of what the free services include:

  • $60 value: One month of WAYMO cross-training classes (designed for people who want to get in the best shape of their life) 30 class times per week
  • $120 value: Two, one-hour private tennis lessons with instructor
  • $140 value: Two, one-hour personal training sessions
  • $68 value: 1 week of after-school child care (offered Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m.)
  • $139 value: 1 week of preschool for 1 child (ages 1 – 5 years old, offered Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.)
  • $50 off: Any Med-Spa service (includes BOTOX, Juvederm or Skin Pen treatments)
  • $20 off: Spray Tan
  • $20 off: Facial
  • $20 off: Massage Therapy

Note: All program certificates are non-transferable and must be redeemed by February 28, 2017.belly-2354_640-2

If you’re already serious about making this the year you get in better shape, you might as well give yourself the extra perks that come with this type of offer. (When is the last time you had free child care and time to work on yourself with a free personal trainer?) Those kinds of gifts don’t come along every day.

Go by the gym if you’d like to try it out for a few days while you decide, but if you’re interested in membership, be sure to do it before January 2017 ends so you won’t miss out on the $500 in free services.

If you have questions about the gym or the New Year offer, call them at 479-587-0500. The gym is located at 2920 East Zion Road in Fayetteville.

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Sponsor Spotlight: The Organizer Chicks

Mamas, we met Amber Taggard years ago when her new business, The Organizer Chicks, was just a baby and she had become a mama to her first baby. Her business has taken off like a rocket since then, and when you read this Q&A, you’ll know why. Her life’s work is about so much more than putting “stuff” in order. She’s about helping people in ways that give them more peace, calm, joy and time for things that truly matter to them.  We’re happy to share this sponsor interview because Amber is a “chick” you should definitely get to know.organizerchicks

Has organizing always come easily to you or is it a skill you developed over time?

I’d say that the desire for organization came naturally for me. I’m a typical oldest child in many ways — social, driven, and someone who likes and appreciates rules and processes. I learned early in life that I not only felt better, but thought more clearly and was more productive in an environment that was orderly.

My formal education — a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Masters of Science in Clinical Mental Health  — paired with my experiences helped me to develop the skills and the insight necessary to do what Professional Organizers do best, which is to help people make decisions and set up processes that they know they need to, but likely wouldn’t do on their own.

What made you want to begin your own professional organizing business? What was that first year of business like?

I was several years into a career in Higher Education, which I loved, before I started The Organizer Chicks. I traveled extensively and had a lot of job satisfaction, but finally, after a years-long attempt to start a family, my stork2husband and I were excitedly expecting our first child — a now-6-year-old named Ryan. Suddenly the thought of getting on one more plane or staying one more night in a hotel was more than I could bear, and I knew that it was time to make a change.

I wanted to do something I genuinely loved and enjoyed, something that Northwest Arkansas would have a demand for, and something that would use my skills and education to benefit my fellow man. And ultimately, I wanted to have a real, meaningful career that could work around my new most-important-job-ever job: Mom. One of these days I’ll have to thank Ryan (and now his siblings Evan and Lana) for giving me the the drive to be brave and jump into the unknown! Six years and 16 employees later, I’m so grateful I made that scary, but important decision to quit my job and start my career.

My first year of business obviously coincided with my first year of Motherhood, and while there was a lot for me to learn about finding the right balance and running a business, I was thrilled to see business take off right from the start. One woman’s transformed craft room led to her friend’s organized home office, which led to her co-worker’s overhauled pantry, and so on. When you can help someone feel and function better inside the walls of their own home, that’s powerful, and word of mouth helped a momentum start to grow, and an official Facebook page soon followed.

One of my early struggles was that most people in middle-America have often never heard of, much less met or hired, a Professional Organizer. Mine is a field that many people only ever see on HGTV, or “Hoarders,” and I think there can sometimes be a stigma attached. People often reach out only after unsuccessfully trying on their own to get (and stay!) organized, and they call us feeling like they’re a failure, but here’s the truth — each of us have different strengths and weaknesses, and any one of my clients is going to be fantastic at 10 things that I just have no skill for.

That’s why we need each other –  we lend our strengths to others who have weakness in a certain area, and vice versa, and we trade this thing called the dollar for that strength. There’s no shame in needing an electrician, a personal trainer, or a real estate agent — all of these people have specialized skills and training to help you get from Point A to Point B, and a good Professional Organizer is no different. The judgement stays out, and the help comes in.

Some people think organizing is just about putting “stuff” in order, but there are often a lot of emotions (anxiety, fear, guilt, nostalgia, etc.) attached to the things people keep. How do you help clients untangle the emotions that can keep them drowning in too much stuff?

One of the things I like most about my job is that no two days are alike, and that’s largely because no two clients are alike. We keep things for a wide variety of reasons, and often someone who can easily get rid of even the black-cardigannicest of handwritten thank you cards just can’t seem to part with those 12 black cardigans collecting dust in their closet. For most people, however, I find that keeping most often boils down to emotional attachments.

The woman with the 12 black cardigans doesn’t look at that collection and see cotton-poly bends, she remembers the pride she felt when she wore cardigan #1 to her college graduation. She recalls the love and heartache she experienced when she wore #2 to her beloved grandmother’s funeral. And so-on. Particularly with women, clothing is especially tied to memories. Perhaps it’s the intimate nature of our clothing, as it hugs our curves and walks through our experiences with us, but this is a category that is repeatedly difficult for my clients to cull.

I lean heavily on my formal education in Counseling Psychology, and we practice a lot of what might be called “tough love.” We remind the client of the goals they said that they had for the particular space, and ask whether the keeping of this item or that gets them closer to, or keeps them further from, their goals.

We also work with our clients a lot on remembering that what we truly want to keep often isn’t the item itself, it’s the memory that the item evokes. Clients often need to feel that they have permission to let go of things, and we help them to relinquish what’s only serving as a memory-jogger by capturing that memory in another (preferably smaller and/or digital) format. For instance, we would suggest that a client set up a photo shoot with the beautiful handmade quilts that are sitting in boxes in their attic and make a coffee table book, complete with journal notes about who made each quilt, and where and when. Capture who the people were and what they meant to you. Then honor them — the quilt and the quilt maker — by giving the quilts as a donation to a local  shelter so that they can keep someone warm tonight.

You’ll feel a thousand pounds lighter, and you’ll have blessed someone else while you were at it.

Tell us about one of your favorite before and after stories and what kind of impact it had on your client.

The saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” certainly applies to Professional Organization, but one of my stand-out favorite before and after stories can’t be seen in photos. It’s the story of a mom who had a very busy life with her husband, children, an in-law in the home, and a taxing corporate job. Because of the demands on her time, she felt that she couldn’t possibly accomplish all of her work during the typical work week, and had, emoji clockfor years, been working Monday through Saturday.

Over the course of several weeks we worked space by space, item by item through her home, identifying processes and habits along the way that were leading to not only inefficient use of space, but inefficient use of time. (I find that there is nearly always an overlap in physical organization and time management, and that was certainly the case in this situation.) When we were finished with our sessions, not only was their home more functional, easier to clean, and more peaceful, but I had been able to create for her a Master Schedule that allowed her to see that she could, with better planning and organization, reclaim her Saturdays for herself and her family.

It’s experiences like these that remind me of what an honor it is to do what I do for a living, and how much I appreciate my clients, who let us into their personal spaces — their homes, their tax records, their calendars – in order to get the help they need.

Which room of the house is your favorite one to organize and why?

Some of my employees love kitchens the most, some love home offices, but I’d have to say master closets are my personal favorites, and specifically, the women’s side of the closet. As you can imagine, I’ve seen hundreds rp_clothes-hangers-582212_640-300x200.jpgand hundreds of women’s closets at this point, and unfortunately, I often find that the rod space is jam-packed full of clothing that just flat out doesn’t fit anymore, and often because it’s too small.

So walk with me through the morning’s events… You wake up, stretch, and decide to get dressed and tackle the day. You walk into your closet and find that not only are the items that do fit you hidden and hard to get to, but they’re being overwhelmed with all the clothing that used to fit you. When you were younger. When you were smaller. When you were better. Someone is calling you fat first thing every morning, and that person is you.

I love working in women’s closets because it’s an opportunity for me to go through these items one-by-one with ladies and really assess whether that precious rod space is being used for the pieces that work for us, or if it’s a heckling ground for the sizes of years gone by to remind us that we’re not where we think we should be. Rod space is for what fits our bodies here and now — what we look good in, feel good in, and would purchase all over again if we were in the store today. Taking those taunting size 4′s off the rod and putting them in a bin that can sit quietly at the top of your closet doesn’t mean you’re abandoning your goals or will never be that size again, but it does mean that between now and the time you achieve that goal, you can start your morning with positive feelings and with the efficiency of a rod of clothing that you know you can select from.

If you could give moms only one piece of advice that would make the biggest difference in their ability to stay more organized, what would it be?

Ultimately, the simplest route between chaotic and calm is to have less, and while this is true for every room and every age range, I would particularly encourage Moms to give their kids the gift of less.

toy-115485_640-2Think of a time when you’ve had what felt like an insurmountable work load staring at you. Those overwhelming feelings are not unique to adults –  children can and do feel them, too, they’re just not equipped to recognize and articulate them. I encourage a 1:1 ratio of minutes to years when it comes to toys.

For example, a 4-year old needs to have access to no more toys than it takes her 4 minutes to clean up by herself (after a few days of “training” with Mom or Dad, of course), and there are several good reasons for this: We want to set up our children for success; We want to help our children develop intrinsic motivation to be tidy; and we want to allow children the blessing of boredom.

Boredom is too often treated as a terrible enemy to be avoided at all cost, but keeping the number of available toys lower keeps kids from “toy hopping” — jumping from one exciting new figurine or gadget to the next without any deep, extended, imaginative play. Boredom is the breeding ground of new and creative ideas, and it also is an important departure from a society that says we must be stimulated at all times. Constant media, increased consumerism, and the increase in diagnoses of ADHD all correlate, and it’s no surprise.

It’s worth noting that you don’t necessarily have to get rid of the toys that push you above and beyond the 1:1 ratio. Feel free to keep a bin or two of excess toys out of the reach (and sight!) of your kiddo, and swap the toys out from time to time. This will keep the toys fresh and exciting while still keeping the task of clean up doable.

Note from the Mamas: We’re going to keep picking Amber’s brain for organizing advice over the next few months, so be sure to watch for those upcoming posts. And next week, we’ll host an AWESOME giveaway from The Organizer Chicks that you do NOT want to miss. Look for it on Monday, January 16th. Until then, get more info about what Amber’s company offers by clicking here.

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