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Asthma and Allergy Foundation Helps New First-Dad Keep His First Promise
Date:12/1/2008

Group Donates 'Asthma & Allergy Friendly' Toy Puppies to the Obama Daughters

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Much has been made of President-Elect Obama's first promise: to get a family dog. But concerns about his daughter's asthma and allergies, and timing issues, have kept the new first-dad from making a decision. So, in the meantime, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is donating 2 "asthma & allergy friendly" toy puppies to the Obama children.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20081202/DC49085)

The special stuffed toys sent this week -- a Jack Russell Terrier and a Yellow Labrador Retriever -- are examples of many that have recently been tested and certified by AAFA to be more suitable for children with asthma and allergies.

To be certified by the Foundation, plush toys are put through rigorous laboratory testing including a review of raw textiles, chemicals, dyes, stitching, stuffing and other materials. Testing also includes dust mite exposure measurements, washability and durability.

"Real dogs can cause serious problems for people with asthma and allergies," according to Bob Overholt, MD, a board certified allergist in Knoxville and host of the "Dr. Bob Show" on the AmericanLife TV Network. "When inhaled into the nose and lungs, dog dander can trigger sneezing, coughing, wheezing and other symptoms that make breathing difficult," says Overholt. "Regular stuffed toys can cause problems as well, since they can harbor dust mites and harsh chemicals that trigger asthma and allergy symptoms."

"Finding toys that are more suitable for kids with asthma and allergies is the right way to go," says Yucynthia Jean-Louis, chair of AAFA's national board of directors. "The asthma & allergy friendly(TM) Certification, a scientific-based program, was created to help families -- including First-Families -- make more informed decisions."

Tips for Pet Owners

The Obama family is not alone -- more than 20 million Americans have asthma, and 50 million have allergies, making them two of the most common chronic diseases in the U.S. Unfortunately, there are no "allergen-free" dogs, but some simple steps can help to make life with dogs easier if you have asthma and allergies:

  • Keep pets out of the bedroom and off of beds at all times to minimize dog dander accumulation.
  • Separately wash human and dog bedding weekly in 130-degree hot water to remove dust mites and dog dander.
  • Wipe pets after being outdoors to remove loose pollen from their coats.
  • Don't allow dogs to play with the kids' plush toys.

Visit www.asthmaandallergyfriendly.com to learn more.

About AAFA

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1953. AAFA conducts health education, supports patient advocacy, and funds research to find better treatments and cures. The asthma & allergy friendly(TM) Certification Program is a joint project of Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and Allergy Standards Limited (ASL). The toys sent to the Obama's were manufactured by Kids Preferred, Inc.


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SOURCE The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
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