As parents we never want to find ourselves at a loss when it comes to making our child feel healthy. Through education resources and seeking advice from doctors we always strive to stay ahead of our children’s health. Yet even after all my efforts, lost and helpless is exactly what I felt when my daughter had a sudden onset of allergy symptoms in the middle of the night.
I remember that night as if it were just yesterday. At 2am my 13 year old daughter wakes me to ask what is wrong with her lip. She sounded calm and matter of fact, but when I switched on the light I was anything but calm.
Her lip and the majority of the lower half of her face had swollen significantly. The obvious was that this was some form of allergy and we needed liquid Benadryl. The not so obvious, after 13 years of no allergy symptoms why had she suddenly swelled?
Living 23 years with environmental allergies myself the symptoms were no stranger to me. I had just always hoped my children would be free of allergies, and for a while I thought that they had. That night was the beginning of a challenging year for our family as my daughter was an asthmatic from birth and allergies only complicate asthma symptoms. It was crucial for us to discover her triggers and eliminate them. This was our 3 step approach to making that happen.
Step 1: Find the Cause
This was the easiest step for us as it literally was a matter of setting up an appointment with an allergist for a skin test. But for some families it’s not as simple as that. They are left to identify allergies the old fashion way, trial and error.
If you’re left to find out your child’s environmental allergy triggers without the help of an allergist the surest way to pin point triggers is through a daily journal. I recommend a 30 day journal before you sit down and pinpoint your suspected triggers for the most accuracy. Your journal needs to document:
- Every allergy symptom
- Time of day
- Activity during allergy attack
- Whether they are inside or outside
- Animal interactions
- Anything you can think of that occurred roughly one hour prior to and right up to the development of symptoms
At the end of 30 days you’ll be able to sit down and recognize a common allergen with each of your child’s allergic attacks such as pet interactions, dust exposure and potential pollens. These are your child’s allergy triggers. The next step is to discover ways to eliminate them.
Step 2: Do Your Homework
Each of my daughter’s allergens was categorized as indoor allergens so that is where I began my research. Keep in mind that different triggers may require a different amount of clean up and management. That is why step 2 is so important.
Start small. It doesn’t do much good to overwhelm yourself when you are trying to overcome a state of overwhelm. I began by asking my doctors questions about what to expect, dangers that we may have to worry about and where to prioritize my efforts. Then I hit the internet and started researching environmental allergies, management and solutions.
Step 3: Cleaning Up Your Home
I was relieved to find that controlling indoor allergens was as simple as adjusting what I used to clean, how often I cleaned and the way I cleaned. The primary tool I discovered in my research that I didn’t own was vacuums for allergies. With so many available I settled on a vacuum that not only ranked highly for allergy control but was designed with a self seal mechanism to more effectively trap allergens.
My once a week routine of dusting and vacuuming was increased to a daily frequency. I learned new ways to do my laundry and manage my pets. I invested in microfiber dust cloths and found a more efficient way to keep up on my laundry.
The final touch was to clean up the air we were breathing. It was important for me to find a purifier that cleaned allergens as small as 300 microns to cover my daughter’s dust mite allergy. It was equally important for me to not have to deal with messy filters on a regular basis. So I settled on a filter free purifier that used negative and positive ions to clean the air and effectively eliminate allergens.
And It Worked for Us
That was it. Those were the 3 steps we took to reduce the allergy triggers for my 13 year old daughter and 3 years later we are still doing them because they are effectively keeping her allergies under control.
But these are steps that worked for us. Other parents may have recommendations that they find more effective. How about you? Do you have tips on managing your child’s allergies?
About the Author:
Mikki Hogan is a proud wife and mother of 8 living in a quiet town in North Carolina and currently works as a freelance writer and guest blogger. Whether covering off topics on raising teens or outlining air purifier reviews she proudly shares her knowledge with other parents online who are looking for answers on a variety of topics.
Earnest Parenting: help for parents of children with allergies.
Image courtesy of Carolina Biological Supply Company via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.