After we discovered that our daughters have some pretty extensive food allergies, our doctor suggested that we had them tested for environmental allergies as well. We did, and lo and behold, it’s not just cake and peanut butter they need to steer clear of (I know, sad, right?!), but also dogs. And cats. And… pollen! Mold! Dust!
An encounter with a dog makes my eldest daughter break out into hives, and the latter environmental allergens will exacerbate my middle daughter’s asthma. Thus began my long journey of figuring out how to keep my girls happy and healthy.
1) Buy foam mattresses instead of spring mattresses. Foam is dense and allows for fewer dust mites to live and move and breathe.
2) Buy mattress covers. We bought special dust mite mattress covers. Warning: they’re a total pain to put on and take off, especially if your kids have bunk beds, but they keep dust mites from getting into the mattresses.
3) Limit stuffed animals. Our allergist told us each girl is allowed to sleep with one stuffed animal, and no more.
4) Make peace with your washer/dryer, because you’re going to be utilizing them a lot. Every week, we toss sheets, mattress covers, stuffed animals, duvets, and blankets, wash them on super hot and dry them on super hot.
5) Make a no-shoe rule in the house. Shoes track in dirt, pollen, dust, and Pop Tart crumbs. I know this flies in the face of some etiquette, but keep a little basket with shoes by the front door and people will take the hint.
6) Vacuum regularly. My vacuum is my BFF. We tear it up a couple of times a week, usually while listening to some early 00s hip hop. It’s a good time.
7) Put an air purifier in your home. Indoor air can actually be 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air, but a purifier to removes odors and airborne particles.
8) Keep a positive perspective. Allergies are a pain, but I’m happy to be living in an age where there is so much technology and advances in medicine available for us to utilize. In the end, my kids are happy and healthy. We just need to make a few lifestyle changes to keep them that way.