Monday, February 25, 2008

Preventing Allergy Triggers Indoors

Our Cornflower has always been a little sniffledy at times, and we have known for awhile that she has environmental allergies. but lately she has had more and more trouble with it-- the most recent manifestation being hives and angioedema, poor girl. We are taking steps to help her breathe more easily and itch less. Needless to say, I have been reading up on allergy triggers and prevention. In fact, this afternoon after a visit to the allergist and the lab (she was so brave) Mr. Honey and I decided that now is the best time for our spring break/exam week-- we were planning it for two weeks from now, but I just couldn't concentrate on helping the kids with their schoolwork anymore, knowing there were dust mites loose in my house harassing my baby. I gathered the kids, told them the plan and gave them free choice as far as how they want to demonstrate what they learned this term at the end of the week. We are going to have a recital of sorts on Saturday evening, so I do not have to administer exams. Dust mites, beware! I know where you live.

She has both indoor and outdoor allergies (dust mites, pet dander, molds, weeds, trees, grasses). Here are the steps we are in the process of implementing indoors, which seems to be the bigger problem at this point:

1. Launder the sheets in hot water at least once or twice a week. (I am not clear on whether we should launder the blankets, quilts or comforters that often, but I suspect we ought.)

2. Vacuum the carpet. Every day. (Every day? Every day.) Or, better yet, get hard flooring. (I expect hard floors need to be dust-mopped once a day. Or perhaps it can be done every other day?)

3. Encase the mattresses and pillows in dust-mite-proof mattress covers. (Not cheap, but it beats having to replace the mattress.)

4. Dust two to three times per week, using a dusting spray (these are sprays that attract dust to your cloth so it actually sticks).

5. Limit the number of stuffies in the bedroom (Cornflower shares a room with Mariel, so I let them choose three apiece, and the rest went in a sealed bag in the closet. This was a Trying Moment for the girls, as this multitude of dust-mite attractors are no mere stuffed animals, but People in their Games. This is why the loveys went into a sealed bag in the closet instead of to the local charitable thrift store, amid promises to switch them out at regular intervals.)

6. Purchase a reusable electrostatic air filter and clean it regularly.

7. Keep the temperature in the house cool and dry (dust mites thrive in warm, humid environments).

8. Keep the windows closed (We actually chose the model of home we have because of the position of the windows-- a lovely breeze goes through the entire house when you open the right ones. But Cornflower needs to at least be able to escape pollens inside her own home, and we can go outside if we want breezes).

9. Keep Thumper outside (there was great sorrow in our household when this was proclaimed).

There are other things we could be doing, but these will definitely keep us busy for awhile. We didn't clean our house nearly this much before (and that is probably part of the problem).

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