Saturday, May 10, 2014

How We Dealt with the Allergy Trigger

It is said that allergy tests are not very accurate, especially when it comes to kids. So we got it done with two separate highly reputed dermatologists and the results were the same. We have been told that our son is highly sensitive to dust mites and tested negative to all else. Dust mites are also responsible for 80% of all asthma cases.   

Eliminating the trigger is the most important step and we work on that continuously at home. No one wants to be sleeping with mites anyway. Sadly though every home has mites, so one can only ensure it is contained. We have wooden flooring, so that was a non-issue. But floor rugs were put away. We changed all the mattresses from foam to organic mattresses which consist of 100% organic latex as the first layer, wool as the middle layer and organic coconut fiber base with organic cotton mattress covers - a mattress which had been pre-treated with neem oil and free of all chemicals. Do research the product extensively & look for product tests/ reviews by neutral parties.

Below attached links are some of the coverage by media on what dangers lurk in our beds, where we spend one-third of our lives!

The old foam mattress was just 7 months old, but dust mites thrive in foam and obviously thriving in his! - so they were thrown out along with the pillows. His duvet was down feathers and that was changed to Organic Cotton. And have medical covers over the new mattress, pillows, and comforter. Floors and all the corners of the bedrooms in the house are sprayed with Neem oil - just about 5 ml in about a liter of warm water - got it done every day for the first three months. Now we get it done just once a week. Do note that the smell of the neem oil is rather unpleasant, but it goes away after an hour or so. If you really can't cope with it, then try eucalyptus oil. But research has shown that neem oil is extremely effective, so we bear with it. Even though the mattresses are organic latex-coconut fiber, wash his mattress covers, organic cotton comforter, and all fluffy toys every week in 140-degree Fahrenheit/ 60 degrees Celsius, as dust mites die at that temperature. And change his pillow and bed covers every day religiously. We ensure that the room is all lit up with sunlight and aired out every day. We use a HEPA filter to vacuum every day and steam clean the floor. Dust mites thrive in temperatures 68 - 77-degree Fahrenheit/ 20 - 25-degree Celsius.  So we ensured the temperature within the bedrooms is set at 64-degree Fahrenheit/ 18-degree Celsius - it is a system that also combines an air filter and dehumidifier, as dust mites need humidity to survive. We also got floor heating done. Containing dust mites is something we seem to have successfully done, as he does not react to it at home.  

To contradict what was just said of taking away the trigger, we have started the exercise to re-introduce him to mites  - take him to places where they thrive - but will do it in a phased out manner over the coming years. So initially it will be once in 3 months for just half hour, then once a month for an hour or so, then every week. Example: let him join his older brother for horse riding, jumping on hay stacks etc.! He has had one such session and he hardly reacted - just a bit on the face, then it was gone within a day. Will keep you all informed, a year or two from now, if we do succeed and he can happily play in these environments on a regular basis, like the others in our family. We are hoping that in about a year or so, our boy is strong enough from the inside and is desensitized to dust mites; and that we don't have to worry about some of these new routines anymore. Yes, a future of a regular long leisurely soak in a bath tub without the rice starch; rolling around with the pets (which he still currently does - there is no stopping him, as he loves his cat and dog); horse riding; swimming; and finally just a regular cleaning of the home and not this fanatical cleaning I currently do on a day to day basis. All other changes are a keeper! 

Far fetched?? Maybe not :) 

One more thing - we all know that the clothing material matters. We always ensured that it is organic cotton even prior. But now the first layer of garment that makes direct contact with the skin for my little one is made of derma silk. We got his night jumpsuits in derma-silk. We are now convinced that it is far superior to even organic cotton and it truly helps.