Allergies and Asthma: How to Cope When it’s Your Child

Parenting demands a lot from our time and abilities. From teaching our children to protecting them our job is a never done.  When you have a child with allergies and asthma that demand multiplies again and again.

I know I take great pride in being a mother. It is the most important job I will ever have. But when my second child was born with asthma I was terrified of the job I had so greatly prized. Soon after she turned one that fear grew as we learned she was suffering from multiple allergies that were only complicating her asthma.

What had already been an exhausting year seemed to lead right into another one. We were already battling weekly asthma attacks and daily respiratory episodes. I knew adding allergies to the mix was a death sentence.

Then a not so obvious light came on; perhaps we weren’t adding allergies. Rather we may have just discovered why she was having so much trouble with her breathing!

Allergies Impact on Asthma Symptoms

15 years ago I didn’t know a thing about asthma or allergies. I was smack in the middle of it with an infant that seemed to require medical intervention more often than not.  As time allowed I read through the information packets sent home by her pediatrician, I asked questions and sought out other parents who had been through a similar situation.

All my efforts paid off as I began to pinpoint how my daughter’s allergies were in fact causing her respiratory reactions. For us there were two primary triggers, or causes, that led to an asthma attack; house dust mites and pet dander from our cats.

Here’s how it works. When an allergic child inhales particles from dust mites or dander the immune system kicks into overdrive. This leads to an inflammation in the respiratory tracts, which in turns triggers the production of mucus. For the asthmatic child this mucus and inflammation triggers an attack.

Taking the Stress Out of Childhood Asthma

This knowledge was all I needed to cope with my daughter’s breathing complications and make her life less burdensome.  It was as simple as taking 3 steps to control her allergy to mites and dander.

  1. Clean Up Her Room. The most important step I had to take was to clean up her room to remove any lingering dust and dander.  I purchased an allergy barrier to put over her mattress, removed her curtains and stuffed animals, thoroughly vacuumed her floor and kept all hard surfaces dust free.
  2. Create a “cat room”. This was my most challenging job in minimizing allergens in the home. I picked the extra bedroom to be our cat’s room. This became the only room in the house where the cat would spend the bulk of her days with freedom to come see us when she was napping.
  3. Buy an Air Purifier. The final touch was to purchase a high quality air purifier that was designed to clean dust and dander from the air. I put a small one in her bedroom and a larger one in main area of our home.

Within a couple months of my new allergy control routine I noticed a difference in the frequency of respiratory complications. After just six months I was proud to say we were down to fewer than 2 asthma attacks a month.  I was enjoying my role as mom again without the stress and overwhelm of the uncertainty of uncontrolled asthma.

If your child suffers from asthma you may find that focusing your efforts on allergy management is exactly what you need.

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