8 effective ways to deal with your child’s asthma
Hard to believe, but the holiday season is just around the corner. This is the time of year that I used to dread – not because of the stress associated with the holidays, but because of my worry about the impending cold and flu season. As a mom to two daughters with asthma, the first sign of a runny nose sent me into a full panic mode. It was always my queue to dig the dreaded nebulizer out of the closet. The long awaited season ahead was guaranteed to be celebrated in between visits to the doctor and pharmacy.
In fact, we rang in 2010 while crowding around my daughter’s hospital bed at a local hospital. Fast forward a few years. The holiday décor has appeared in the local stores and I no longer experience an instant spike in blood pressure. I embrace the yuletide season, stress and all, with confidence that my girls will get through it without a drug prescription or last minute visit to the ER. Sure, there will be stuffy noses and the occasional sore throat, but our nebulizer is safely tucked away in the basement with other unwanted items. Our journey to asthma recovery was long and arduous, finally resulting in a total “green” home renovation and ultimately a full recovery.
The following simple steps worked for us and are a great place to start. Let’s be clear, I have no medical background at all, I’m a mom who exhausted all available resources and out of desperation forged my own path. But the below strategies are effective, simple and inexpensive so your family can start feeling better right now!
1. At the onset of a runny nose, start natural saline drops.
We found that using the drops several times a day, helped to prevent a head cold from becoming more severe. At the very least, the drops certainly made them feel more comfortable when they were suffering from congestion.
2. Invest in a HEPA air purification system.
For severe cases, a whole house system is best but the stand alone versions are also effective. We ran an air purifier in each of our girls’ bedrooms while they were sleeping. These units are quiet and break down air pollutants that can aggravate airways that are compromised.
3. Reduce dairy.
My children were addicted to dairy! Milk, yogurt and string cheese were staples in their diet at that time. It was not easy to eliminate these items completely but we slowly weaned them off, changing out one product at a time. When we cut down dairy, we did notice that the girls’ health improved – their digestion improved and they produced less mucus with a
cold and cough.
4. Remove all cleaning and laundry products that contain harsh chemicals.
We replaced all of our household products with natural, chemical free alternatives. I cringe when I see the word “fragrance” on a label – this means that chemicals have been added to make the product smell like the botanical gardens or “fresh” April showers! These fragrances are very irritating to people who suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions.
5. Do not burn scented candles or use an air freshener.
Again, “Bahama Breeze” is not a scent derived from nature. Keep it organic!
6. Eliminate the menagerie of stuffed animals from your child’s bedroom.
These cuddly creatures are magnets for germs and dust mites, not ideal roommates for your children. My girls both had “lovies” that were essential to the bedtime routine. Each child was allowed to keep one friend on the bed that I religiously washed every 3 days.
7. Vacuum your home at least 3 times a week using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Eliminating dust that contains pollutants and chemicals (including remnants of the flame retardants in your couch!) creates a healthier home for your family.
8. Open your windows throughout the day.
The exchange of fresh air in the home is always a good idea. The air quality in our homes can be 2 to 5 times (sometimes 100x’s!!) more polluted than the air outside. The chemicals in our furniture and other home products are invisible to the eye but these powerful pollutants are offgasing toxic fumes over times.
My daughters have finally overcome asthma after a substantial “green” renovation where we removed unhealthy furniture and building materials and drastically improved the indoor air quality of our home. But that’s a topic for a different post. Until next time, I hope your family stays happy and healthy!