I will never forget the night my 12 year old woke me at midnight after waking with a swollen lip. At first glance I thought perhaps she had hit herself in the face and hadn’t noticed. Yet within an hour it had near doubled in size. I pulled out the liquid Benadryl and starting making calls.
What I didn’t know then was that night was the beginning of a long haul in allergy diagnostics. Two days later she woke yet again with another swollen lip, only the second time her entire body was covered in a mysterious red spotted rash.
The rash led to hives and the hives led to painful red skin. In fact at any given moment any one, or combination of these symptoms would randomly appear.
What began as a seemingly harmless swollen lip led us from Urgent Care to ER to allergist where they ran a series of tests to determine the source of her swelling and rashes. To my surprise, and that of the allergists, my daughter was allergic to EVERYTHING!
They had tested her for environmental allergies, food allergies and outdoor allergies. When everything came back positive I was shocked. You can imagine my relief when the allergist began to explain which allergens were more likely to cause her symptoms based on reaction. It was obvious that her allergies to dust, pollens and grasses had the highest reaction indicating they were likely the real cause of her symptoms.
Now that we knew the cause it was time to develop a plan for treatment!
The Simple Approach to Manage Airborne Allergens:
Each of the allergens impacting my daughter were categorized as airborne, meaning they float in the air we breathe and gain access to our bodies after being inhaled. I knew to minimize her symptoms I needed to focus on one key factor, the air!
Reducing the amount of grass and pollens she inhaled was rather simple. We paid attention to the pollen count, installed special screens that filtered these allergens out and avoided over exposure to the great outdoors.
My bigger challenge was dealing with dust mites as I knew very little about them and even less on how to control them. I began by studying up on these critters and exactly how they cause allergies. To my surprise everything revolved around the bed! This explains why she had so many late night flares.
To reduce dust mite allergens I had to purchase special mattress and pillow encasements that trapped the mites, and their waste, preventing them from floating in the air. Next I removed stuffed animals from her room, thoroughly vacuumed the carpets and finished up with an allergy quilt for that extra protection.
I have to be honest the results weren’t instant. In fact I began to question if my efforts were even worth it considering she was still having reactions weeks after implementing my new strategies. My worries were quickly put to ease when the allergist explained that it takes time for the body to fully eradicate allergens and that given some time her symptoms will subside. He was right and my daughter started sleeping peacefully again!
Photo by clearallergy