“Achoo! Achoo!”

Um, that would be, sneezing. When my allergies attack, I’ll repeat that “achoo” about a hundred times a day. On good allergy days (and most days are), I may only sneeze 3-4 times. I guess that’s normal for me. Just ask my kids.

Guess what I’m allergic to. Have you ever seen one of these critters?

Image source: Wikipedia

It’s not something you’d see easily without a microscope. It’s a dust mite. Lovely, eh? It’s a creepy feeling just knowing that these “things” are in my pillow. Ewwww.

My kids have allergies, too- food and environmental allergies, and one of the kiddos is also highly allergic to dust mites, like me. In addition, 4 out of 5 of us in the house deal with some level of asthma, ranging from exercise-induced asthma to being on daily inhalers.

Dust mites are a common cause of allergies and asthma. And that is why we want to take steps to minimize their presence.

Here are a few ideas and tips to allergy proof your home and minimize the dust:

  • Remove carpeting from all bedrooms (we did this)
  • Use mattress and pillow allergy covers (these are in most stores now)
  • Wash bedding regularly in hot water
  • Keep shoes out of the bedroom (we keep all shoes in a shoe closet and typically do not bring shoes to any bedroom)
  • Don’t use dusters– use a damp cloth to wipe dust. Dusters just spread more dust around.
  • Replace old pillows and cover new ones with pillow protectors.
  • We’ve started replacing cardboard boxes (used for storage in the basement) with plastic bins. The boxes get dusty, but plastic bins can be wiped down and the lids shut tight, keeping insects out.
  • Declutter. Ok, I admit, this is a hard one for me, trying to keep the house decluttered. I’m still working on it! 🙂
  • Remove all stuffed animals from the kids’ room. This can be a harder one than the others, if your kids love their stuffed toys. My youngest was especially attached to his little stuffed animal friends. Usually he was allowed 1 or 2 to keep with him but no more. Now that he’s getting older, the stuffed animal dilemma is solving itself, and he no longer asks to sleep with them. He still likes to have a favorite blanket with him sometimes, but that is easy enough to wash.
  • No smoking. This isn’t a problem, since no one smokes or has plans to.
  • No pets. Well… we don’t have a pet right now. But the kids would really like a dog. I’m open to the idea, I actually wouldn’t mind a dog, if the kids would be willing to help with the care of the dog. So this one is negotiable for me. Of course, I’d have to find a dog that doesn’t shed as much. But again, we’ll have to see whether or not the allergic ones in the house can handle it. 🙂
  • Wash hair at night. Washing at night removes any allergens that have fallen in your hair during the day (pollen, dust, pet hair, grass, leaves, etc.). Makes sense. Wouldn’t always be practical to do, but a good tip to remember, especially in certain seasons of the year.

Another piece of advice that would aid in environmental allergies is to purchase locally grown honey. Eating honey made from local pollen gradually builds up the body’s immunity against the particular environmental allergens in your region. It’s kind of like a personalized allergy treatment.

That ugly dust mite picture is a motivator for me to do some of the above-mentioned cleaning tasks. What other tips do you have for maintaining a dust free or allergy free environment?


{Day 5 of Healthier Living}

path of treasure