droppings, dust, or dander


I guess I had my fill of Vivienne’s allergies the upteenth night that she woke up sneezing and moaning (loudly) until either Ryan or I came in to help her wipe her nose.

“What was so special about the upteenth night?” you may ask. Well, it just so happens that it was the night that Vivienne was up all night long and Lia slept all night long. To top it all off, it was also the night before V woke up with one of those very red, very sore little noses that has been blown and rubbed one-too-many times.

That night, something beautiful happened to me. A zeal for annihilating allergies consumed my whole mother-being.

I ransacked Google for all kinds of information, searching: “sneezing children”, “red noses”, and “children deliberately alternating task of keeping parents awake”. Until that fateful upteenth night, I just assumed that the two months of Vivienne’s runny nose, sneezing, and itchy eyes indicated seasonal allergies. I was now enlightened and impassioned to eliminate all possibilities of all allergens. Dust mites and dander suddenly became suspicious culprits.

Ensuing “To Do” list:

* Boil curtains

* Boil bedding – all of it

* Buy/ use dye- and fragrant- free laundry detergent

* Toss pillow in the garbage (which will feel strange, but toss it anyway)

* Purchase new pillow that is feather-, down-, peanut-, and egg- free.

* Remove carpet (shoot! why didn’t I think of this earlier? this little area carpet came from the basement where the former owners kept their evil dander-filled pets whose ghosts still show up via stinky odors on damp days)

* Remove every speck of dust: ceiling fan down to the baseboards

* Remove every stuffed animal from room (Sentimentality holds no weight. Sorry, Papa Smurf.)

* Scour the small child every night before bed to remove any pollen, dust, dander, peanut, or egg residue that might cause an allergic reaction in the middle of the night

A lot of hard work for a Memorial Day holiday, but the results have been stunning: TWO WAKE-FREE, SNOT-FREE NIGHTS and a happier little girl to-boot. (Of course, Lia is suspiciously back on her faithful 3-hour nursing schedule through the night…)

Although I personally could have used these tips two months ago, here are 16 Tips to Help Kids Cope With Allergy Symptoms from WebMD

  1. Stay Inside. The best way to treat allergy symptoms is to avoid allergens to begin with, say the experts at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). So when pollen counts soar, keep kids indoors as much as possible. Pollen is usually at its peak mid-morning, early evening, and when the wind is blowing.
  2. Use Saltwater. Nasal congestion can be one of the most exhausting symptoms for children with allergies. For relief, older children might want to try nasal irrigation with a saline solution, one of the “best home remedy of all,” says Alan Goldsobel, MD, a California physician and spokesman for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. You can buy saline at the drugstore or make your own by mixing in a squirt bottle eight ounces of water to one teaspoon non-iodized salt.
  3. Stay Hydrated. All that sneezing and blowing can leave a child parched. Keep a water bottle full and close to hand and encourage your children to stay well-hydrated.
  4. Warm It Up. A hot shower or bath seems to offer allergy symptom relief for some, says Asriani Chiu, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at the College of Wisconsin, so encourage kids to enjoy a little tub time.
  5. Keep It Cool. To keep pollen out when the weather’s hot, air condition your car and home and keep windows closed.
  6. Deal With Dry Air. A little moisture in the air makes breathing easier for most, so if you suspect the air in your house is dry, you may want to turn on a humidifier. But be careful: Humidity over 40% can encourage the growth of indoor allergens like mold and dust mites.
  7. Go Cold. When itchy eyes are driving your kid crazy, try a cold compress, says Chiu, which may help reduce the itch and inflammation.
  8. Keep Your Hands to Yourself. And encourage kids to avoid rubbing their itchy eyes. Rubbing will only irritate them — and could make the itchiness even worse.
  9. Spice It Up. If your kids enjoy spicy foods, a piquant dish made with cayenne pepper, hot ginger, fenugreek, onions, or garlic may help thin mucus and clear nasal passages.
  10. Use Top Tissues. When kids’ allergies are at their peak, tender noses can get sore pretty fast. Look for tissues with lotion or other soothing additives.
  11. Rub Jelly On It. And if your child’s nose is raw and red from blowing, you can soothe their sniffer with a dab of petroleum jelly.
  12. Gargle to Relieve Sore Throats . If postnasal drip leaves your child with a sore throat, gargling with warm salt water made of 1-2 tablespoons of table salt in 8 ounces of water may ease the pain.
  13. Drink Warm Tea . Drinking more fluids can also help sooth tender throats. Try a weak tea with honey and lemon. Bonus: The steam from a piping hot cup may relieve sinus congestion, too.
  14. Get Face Time. Warm compresses applied to the face may also help soothe a child’s sinus pressure and pain.
  15. Avoid Milk. Some folks may find milk can make mucus worse, though “that’s not a proven concept,” says Goldsobel. If in doubt, it may be a good idea to steer clear of milky goodies when kids are coping with allergy symptoms.
  16. Avoid Certain Foods . If your child is allergic to ragweed, they may also have an allergic sensitivity to certain foods. Symptom-provoking foods to avoid may include bananas, melons, chamomile tea, sunflower seeds, and cucumbers.
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