My friends and I had a fun time cross-country skiing the other day. An activity where I do not need to worry about my allergies in the least bit. And with controlled asthma I have even less to worry about. Even though I was only able to go for a short ski due to pain from injuries, I had an AMAZING time! That short ski made my day! Often times, it is the small things in life we need to embrace.
There have been several occasions when I cannot attend an event with friends, because the building the play or event is being held in, is old and dusty. There are also occasions I cannot attend a celebration or potluck dinner because the host has pets. However frustrating those instances can be in the moment, when I look at the big picture, there are many things I CAN do with friends where I don’t need to worry about my allergies. A hiking trip, a picnic on the beach (I make my own food), a bike ride or a walk along the inner harbour to watch the float planes take-off and land. Another one I like is; dinner at our place, where guests bring the wine and we make dinner.
Whenever I invite others into my SAFE & controlled home environment, I need to be sure they are not coming in clothes that are covered in pet dander. I also need to inform them not to wear strong perfumes or deodorants as these will trigger me. Most friends understand and are willing to take action. Friends who have pets will bring clothes fresh out of the dryer to change into when they arrive and avoid wearing perfume or strong smelling deodorants. I used to feel bad listing the precautions friends would need to take, to insure that my safe zone is not breached and I quickly learned that close friends will take the measures they need to, to keep me safe. There are occasions when I have felt like a burden, however I quickly learned that I am NOT a burden. And that I should never think that. Friends and family will listen. You just need to communicate with heart and honesty. Whether they understand how serious it is, or how to take precautions, well, that’s a story for another time…
If you have environmental allergies, you will want to make sure your home is a safe place. Minimizing the triggers in your home is of utmost importance, and it is harder to minimize triggers in an office or in public transit. Having a controlled home environment means that you can come home at the end of the day, to a safe place. Where your body gets some down time and is not exposed to as many triggers. Air purifiers are very good at cleaning the air in your home from those smaller particles that could be triggering you.
HEPA filters can be expensive. They usually range between $100.00 and $800.00 and in some cases, for larger houses, you may need two.
The University of Michigan Health System has come up with a short, informative video that demonstrates how you can make your own homemade filtration unit for approximately $25. I fully intend on making one myself to see how it works! Click here to view their video…
If you are allergic to dust, you may find times of the year are worst than others. In the winter when it is either very wet and rainy, or very cold and covered in snow, dust triggers will be indoors or in cars that have not been cleaned… When spring comes around, and summer, then the dust from unpaved roads, or even asphalt roads that haven’t been swept could trigger you, when walking or biking. When cars drive by, dust particles are kicked up and become airborne.
I like winter as I only need to focus on the dust inside the house and workplace. How do you control dust inside the home? We have an air purifier and use it daily. Vacuuming on a regular basis is another priority. We have a nifty vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) certified filter. This filter works by forcing air through a fine mesh that traps harmful particles such as dust mites and other triggers like tobacco smoke, pet dander (dandruff) and pollen. Does your vacuum have a HEPA filter? Weekly vacuuming is often the suggested frequency. If I had time to vacuum more often I surely would.
If you are triggered by dust in the workplace, speak to a supervisor about it. It is a health risk. Workplaces need to be clean and safe for all employees. Do not suffer in silence. The truth is that there is bound to be someone else who is also triggered by the dust. Itchy eyes, skin, runny nose, asthma can all result from dust particles. Employers should be understanding and willing to work with you.
What are your biggest concerns around controlling dust in your home, workplace or other?
About a month ago I decided to take a break from the Immunotherapy. Both the new cat and dog sublingual treatment and the dust mites that are subcutaneous (by injection). I had been reacting more than ever before to the dust mites and thought perhaps my body needed a break for the injections. I had been on the sublingual treatment for cats and dogs for a month and the oral itching seemed to be getting worse. Benadryl seemed to be the only solution, which made me EXTREMELY drowsy. In the last week, I have been reacting to dust quite a bit more than usual, and I decided to resume the subcutaneous injections for dust mites.
The sublingual immunotherapy was new for me. I like the idea of being able to take it at home, as I would have less allergist/doctor appointments than the subcutaneous injections. It seemed more convenient and I wanted to give it a try. I know that this treatment has been successful for many, though I seem to react a little differently than most people to these types of things…
Is anyone else out there using the sublingual immunotherapy? If so, is it working out for you? I’ve been informed that the oral itching usually decreases with time. Is anyone past the oral itching stage? I’d like to start it up again however I’m not quite ready for all that oral itching and antihistamine drowsiness yet…
My friend recently discovered a terrific game from the starlight children’s foundation! This fun, engaging and educational game is free. Even at 24 yrs I had fun playing! It reminds me of the Magic School bus.
Have your kids play and learn about triggers, warning signs and symptoms, proper use of asthma medication devices, peak flow monitoring and other info.
“The game combines asthma education with rich graphics, an engaging storyline and the talent of eleven top celebrities to help young people learn how to manage their asthma.” www.starlight.org/asthma/
I am always on the lookout of good kid friendly videos about living with allergies and/or asthma. Especially ones that portray how all kids should feel like they have something they can be proud of and excited about, not to feel like they are alone or so different from other kids. I just stumbled across this video, that was in the National Film Board of Canada
“Filmmaker Jonathan Ng turns the notion of otherness on its head in his semi-autobiographical animated short about young, whimsical, asthmatic Winston. As a result of his illness, Winston is unable to participate in the everyday activities of his peers and classmates. But thanks to his artistic ability and one particularly rainy afternoon, Winston learns that his imagination has the power to bridge gaps, transform and empower. Part of the Talespinners 2 collection.”
As we all know, life sometimes gets busy and we tend to veer off track slightly. Well, good news is; I’m back. I’ve been trying to come up with some interesting topics to bring up and experiences to share, and have a few good ones in store… I’m curious to know if you have questions for me, or topics you think could be valuable to bring up. If you have an idea, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve started swimming on a regular basis now and it’s amazing how far you can go when you are determined. Before swimming started up in October, I had not swam in over a year, and that was never really for an actual workout. As I had not been to the public pool in some time I did worry that I would have trouble with my asthma or allergies due to chlorine. After a little research I found out that the pool I would attend sessions at had more of a salt component to it than chlorine and thought I would give it a try! Good news, it has worked out great for me.
Have you had trouble swimming in public pools due to your allergies & or asthma?
Keep an eye out for posts about:
Pot luck dinners
Nuts in the car
Asthma and a new sport
What food to put in an earthquake kit