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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Growing up all I ever wanted was to get married and raise a family. I knew how many children I wanted, boys and girls, what I wanted to name them and who would share a room with whom. I had every aspect of motherhood planned out. In all my imagining I had never bargained on raising a child with asthma.

But a child with asthma is exactly what I got!

When my second child was born she struggled to breathe on her own for the first several days of her life. The first year was a constant battle with respiratory infections and emergency room visits. By the end of year two we received the diagnosis that our baby girl had asthma.

Adjusting to Life with Asthma

After discovering we had asthma there were many changes we needed to make in our home to help our daughter’s lungs be as strong and healthy as they could be. The pediatrician sent us home with a detailed checklist of asthma triggers to minimize and some additional research helped us to pinpoint areas in our specific home that we wanted to pay attention to that weren’t on that check list. Our goal was to identify triggers and eliminate as many as we could.

Common asthma triggers in the home include:

  • Smoking in the home
  • Dust mites
  • Pets
  • Molds
  • Cleaners, perfumes, other strong odors
  • Cockroaches
  • Individual allergies

The list of outdoor asthma triggers includes pollens and extreme temperatures. Additionally respiratory infections can lead to asthma attacks as well. When we began our research we wanted to focus on areas we could eliminate over what we could manage and so our efforts focused on indoor triggers.

Our family needed to worry about pets, dust mites, molds and perfumes or cleaners. So far we hadn’t learned of any allergies, neither of us smoked and to the best of our knowledge our home was pest free. It’s important to be honest with your own lifestyle when evaluating potential triggers if you want to effectively eliminate them!

Triggers Identified – Time for Cleanup

Once we identified all the triggers we needed to set up a plan to eliminate them in our home. We began by throwing out all our cleaning products that had perfumes included and replacing them with scent free cleaners and changing out my personal hygiene products that contained perfumes as well.

The next step was to eliminate dustmites and the harmful effects they were having on my daughter’s breathing. Step one was to purchase allergy encasements for her pillows, mattress and box springs since the bed is the primary habitat for these microscopic pests. Then we removed all soft fabric from her room including her stuffed toys because dustmites can hide in these as well. The final step was getting in the habit of dusting her room daily to remove any dust particles that may be floating in the air.

Eliminating the risk for pet triggers and mold was twofold for us; purchasing a high quality vacuum designed to trap even the smallest particles permanently and investing in an air purifier equipped to meet our needs. When selecting each we did our homework to be sure they were equipped to eliminate pet dander as well as molds and dust mites.

Our Reward – Fewer Attacks

Within just a few days of making our changes I noticed a huge difference in my daughter’s wheezing. After a few weeks her asthma attacks had subsided and in a couple months we no longer needed her nebulizer. Her asthma was finally under control and we had our elimination efforts to thank for it.

If your child has been recently diagnosed with asthma and you’ve been struggling to get it under control first take a deep breath. Then pull Google up on the screen and start researching known triggers and find out what your child’s specific triggers are. Then follow some of the tips included here to start relieving your child’s asthma symptoms.

About the Author:

Mikki Hogan lives in North Carolina with her husband and children. After learning her daughter was suffering from asthma Mikki and her husband set out to understand her specific triggers including dust and allergies as they set their aim on reducing symptoms through naturally eliminating triggers.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents of children with asthma.

Image courtesy of Pewari via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.