“Get rid of the carpet,” she said as I scribbled furiously into a notebook. A newly diagnosed dust mite allergy had exacerbated one daughter’s asthma and caused another to be permanently round-the-clock stuffy-nosed.
This particular doctor of ours from didn’t have the best bedside manner (we’ve since switched allergists for various reasons, but I put a lot of value in bedside manner, so I might have switched on that fact alone), but I looked at her list of suggestions and implemented some changes.
The suggestion to get the pet snake (“no fur! better than a stuffed animal!”) was duly ignored.
The truth is, the best environment for someone with a dust mite allergy is a room with bare walls and bare floors and a couple of lawn chairs. But since that’s not particularly practical and, frankly, sounds kind of miserable, I’ve taken other steps to manage the dust mite allergy. Some of these changes are pretty pricey, so we implemented them slowly, over a period of time.
1) I’ve limited my three daughters to one stuffed animal, each, in their bedroom. My five year old would prefer to be surrounded by no fewer than a dozen stuffies at a time, so this one was met with protest. The still have a small collection, but they’re kept in a play area, not their sleeping area.
2) We bought foam mattresses. They’re more resistant to dust mites (apparently those suckers can live in the coils of a spring mattress).
3) We did, indeed, replace the carpet. We had only recently moved into our home, and replacing the cheap-y builder’s carpet with expensive hardwood floors was at the bottom of our priority list, but after more than a few asthma-related ER trips, we were desperate. I hit a Black Friday deal (seriously) and picked up Pergo instead. They aren’t the walnut floors of my dreams, but it was a quick fix and a fraction of the cost.
4) I vacuum every day. Even hard floors collect dust, so I run through and do a quick vacuum of every room in the house. Hoover sent me their Air Cordless Series 3.0 Upright Vacuum to try, and let me tell you, a cordless vacuum cleaner is a game changer.
There’s no wrapping and unwrapping of a cord. There’s no whipping it behind me like a lasso so I have enough slack to get to the far corner of a room. There’s no tripping over cords or accidentally clotheslining small children.
Since I’m vacuuming every day, I’m not meticulous about it. It’s more like a quick run over every surface (the hard floor and a couple of area rugs). The Hoover Air is light enough –and unencumbered by a cord — that not only can my seven-year-old wield it with some effort, yesterday I vacuumed with a mug of tea in my hand and Adele’s new album blasting. It was, dare I say, kind of delightful.
5) I yanked down the curtains in their bedroom. They were billowy and soft and a haven for dust, so I replaced them with an easy-to-clean bamboo blinds.
6) We purchased mattress covers and pillowcase covers. They encase the mattress entirely, so — heads up — I break into a sweat every time I change them, especially because we have bunk beds and a fair amount of acrobatics go into shifting a mattress around.
7) We put an air purifier in their bedroom. Air purifiers seem kind of mysterious to me — like unicorns or drop-crotch pants — but skeptical me has seen a difference, so they’re a staple in our home.
Dust allergy sufferers (and parents of the them), sound off — what has helped you manage a dust allergy?
We were selected for this opportunity as members of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.