Once we’d outlined Jack’s asthma action plan, eliminating the asthma triggers which would push him into the yellow “caution” zone and the red “danger” zone from our house was the next step. I’m a pretty thorough housekeeper, but de-triggering our house involved a lot more than run-of-the mill sweeping and scrubbing. We had to completely rethink how we keep our house clean.
First on the to-do list- pulling up the carpet and replacing it with hardwood floors. Carpets trap dust, pet dander and other allergens, so warm and comfy as it was, we had to remove it. Now we have beautiful, bare hardwood floors. They’re a lot easier to clean than carpeting. The company that makes Swiffers must LOVE us! (Note to self- consider buying stock!)
I’ve also changed to green, environmentally-safe cleaners and detergents. Most store-bought cleaners contain chemicals that can trigger asthma. That’s why it’s often better to make your own cleaners. Check out Pinterest or frugal cleaning sites on the internet for homemade cleaner “recipes”.
We make our own window cleaner using hydrogen peroxide, dish soap and water. It keeps windows clean and shiny without annoying streaks. We also wash towels and sheets a lot more now, too, using hot water to kill allergens. Dust and pet dander can find their way onto bedding and towels, even if you can’t see it.
Boy’s Best Friend
Then came the hardest part… Sammi. When we found out Jack had asthma, we knew that giving away our beloved dog, Sammi, wasn’t an option. Our boys loved her, and we didn’t want to break their hearts by taking away one of their best friends. Instead, we concentrated finding a way to both keep Jack healthy and keep Sammi a part of our family.
It turned out to be manageable, but I can’t say that it wasn’t work. We vacuumed several times a week to keep hair and dander under control. We used a vacuum with a HEPA filter to catch any tiny dust particles or dander a regular vacuum might miss. We even used all the weird-looking attachments on the back of the vacuum to clean out nooks, crannies and corners that hid dust.
Every week or two, we’d brush the dog and wash her to keep her clean and get rid of excess hair that could cause problems. She was a pug, so it turned out to kind of a losing battle. We managed to get through it, though. She always got a treat afterward and I think she enjoyed the attention!
Keeping the dog out of Jack’s bedroom was important to keep dander under control. This was one of the hardest de-triggering tasks- Jack wanted to hang out with his pet in his room, not just in certain areas of the house. But we talked to him and he understood why we had to do it. We made sure to keep Jack’s bedroom door closed, and let the boys play with her outside and in other rooms.
This allowed Jack to keep his pet and keep his asthma in check. Keeping a house clean enough for a child with asthma is a chore, and I’m always on the lookout for tips that will make it easier. At least I get lots of exercise from all the extra housework!
Until next time,