My son Mark suffers from severe environmental and seasonal allergies. Of all his allergies, he’s most allergic to oak tree pollen. Translated, this month is ground zero for his symptoms.
If I left him untreated his face would look like this ^ and his eyes would swell shut all through the yellow pollen dump.
Watching a child suffer from allergies or asthma is heart wrenching. If you don’t live with an allergy or asthma sufferer, I honestly don’t know how to accurately describe it to you – except maybe to say it’s like having a child suffer with flu symptoms for months – perhaps a whole quarter of a year – without relief. Sheer misery.
However if you have a child with allergies or asthma you certainly need no descriptions from me. You know. In fact if we were in the same room and started swapping stories, I’d probably get a bit teary listening to yours and sharing mine. It breaks my heart when children suffer so greatly from these ailments.
My son still has allergies, but this has been our best year yet for providing him with comfort and relief. Since “how do you help your son with his allergies?” has become one of the most frequently asked questions I get from blog readers, I decided to put what we do all down here, in one place, in case some of what we do could help your allergy sufferer too. Here are my:
7 Effective Ways to Help a Child Fight Allergies
1. Clean and Purify the Air in your Home.
During the rest of the year, my husband buys mid-range air filters for our home. During allergy season, he buys the most expensive, top of the line air filters made for house vents. We’ve found it makes a big difference in trapping allergens before they get into our house.
We also keep our house closed up during allergy season. After a long, cold winter, it’s a big sacrifice to keep the windows closed and not let that balmy breeze and the sound of chirping birds come wafting through the screens, but it’s a price we gladly pay to keep that nasty yellow pollen out of the house. We run the air a bit if we need to, or just run the fan to keep the air circulating.
I’ve also discovered that diffusing 100% pure essential oils with a good quality diffuser makes a tremendous difference in keeping the air purified in our home. We first started using Young Living essential oils to treat Mark’s allergies topically, and I wrote about our amazing success with that here, However I later began to appreciate the enormous impact diffused essential oils had in killing bacteria, pollen, histamines, and allergens of all sorts in our home. A Young Living Starter Kit comes with an oil blend called Thieves that is highly antibacterial. Diffusing Thieves for just 20-30 minutes in a room kills 98%+ of the bacteria in that air space. Another blend that came in my Kit, called Purification, is the bomb for purifying the air when diffused. I now diffuse these two essential oil blends in our home at least twice a week, and I diffuse them in my son’s bedroom every other day, in rotation. It’s made a world of difference for his allergies.
2. Clean the floor.
I have a bag-less Dyson vacuum cleaner, and I use it often during allergy season – particularly in my sons’ bedroom and in the main living spaces. It’s amazing how much that Bad Boy sucks up from our carpets and wood floors. Since we track pollen into our house every time we’re outside, I’ve found frequent vacuuming to be a big player in keeping the allergens at bay.
3. Change and wash everything. Daily.
This allergy-fighting habit is my most time consuming as a mother, but also one of my most effective strategies. I make sure my Mark has clean clothes every time he comes back into our house. Even if he’s only walked to the car and back from a trip to the grocery store, I still change his clothes when we get back inside. Even a little bit of pollen on his t-shirt can send him into an allergy attack, so it’s better safe than sorry.
I wash his sheets at least twice a week during allergy season, and I change his pillowcase every single time he goes to bed (if he’s taking a nap that day, that means I change the pillowcase before nap time, and again before bedtime). Pain in the you know what, but so worth it to make sure his head is resting on a pollen-free surface.
4. Strategize time outside
It is absolutely impossible to keep a toddler or preschool aged child indoors all spring, especially after he or she has been cooped up most of the winter. Trust me. I’ve tried this strategy in years past, and it’s a toss up who will be more miserable – you or the child – following this strategy.
A little boy must get a good dose of sunshine and fresh air and dirt in his life, even during allergy season. The only solution I’ve found is to be strategic about when he gets his outside time.
If the pollen count is very high, as it’s been in the Carolinas all month, I’ve found the best time to let Mark outside is late afternoon, after his siblings have gotten up from their afternoon nap. I let him play outside from around 3:30 to 5:00pm, and before he goes out I make sure he’s wearing a ball cap and sunglasses (my attempt to keep the pollen off his hair and out of his eyes). I also rub Young Living lavender essential oil on him, which is one of nature’s most powerful antihistamines.
When it’s time to come in, I ask Mark to completely strip in our mudroom. Everything comes off, and we go right upstairs to a hot shower. After some time in the steam and a good scrub down, I put fresh clothes on him and do another treatment with essential oils using the popular “Allergy Bomb”.
I find that even if Mark has an allergy attack from his playtime outside, at least it’s close enough to his bedtime that I can get him into a steamy shower, and then start treating heavily by diffusing essential oils and applying them topically.
Here’s where I’m going to sound like a crazy drill sergeant, but I make my whole family shower, or at least get a wet washcloth scrub down, after time outside. And everyone has to put on a change of clothes after we’ve been in the pollen. Since our kids are little they crawl on each other and on their parents constantly, so it’s no use keeping one child fresh and showered and the rest of us pollen laden. So we go through an obscene amount of laundry from March through May. Such a bother, but a worthwhile one.
Of all the things I’ve learned about treating allergies, one of the most fascinating topics is how our diet affects our body’s ability to fight allergens. We process everything in our gut, and it’s in our gut that our body fights allergies. So the not-rocket-science truth is a healthy gut is able to fight allergies a whole lot better than an overworked, overtaxed gut.
Keeping my son’s consumption of gluten, diary, sugar, and processed foods to a minimum definitely helps his ability to deal with seasonal allergies. It doesn’t take away his symptoms entirely, but there’s definitely a difference when he’s eating a very clean diet. Since I am fighting my way through the first trimester of pregnancy, I admit that we are eating our share of unhealthy, gluten-full, processed and sugar-full foods right now. We’re in a bit of a survival mode situation for a few more weeks. But when I can provide him with a more ideal diet, he does better with his allergies, for sure.
I also find that giving Mark a tsp of local, raw organic honey helps quite a bit. I add a drop of Young Living lemon oil to the honey, which helps to break up any mucus build up caused by his allergies.
Finally, a good probiotic and good quality vitamins helps a little guy’s gut fight hard too! My husband did a lot of research and consulted with our pediatrician to find the right cocktail of vitamins and minerals to give our son. We try to be very consistent with his supplements regimen.
7. Essential Oils
If I had written this post a year ago, my 7th tip would’ve been to dispense allergy drugs and Benadryl as needed. Because for the first four years of Mark’s life, the doling out drugs story was our story.
Exactly a year ago, I went to my first Young Living essential oils class for the sole purpose of finding out more about this “allergy bomb” I kept hearing about from friends. I was a desperate mom with a suffering toddler, and if there was any truth to the “oils help allergies” claim, I figured I had a responsibility to find out.
OH. MY. WORD. I couldn’t have imagined how much these little brown bottles with colorful labels would change my son’s quality of life, and our whole family’s health and wellness. But they have.
The “allergy bomb” oils are lavender, lemon, and peppermint. Lavender is a natural antihistamine. Lemon breaks up mucus in the body, and peppermint is very effective for calming respiratory symptoms. Together, they fight allergies effectively and naturally.
We diffuse 3-4 drops each of the allergy bomb oils while my son sleeps, and in our living spaces during the day. We also rub lavender on his sinus zone, behind his ears, on his wrists, and apply a drop each of the allergy bomb combo on his feet. We also diffuse the blends Thieves and Purification frequently in our home to keep the air clean and purified.
So far this allergy season, my son has never come to me and asked for allergy medicine. He knows I have it, and he knows I’d give it to him if he had a serious attack, but still – he’s never asked me for drugs. Every single time he comes to me with worsening symptoms, he says “mommy, I need some more lavender.” I find it fascinating that 4 1/2 year old seems to know what his body most needs to fight his symptoms.
I joined the Young Living company after trying 5 other brands of oils, including some of YL’s top competitors. After two years of research and reading, I am absolutely convinced it’s the purest, highest quality oil I can offer my son and my family for their health and wellness. Young Living’s ‘Seed to Seal Guarantee’ and their control over the whole process from planting, growing, harvesting, distilling, and bottling, gives me confidence, knowing where the oils came from and that the plants were grown without any harmful chemicals or pesticides.
I never dreamed that I’d get into the “business” side of Young Living, but the more positive results we had from the oils, and the more I shared our testimony, it just became such an easy “fit” as a hobby and a project and a side mission for my life as a stay at home mom. If you’d like to give essential oils a try, I’d LOVE to have you on my team. We offer so much support, encouragement, and resources to the families using essential oils on our team. We have dynamic Facebook support groups, webinars, video tutorials, free classes, and so much more.
If you’d like an info packet, an intro to oils booklet, and free sample of Young Living Lavender Oil, email me [email@example.com] and it would be my pleasure to send you a care package in the mail.
I’d love to hear YOUR story!
So those are the top 7 ways we fight allergies at our house. I’d love to hear YOUR story too! If you are fighting allergies yourself, or if you have a child who suffers from allergies, what have you found that works best to alleviate symptoms? If I was tech savvy enough to figure out how to add a link-up to this post I’d do it, and invite you to link up your allergy stories. In lieu of that, if you have a story or a blog link for how you fight allergies, please feel welcome to throw it up in the comments section of this post, so we can all benefit from your story.
[Special note: this post is not meant to treat or diagnose anyone or anything, it’s simply sharing our experience and our passion for fighting awful allergies. Please always consult with your physician and health care professionals.]