Allergies impact families in different ways. For us, Ella’s diagnosis was really only the first sign she’d shown of having a food allergy so we were lucky to not have to experience a variety of reactions prior to her diagnosis.
My husband’s allergy towards dust, animal dander and pollen were harder to adapt to initially but over time we’ve got that down pat. We went through a lot of trial and error with medications for hay fever and cleaning products before we found a happy medium. One of our most successful discoveries was finding Geelong’s Cleanest Carpets, an eco-friendly carpet cleaning company here in Geelong. As carpet and rugs can hide obscene amounts of, not only dirt and dust, but the faecal matter of dust mites (to which my husband is extremely allergic) it’s important for us to get our carpets cleaned regularly in our household. Although the general consensus is to get your carpets cleaned every 12 to 18 months, we get ours done every 6 months. We can’t afford to have a build-up of dust and dirt in our carpets due to my husband’s adverse reaction.
Regular carpet cleaning has had a huge impact on our household along with hay fever medication and medicated eye drops (to stop itching). In spring and summer, particularly after the neighbours have mowed their lawns, hubby often needs to top up his medication to avoid a reaction. It was a long trial and error process to find the right medication and even now, we alternate medications to avoid him becoming too used to one. He uses a mix of oral antihistamines, eye drops and anticholinergic nasal sprays.
As a huge animal lover and previous dog owner, I would love nothing more than to have a pet in our household but it’s just not possible with hubby’s allergies. He is so allergic to animal dander that he can react to someone else having being in contact with an animal. It’s hard to swallow that I’ll never be a pet owner again and that my children won’t get to grow up with animals like I did. I know it hurts my husband too, although he’s allergic, he’d love nothing more than for our girls to have puppy.
Back to Ella’s impact. As mentioned in this post, Ella is allergic to peanuts, almonds, eggs, shellfish, strawberries and kiwi fruit. So far these haven’t been too hard to avoid as we mostly eat home cooked food and read all labels before buying packaged products. As a young child she doesn’t know she is missing out yet but as she grows and interacts with friends she’ll begin to realise that she is different. I don’t know any kid that doesn’t love strawberries and it makes me sad that at the moment she can’t try one.
As Ella grows, starts school and makes friends it will become increasingly difficult to monitor what she eats all the time. However, as she ages she’ll also have a greater understanding of her allergies and the consequences should she consume any off-limits foods. Hopefully by the time she reaches her late teens she would have grown out of her allergies, although we can’t count on this.
So to summarise the impact of our family’s allergies on our lives, they are minor in all reality and we are lucky for it but we’ve still had to shake up the way we live, what we eat and how we interact. As Ella gets older I think it will be harder to tame her curiosity but for the sake of her life we’ll do it.