When my middle daughter was three, she was diagnosed with an allergy to egg whites which triggered asthma. That was eight years ago. Over the years, I have learned a thing or two about natural and not so natural ways to decrease her symptoms. Initially after she was diagnosed, her doctor told me that she would most likely outgrow the egg white allergy around age 5 and that there were things we could do (like not allowing her to sleep with her stuffed animals and vacuuming frequently) to keep her asthma at bay. He also told me that the very best thing I could do to treat her asthma and allergies was to give her Singulair. I followed all of his orders including dosing her with Red 40, artificially cherry flavored, aspartame laced Singulair.
From the moment I put her on Singulair, she was a different child. My normally calm and quiet little girl became agitated, distracted and hyperactive. At every check-up with the doctor, I mentioned to him that I noticed a change in her behavior since starting the Singulair and he always brushed it off as unrelated. I finally pulled her off of it on my own, with the doctor's understanding I was doing so in 2008. Then in 2009 the news came from the FDA that Singulair isn't such a good choice in children because of neuropsychiatric side effects like agitation, aggression, anxiousness, dream abnormalities and hallucinations, depression, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, suicidal thinking and behavior (including suicide), and tremor.
Realizing, albeit slowly, that I needed to take an active role in my family's health care, I set out to find a new doctor and more natural ways to control my daughter's asthma. She did outgrow the egg white allergy as an asthma trigger but even her new pulmonologist wanted her to stay on inhalers. It was around this time that my youngest was being thrown into the "she has allergy and asthma" bin by our then pediatrician. I was ready to do anything to get them off of inhalers. I mean honestly, neither of them ever had any symptoms other than getting colds frequently from October to April. I was just not buying that they had a life ahead of them with inhalers and worry to look forward to. Once I finally found a new pediatrician who supported natural ways to control illness, I was ready to make as many changes as necessary to keep them healthy.
What I have discovered through reading studies, listening to our new pediatrician and basically getting as much info as I can has been amazing. Since implementing the following 3 Natural Ways to Decrease Asthma and Allergy Symptoms over the last year, both of my girls have only needed their inhalers a few times! I am not a doctor, and you should only take the advice of your chosen doctor when it comes to your family's health, but this is what worked for my family...
- Take a Vitamin D Supplement- I worked with my new doctor and started adding an all natural vitamin D supplement to my kids' vitamin routine. Vitamin D is like a miracle to my family and it seems to have helped to drastically cut the amount of times my girls have been sick. As I understand it, though, there is no hard evidence linking vitamin D to immunity. Still, my doctor is a believer and now I am too. Talk with your doctor first before starting a vitamin D supplement as there can be contraindications from taking too much.
- Use Shaklee Cleaning Products - Over the years I have tried a multitude of green household cleaners and never noticed that my girls breathing troubles lessened. A cleaning service I used a couple of years ago swore by Shaklee products and I really liked the way the products cleaned. Fast forward to June of 2011 when I did some consulting work for Shaklee and really fell in love with the people at Shaklee, the way they do business and their products. I have been using Shaklee cleaning and laundry products exclusively for almost six months because the products are effective and I swear it is making a difference in my entire family's health.
- Eliminate Chemical Based Air Fresheners - I used to have a ton of those little plug-in air fresheners throughout my home until the end of last year. I had read repeatedly about how chemical scents were sometimes triggers for asthma but I did not want to give up my scented plug-ins. Once I did, I swear it helped both of my little ones breath and feel better.