Friday, February 08, 2008

crawling creature, shuddering mama

Things are crawling at my house.

Yep, the reason that the Eldest's hair is standing on end (not to mention mine) is that he thoughtfully brought home lice. Lots and lots of lice. His father, veteran of many a buggy menagerie, kissed his loving wife and went off to get his head shaved. Meanwhile, a horrified mama tried to get the Eldest to stop scratching long enough to get shampooed and combed. Hours later, she was still combing and he was still scratching. When asked by his exasperated mama why, oh WHY didn't he mention it if his head was itchy, he simply said, but Mum, I'm always itchy.

Which, alas, is true.

On the other hand, as we learned at Whatsisname's clinic, there may be a simple reason for that itchiness: things that crawl. In this case, dust mites. Both boys are, apparently, quite allergic to dust mites - allergic to an extent that startled our famous doctorish person, and offered us a key that may unravel a couple of puzzles:

* the Toddles' reaction to fish has been...runny nose, allergy shiners, eczema.

* the Eldest's endless eczema is caused by...??? Hm.

* the Toddles' reaction to soy has been...runny nose, allergy shiners, eczema.

* the Toddles reaction to other people's homes, some group gatherings (but not all) has been...runny nose, allergy shiners, eczema. Oh, and have I mentioned that eczema is hell on sleep? Yep.

Which leads us to wonder. If we can control the dust mites, will the Toddles be able to eat trout and tuna? soy? Will the Eldest stop his endless scratching? Will both boys sleep at night? The allergist had a range of suggestions for us, from foods we could challenge (oats!! poppy! green peas, lima beans) to foods we should skin test (tree nuts - the Toddles, lentil, mango, zucchini, pumpkin) and if negative, challenge. It's quite a list of possibilities, and we're freely committing the sin of hope.

But not in front of the children.

In the meantime, it turns out that the initial cleaning for dust mites is remarkably similar to lice, and the washing machine hums (and occasionally whines) endlessly. Much, I must admit, like our buzzing parental brains.

Oh my, oh my.


joy said...

I'm over here quietly and strongly hoping victory over the mites isn't just another battle, but a turning point in the war on itch, snot and sleepless nights.

Exblick said...

Dust mites are the bane of my existence, too. All the pillows are encased in mite proof covers as well as the box springs and mattresses. It's better in our new(er) home than it was in the 60 year old home up north. I also run a hepa air purifier and use hepa vacuums. I'd like to rip the carpeting out of the house too,but can't afford to put the wood floors down yet. Someday! And yikes to the lice. It's really become quite a problem in these parts, too.

mama o' the matrices said...

Oh, joy - I hope so too. A turning point would be good.

Exblick, any words of advice about the covers? I'm seeing a dizzying array of covers, with a huge range in prices.

Exblick said...

I've been able to get away with the less expensive covers as my allergies are strictly environmental. I didn't go for the cheapest but couldn't afford the most expensive. I do notice a difference in the morning with headaches and stuffy nose during times when my allergies are worse (my worse time is the winter). We've also got a hepa filter on our furnace. It's more expensive, but it does make a difference. A little internet searching will probably help you find the most effective.

dykewife said...

hardwood floors, washable furniture covers, filtering vaccuums, oh what fun!

mother in israel said...

Laundering and vacuuming is a waste of time regarding lice. They don't survive for long away from the scalp, their food source. THe only way to be certain they are gone is to comb the wet hair carefully, every other day, for two weeks.

I don't know about the dust mites though.

Hope those critters are gone soon.

ALG said...

I am allergic to dust mites, as well. I think I was more allergic as a kid.

I noticed the allergies starting in second or third grade. I finally went to an allergist in 7th o 8th grade and he prescribed that I have my own bedroom (I shared with two sisters) and that my parents get rid of all rugs, and remove all books and stuffed animals from my room. (Both books and stuffed animals harbor lots of dust.) The only parts of that that actually happened was putting all my stuffed animals away (this was 7th or 8th grade, so it wasn't that tragic) and moving books away from my bed, so I wouldn't be next to them all night. (They had been stacked up on my headboard.) For years, I wore a dust mask whenever I swept, and my mother would vacuum our rugs when I wasn't at home.

Good luck! For me, the biggest thing is to do everything possible to avoid sleeping in a room with carpeting. It's much, much better with hardwood floors, regardless of how dusty they are. Also, whenever I go to a new place, I bring allergy medicine, since it sometimes seems worse in a new environment. (No idea why.)

mama o' the matrices said...

Hmm. Much to consider. Much to do. Thanks for the tip about bringing the allergy medication, ALG - it's something to remember for our upcoming trip! In retrospect, the Toddles had a miserable trip to Melbourne last time, and the rented apartment was especially dusty. Hmm again.

KosherAcademic said...

Supposedly the Shaklee air purifier is one of the best on the market and will kill all that stuff. It's also pricey, $600-700. But if you find a local rep, they may let you borrow it for a few days to test it out ahead of time to make sure it WILL indeed actually work. I've had friends who have tried it to phenominal results. I've always wanted to with JR's asthma and hyperactivity, but we just can't afford it (yes, even if it works) yet.

Auntie A said...

Here's hoping right along with you...oats and poppy and lentil - oh my!

And I also hope you had the Joseph soundtrack (or other suitable entertainment/distraction) to make the hair combing process easier.