Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wheeze and sneeze.

We know our children are our children because they not only resemble us, they have our immune systems. Whatever we are sensitive to, they are as well. This makes second guessing what is wrong with them easier. This makes preventing problems, easier in theory.

The most obvious inheritance they got from Packrat is his susceptibility to breathing and lung related problems. I can't call it asthma for the children because apparently, they don't label children as asthmatic anymore. But the long and the short of it, they share the same medications and the same triggers. Smoke, dust, the cold, all this triggers massive coughing fits that are not contagious, hardly respond to any medication and last for a long time. Even the traditional remedies of Vicks and a towel stucked into the back of the shirt prove futile.

It's become a race to prevent the allergic coughs from being full blown. When it is, it's incessant hacking to the point that the children cannot sleep. Jordan's last visit to the doctor confirmed that her month long cough was not an infection but was once again the allergic, pre-asthma cough. On top of a long list of medication was advice. The thing was this time, the $200 I paid for the visit was for the medicine because the advice was all things that I had already known and was desperately trying to impress on the 5 year olds.

1. No cold drinks. Cold drinks apparently are okay if it is an infection causing a cough (even though I would still refrain from it) but dire if the child has an allergic spasmodic (read: irritated and incessant) cough. So milk, Yakult, even yogurt has to be left to room temperature before it is consumed.

2. No chocolate and sweet. Cocoa and sweet food irritate the cough, generate phlegm and therefore prolongs the suffering.

3. Sweets seem to do the same thing.

4. Anything with colouring or preservatives seem to generate an allergic reaction.

5. Dry them thoroughly after baths and the pool. The draft would trigger coughing too. 

6. Reduce their exposure to polluted air.

7. Swim. Getting them to exert their lungs strengthens them.

Many of these things are already in my general food rules for the kids. The problem is that it is difficult to enforce it without going postal on the whole world. The twins come home with goodie bags from school, often filled with what they are not supposed to eat. The grandparents derive joy in giving them food that we don't remember being given as a children because it was 'not good for us.' It is also impossible for us to stop Indonesia from burning their forests just for the sake of the children. It is already difficult trying to get them to do it for the sake of the environment and the orang utans.

I know children who have the asthma/ allergic rhinitis gene much worse than the twins and how instead of 6 general rules, their parents have 12 and often fantasise about putting them in a bubble. It's not healthy, but I can imagine why.

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