It's Your House, Silly!

Something big is happening. I'm getting closer to understanding my body. I've known it was trying to tell me something for years, but I just had no idea what it was saying. There were many unsuccessful guesses and a lot of giving up. About two weeks ago, my eczema became less about itchy, dry skin (although that was still there) and more about swollen eyes and a super hot (not in a good way), red face. And sleep was impossible. What the heck was going on?

So I went to California with an itchy body and a face I would've rather not taken out of the house. It was not the best way to mingle with my in-laws and extended family. Something great happened, though! My skin got better and better as I spent more time in California. Yes, California is great, but it's not a miracle remedy! By the time I left California, my face and skin was so much healthier. I got to back home and within 24 hours, my body screamed louder than ever before with something I'd never experienced. As I was trying to sleep, I noticed my eyes were leaking. Like a faucet! If I was on my left side, my left eye was running so much that I had sticky clear/light yellow liquid all over my left cheek. I was using tissue on my eye to keep it from getting super messy on my bed. It's gross, I know. I turned to the right side and it became my right eye that started leaking. I finally fell asleep super late holding tissues to my eyes. I woke up still on my right side and my right eye was so swollen I could barely open it (not exaggerating!). Holy moly, it was my house. My body was reacting to something in my house. 

Of course, I've done things already to help with my allergies at home. I have no carpet, avoid upholstered furniture, encase my bed, etc. But it wasn't good enough. My second day back home, I went to extreme measures. I washed all my bedding and pillows in the allergiene setting of my LG washer and dried it all in the steam setting. Included in the load was my new pregnancy boppy body pillow that I'd been using for a few weeks, but had never washed. My husband washed the walls of our bedroom. I pulled out some of the area rugs we have and put them in the garage. I washed my dog's doggie bed and, just to be safe, I washed my dog also. It was a busy night. And guess what? I was able to sleep that night and I looked better when I woke up! The next night, I was itchy on my body (maybe because my dog got on my bed during the day). I changed the sheets and the next night I slept perfectly! Am I allergic to dogs? Technically, yes. But, wait, hear me out! I'm technically allergic to tons of things and, even when avoiding them, I haven't found a direct correlation with my eczema. It may be that my dog Chester goes outside and gets seasonal allergens on his fur and he brings them in the house and my bed. It could be that it's not just Chester and is a combination of things, including dust mites, another allergen for me. 

Things aren't super clear yet, but I'm better understanding what my body is telling me. And I feel hope. HOPE. An eczema fighter needs hope. To see my body heal so quickly and become unhealthy so fast, depending on the presence of the trigger makes me feel better, because it means I can remove x, y, z and my skin will heal. I'd much rather have horrible skin when there's a trigger versus having chronic unhealthy skin for no reason and with no solution. 

So with my new found hope, I will keep changing things at home to fix my skin and avoid allergic reactions. Here I go!


That Mat Girl

There is knowing your eczema is not normal and privately dealing with it, then there are those moments where it seems you are holding a sign in public that says, "I have tons of weird allergies and my skin is the worst!"

I started a new barre class and, because I am impulsive, I purchased an entire month of classes before trying the first one. I enter the studio and my eyes instantly go to the wall-to-wall carpet. Carpet?! It's a barre studio, not a 90's office building. Why aren't there hard wood floors? No, no, no ...

Dust mite allergies have changed the way I live my life. I have hard wood floors with minimal rugs, a memory foam mattress, very particular bedding, leather couches, etc. Not only is carpet, in my opinion, ugly and dirty, I absolutely cannot be rolling around on it, because of my allergies. In the barre class, I follow the norm, though. Nobody else is on mats, just directly on the carpet, so that's what I do. It's not until later in the class that the mats come out for the remainder of the routine. I'm nervous throughout the workout, because I've been increasingly itchier the last few weeks and know that carpet is a trigger. 

I spent a good chunk of money for the one-month barre studio pass and want to get on a good workout routine, so I decide to go again two days later. I grab a mat from the start, though. So I'm the one with the brightly colored pants awkwardly trying to stay on the only mat in the crowded room, moving it around often as the workout progresses. At least I didn't buy the one-year pass; being "that mat girl" isn't very fun.


Dust Mite Allergy and My Freezer

I have a pretty serious dust mite allergy. Out of the gazillion food, product ingredient, animal and environmental allergies I have, I'm confident my dust mite allergy causes a reaction for me. Earlier this year, I started getting reactions to my allergy injections, which contained dust mite substances. They were local reactions, meaning the injection area got swollen, itchy and felt hot; and the reaction lasted days. I've had a dust mite allergy for years, but never knew it was that serious.

Since then, I've done the whole de-dust mite thing: new mattress, no curtains, special bedding, dust mite spray, dust mite powder on upholstery and rugs, etc. Then I noticed that my clothing made me itchy. Sweaters that I didn't wear (or wash) often would make me itchy. Fluffy scarves would do the same. "Dust mites!" I thought.

There are a few options for minimizing dust mites on clothes and blankets:

1. Wash in hot water (at least 140 F). I used a thermometer to make sure my hot water was hot enough. The problem with this is the damage hot water does to clothing - your things won't last as long and will look faded. 

2. Use a de-mite laundry additive or allergen wash laundry detergent. This sounds great and gets great reviews on Amazon, but it has tea tree oil and I'm worried I'll have a flare-up reaction because of my composite mix contact allergy (basically am allergy to lots of plants and trees). I still want to try it, though.

3. Freeze it! Both hot water and freezing temperatures kill dust mites. For example, you can put a teddy bear in the freezer to kill its dust mites. I don't have a teddy bear situation, but I do have items I don't want to wash that need to be treated. And this is why if you open my freezer at home, on the bottom shelf you'll see scarves, knit hats, sweaters, etc. I think it helps!

I just put a sweater in my freezer. I hadn't worn it in months (Houston is usually hot) and my arms became pretty itchy while I wore it. I'll take it out of the freezer in a few days and will see if it's better. I'll report back!