Battling dust mite allergy: Training my 4-year-old for sublingual immunotherapy

by amanda
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With our adorable bear kitchen timer, the best $2 investment in preparing for sublingual immunotherapy which begins next month

The easy part was saying yes to sublingual immunotherapy for Corey’s dust-mite allergy. Now down to the business of training to make sure the sublingual immunotherapy works as intended.

What is Sublingual Immunotherapy and why are we doing it?

Quoted from the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT) is “an alternative way to treat allergies without injections. Currently, the only forms of SLIT approved by the FDA are tablets for ragweed, northern pasture grasses like timothy and dust mites. Tablets used under the tongue boost tolerance to the substance you’re allergic to and reduce symptoms.”

I’ve been pretty candid in my previous posts about our struggles with house dust mite allergy.

Damn you dust mite allergy and the hives and eczema you cause!

Just this morning, Corey had a hive attack at 6 am in the morning. These hives and eczema attack episodes are happening more often these past 6 months. A dose of Zyrtec brings these IgE mediated reactions down fairly quickly. That’s why doctor is fairly confident that the sublingual immunotherapy will help to improve Corey’s dust mite allergy. But it also depends on how fast I act upon the rash appearing.

Related: Our Latest Allergist Review and Sublingual Immunotherapy

“MARMEEEEE, I’m ITCHY!”

“Again?” I sighed at hearing this and move into action mode.

I whipped out our emergency itch kit of calamine lotion, ice packs and chlorhexidine wipes (which every eczema and allergy parent should have by the way). When it became obvious the hives were not calming down, I swiftly gave him the antihistamine.

And we were ready to do our breakfast cum sublingual immunotherapy training in twenty minutes.

Related: Battling Eczema Itch In Children

How to get a 4-year-old to hold an extract under his tongue for 1 minute without swallowing?

Because Corey is under the age of 12, we will be taking the sublingual immunotherapy in the form of an extract sprayed under the tongue on a daily basis. This extract has to be held there for a short period of time and only swallowed after about a minute.

ONE WHOLE MINUTE?

Some days I can barely get him to brush his teeth for that amount of time.

It took a while but here’s the 3 things we did that worked:

LETTING HIM HELP WITH THE PREP

Corey chose this cute Bear kitchen timer we found in Daiso

I explained to him that he has to hold the medicine under his tongue for a minute without swallowing.

“How long is that mummy?”

We went shopping and he chose this cute bear kitchen timer to help us keep time.

MAKING IT FUN AND COLOURFUL

This humble plate satisfies THREE allergic therapies I am conducting with my 4-year-old. Read on to find out more
  1. Training for Sublingual Immunotherapy by holding a small piece of grape under the tongue for 1 minute
  2. Taking a daily probiotic (ours is LactoGG) to help with his gut
  3. Taking a small number of almonds and cashews meal as nut maintenance since we found out that he is not allergic.

To simulate holding a liquid under his tongue, I cut a morsel of grape and place it there. Then we start our timer set to countdown 1 minute.

We treat it like it is a game. The aim is to get to zero without swallowing. The first time was a bit clumsy but he got the hang of it after a few tries.

Counting down 1 minute..

GETTING SOME HELP FROM ALLIE THE ALLERGIC MONSTER V2.0

I first made Allie 2 years ago when Corey was 2 years old. (scroll down for the video below) Corey recently saw this video and wanted to make his own ALLIE. (Ironically, we lost the first Allie after a frenzy cleaning session to beat the dust…)

Corey decided Allie V2.0 also had to take sublingual immunotherapy meds during breakfast =p.

So we added a tongue to Allie V2.0!

We found a bunch of play food grapes for Allie to place under his tongue at the same time too.

Placing the bunch of grapes under Allie’s tongue

Toys are a great way to broach serious topics like taking medicines in a light-hearted manner. You don’t have to make your own like we have, just use a favourite Car, doll or anything your child relates to. I highly recommend all parents to try it out when the need arises.

ARE WE READY FOR SUBLINGUAL IMMUNOTHERAPY NEXT MONTH? YES!

I feel good about our progress. I’m editing a few video clips of our training and I think we got it down. Corey is going through the minute like a pro. He even enjoys it more than brushing his teeth!

When we take our first dose next month, Allie V2.0 will be coming with us. Some grapes and our bear timer will also be present to replicate what we have been doing every morning for a familiar routine. This should make the introduction of a foreign medication in his mouth an easier transition.

Check back soon to follow our journey!

See the video of how I made the original Allie below. (Oh and remember to subscribe to my youtube if you like to see me make more of these videos!)

GENERAL DISCLAIMERS:

All opinions and views expressed herein are the author’s own and not anyone else’s. Any quotes from medical healthcare professionals are written from the author’s perspective and should not be construed as medical advice. Every child and every symptom is different thus it is important to seek advice from a professional allergist or dermatologist for your unique situation. All images and pictures on this website are copyright of the owner of this website and cannot be used or downloaded without permission.

Drop by to say hi, send me a shoutout at amanda@projectsimplicity.sg or follow me on Instagram @amandaprosimple and Facebook @projectsimplicitysg

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