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Global Warming is Driving My Son Crazy!

May 12, 2008

By Janet Millan - Co-founder, Project Allergy

It is mid winter and yet, we've had no snow as of February. Usually, we've had a few nice snowstorms, but thanks to global warming, we’ve had mostly just rain and sleet. My son, who is 9, suffers from mold and pollen allergies. Typically they disappear in the winter, but not this year. Since Thanksgiving, his asthma has been an underlying problem, with missed school and sports. His asthma is under control, but the medicines that he takes to keep them under control are driving him nuts! This is not the first time we’ve seen his behavior change, but it is unusual to see it in winter.

What is a parent to do? On the one hand, he has to take his medicines to breathe, and on the other hand, they make him anxious causing him to stay awake until all hours of the night. Lack of sleep, coughing, and itchy eyes add up to disaster at school. With little or no sleep, he is hard to wake up. He eats little breakfast and has trouble concentrating at school. School administrators and guidance counselors who have his best interest at heart don't seem to understand what he is going through. Anger ensued and he ended up in a disciplinary situation in the principal's office.

As we pick him up from school, he is belligerent, defiant, exhausted, and blames himself for lack of self control. It is this cycle that brings on depression in our son. He knows what is right and wrong, but he can't seem to control himself when he feels ill. Is it the medicines, the lack of eating or sleeping, the mold indoors and out, or a combination of everything that has our son saying that he wishes he was dead? In our allergy-free safe home, his allergies subside and as he calms down, he's embarrassed for what he’s said and done.

To make matters worse, he scored a perfect 100% on his state's standardized tests, but our school won't put him in the gifted program. Bored and exhausted from his allergies, it has been a challenge to get him to school. Home schooling isn't an option because we’ve been advised that he needs his social time, so we’re looking into a new charter Montessori school. With a new building free of mold and challenging classes at his level, hopefully he'll feel better and be able to learn more.

From depression to defiance, allergies have caused havoc on our son's mental health. Each day we hope that he will be able to cope. As parents, we look for answers from our asthma and allergy specialist, our pediatrician, and our psychologist as well as friends who are experiencing similar problems.

If your family has gone through this, please share your story with us.