Organic boy: Move to organic, all-natural and eco-friendly lifestyle curbs boy’s asthma, allergy problemsNicholas Pollock must avoid reds, blues, yellows, purples. That’s a result of the severe asthma and allergies from which the pint-sized 2½-year-old Stow, Ohio, youngster suffers. But he is much healthier — thanks to green living.
By: Bob Downing, Akron Beacon Journal
AKRON, Ohio — Nicholas Pollock must avoid reds, blues, yellows, purples.
That’s a result of the severe asthma and allergies from which the pint-sized 2½-year-old Stow, Ohio, youngster suffers. But he is much healthier — thanks to green living.
His grateful mother, Suzanne Balch, founded two fundraising events held recently to educate others about the benefits of sustainable living; environmentally friendly practices and products; and natural and organic foods for what she calls a more eco-friendly and healthy lifestyle. The two events included a Learn Green/Live Green community expo with 75 exhibitors that was expected to draw 7,000 people, and a black-tie dinner-auction, both to garner support for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America in Washington, D.C.
She said the expo is designed to educate people to the green-living options available.
“I’m not trying to lecture people or force anything on anyone. But living green works for us. It’s made a big, big difference in Nicholas’ life.”
Balch said she had to do all three: organic, all-natural and eco-friendly.
“For us, there was no choice. ... We had to do all three or it wouldn’t work. I would do anything for my son and to improve his quality of life.”
What opened her eyes, Balch said, is that Nicholas’ asthma and allergies improved 10 times over after she decided in late 2007 “to go green.”
Nicholas was diagnosed with asthma at 14 months old and was one of the youngest in the Akron, Ohio, area to be diagnosed, his mother said. Sometimes his allergic reactions would trigger rashes, asthmas attacks and breathing problems. Allergies also have triggered colds that in turn resulted in asthma attacks.
Moderate attacks might include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and a shortness of breath. Severe attacks would trigger those symptoms plus a retraction of chest, ribs and neck muscles, difficulty walking, labored talking and bluish lips and nails.
Balch, 39, eliminated almost all foods with colored dyes and preservatives because of Nicholas’ allergies. She used trial and error to determine those allergies.
She likened her son’s diet to a vegan’s, plus all-natural hot dogs. His diet includes cereals, yogurt, puddings, fresh fruits, bread, cheeses, applesauce, jellies and peanut butter, all natural or organic.
He is kept away from man-made furry things like stuffed animals and blankets. Water runs through an on-tap filter at the kitchen sink to remove chemicals. The carpeting was removed from the family’s Stow house.
All-natural cleaning products replaced commercial products. A steam cleaner that uses distilled water, not chemicals, is used to clean the floors. A microbial drain cleaner is used to avoid chemicals with strong fumes. No perfumes or anything with strong smells are used in the Balch house.
The air in the house is filtered to remove dust, mold, pollen and dander. Nicholas’ sleepwear is made of 100 percent cotton or organic cotton to help his nighttime breathing.
Paul Pollock, Nicholas’ father, of Copley Township, Ohio, helps raise the boy and has adopted the same green tactics. The youth’s proximity to Pollock’s parents’ dog is closely watched.
Nicholas’ breathing problems have sharply decreased since the family went green, his mother said. Prior to the change, Nicholas was at the doctors’ offices or Akron Children’s Hospital every four days over a four-month period. He took as many as seven medications a day. The medical bills, after insurance, topped $600 a month.
When he got sick, he would stay sick for days. Balch had to quit her job at a printing company because of the time she had to take off to care for Nicholas.
Now his medical bills are $100 a month and the trips to the doctor and the hospital are greatly reduced. He is down to two medicines.
When he gets sick, he is back on his feet in a day or two, his mother said.