The House of Allergens

Newly divorced Mum of three, Janet, already had enough on her plate when she moved her family half way across the country…

….but there was nasty surprise waiting for her in her new home.

She got in touch with us last month to tell us about how a whole list of allergies turned a difficult house move into a veritable nightmare:

‘Breakin’ up is hard to do’, that’s how the old Neil Sedaka song goes and damn it if Neil wasn’t right.

My marriage of 15 years fell apart in the summer of 2017. It was a difficult time for me, a mother of three who had dedicated so much time to keeping our family unit together¬†and it must have been even more difficult for our kids, who had been blissfully unaware of the increasingly complicated nature of their parents’ relationship. Despite their Father and I keeping our differences under wraps for such a long time, there was always going to be a point when we’d have to draw the curtain on our old life and that happened in September.

I was fortunate enough to be offered a promotion around the time the divorce was entering its final proceedings, I was offered a considerable pay rise and a decent relocation package. All together I had enough cash to take the kids and start a new life in what was ostensibly my dream home.

The trip was filled with questions.

“Where are we going to go to school?” “What about our friends?” “Can we stop to buy doughnuts?”

It wasn’t an easy drive, still I was spurred on by the belief that I was doing the right thing.¬†When I’d first visited the house it had seemed like the perfect choice – finally something had come my way. The house was gorgeous, the kids would each have their own room with space to grow, there was a garden for them to play in and I was getting the kitchen that I’d always dreamt of cooking in. What could possibly go wrong?

The first night we spent there we all slept in the same room with our belongings in boxes, it would have been idyllic had it not been for the screams that I was woken up with at 4am. Jay had sneezed which had then led to an explosive nose bleed, Carrie had broken out in hives and poor Sarah could hardly breathe – meanwhile a nasty rash had broken out over my forehead: we were a sorry state in the emergency room that night.

After a week of rigorous tests the verdict was in: we were allergic to our new home. Dust mites triggered Sarah’s asthma and lingering dog hair had caused Jay’s reaction, but the doctors were still none the wiser when it came to my odd rash or Carrie’s hives.

I spent my evenings frantically Googling our symptoms, whilst the NHS processed our blood samples. Something about our genetic makeup was making both of us react to our new home. I exhausted options as far ranging as Nuclear Allergies (the local power station insisted that their Nuclear Event Detectors had not been triggered, despite my repeated requests for information) and the levels of chlorine in our new drinking water.

The doctors came to the conclusion that stress was the cause for mine and Carrie’s skin reactions. In the weeks since we arrived we’ve been able to eradicate any traces of allergens from our home – the symptoms have subsided but I think we’re all likely to remember that night for a long time to come…