Saturday, April 21, 2012

Being Environmentally Friendly with Ichthyosis

I have always had a soft spot for this planet and try to do what I can to help keep it clean and be environmentally friendly. Having a child makes me even more concerned for this Earth, as I would like Evan to grow up on a healthy, clean planet. Since the care for an Ichthyosis baby requires a lot of sterilization, sterile materials and some non natural items, I do my best to help the environment when I can.

While Evan was in the hospital, I quickly realized and was surprised by how much waste was created because of the gloves, gauze, diapers, wipes, Aquaphor jars/tubes, eye drop bottles etc etc. My husband and I considered using cloth diapers (which was our initial idea for our 1st baby) but with Evan's condition I wanted to make sure we were using the cleanest and most sterile items on his skin to prevent infection. And disposable diapers did not bother him so it was the best choice. I always use gloves when applying Aquaphor which creates a lot of waste. But again, I want to make sure I avoid the risk of infection and we have been very lucky so far.

Fortunately, the Aquaphor jars and eye drop bottles go right into the recycling bin as well as the boxes some of these items come in.  About 99% of the baby food I purchase for Evan is organic and in glass jars, which we reuse and recycle. Another way we help the Earth (unintentionally) is the great use we get out of baby clothes. Since Evan has been a super slow grower, he has pretty much worn out all of his outfits. For the items I can not donate due to stains or Aquaphor residue, I use for sewing projects or rags.

We obviously go through A LOT of water as well. Unfortunately it's unavoidable but we do what we can to conserve. Since Evan is still small enough for his baby tub, we use it once a day and only use about 2 1/2 gallons of water for it. This is a HUGE save until he starts getting in the big tub everyday, twice a day. Our 'big tub' was installed specifically for Evan. It is a MicroSilk tub and uses mini bubbles to 'clean out your pores'. For Evan these tiny bubbles get underneath his scale which helps for easier removal. This MicroSilk tub is actually referred to as a 'Green tub' because the tiny bubbles create energy to keep the water warm without using extra energy. We do not have to use baking soda in the MicroSilk tub so we save on that as well.

Laundry is never ending but luckily we have updated energy efficient appliances. The washing machine also uses less water than the traditional washer. Bleach is a staple, unfortunately, but I know it cleans and kills our enemy, BACTERIA. When I am not using bleach for his laundry, I use a detergent free of dyes and perfumes and I never use dryer sheets.

In the summer it is hard to be energy efficient when it is hot becuase an air conditioner is Evan's lifesaver. We do not have central air but the AC we use is up to date and more energy efficient than the traditional window AC. Our home is tucked into a shady forest which helps keep the temps down in the summer as well. Our local lake and pool are great cooling areas for Evan and these outings can help give the AC a rest for a few hours.

It can be hard to 'be green' when caring for a child with Ichthyosis but we do what we can. Recycling is a must in our home. We recycle everything and reuse anything we can. We do not produce much garbage other than the waste items from Evan's care. I would have a compost pile if it wasn't for the bears and our house is filled with different plants which helps filter the air and decorates at the same time.

I'm sure you all are conscious of our planet and do what you can to help keep it clean and conserve. Even though Earth Day is officially tomorrow we should all celebrate it everyday by keeping it clean for our generations to come.

 LOVE this planet


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