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The Healthy House® was set up as a family business to help others with allergies and chemical sensitivities.
When our children were born in the 1970s we were living in Canada and owned and operated a pine furniture manufacturing business. We lived in the country in a small farmhouse with few neighbours.
Our son, Alexander, showed signs of food allergies and digestive problems very early on and even before our daughter was born she was labelled as "very active" by the nurses examining me. This was just a small indication of what was to come. Both children found it very difficult to sleep and both suffered continuous ear and throat infections until we removed dairy products from their diet.
When Emma was 16 months old she was taken into hospital with digestive problems though the consultant had told me he thought she and I had a personality conflict! This did not endear us to traditional medicine. In fact, much to the consultant's surprise, Emma calmed right down in the sterile hospital environment and slept well for the first time in her life. She was found to have multiple allergies -in particular to house dust, dust mite, moulds and pets.
Things improved with both the children when we had a central air cleaner installed on the furnace of the house, filtering all airborne particles including the hairs from our dog. However, with Emma things were still not right and when she was three we were fortunate to have found an ecological doctor who could help us. Both she and I were diagnosed with multiple chemical sensitivity (commonly known as M.C.S) and finally things started to make sense. Read more about our experiences with multiple chemical sensitivity here.
At the time Don and I owned and ran a pine furniture business just outside Ottawa. As well as running the business, Don was involved in the manufacture of furniture and at the beginning I was finishing the furniture. This was probably one of the causative factors in our chemical sensitivity.
I was very depressed and lacking in energy at this time and although we could have put it down to sleepless nights and problems with the children, I felt there was more to it than that. It was when the ecological doctor we finally found asked if there was a pattern to my week that it became quite clear that I was reacting to the chemicals at work and that Emma was also suffering from the effects of the business as well as synthetics in the home. We had already stripped the foam rubber underlay from underneath the carpet throughout the house. We spent a long time searching for bedding and other products that would help though we did have a few major set backs during this time - one was when we had patio doors put into the kitchen and acrylic sealant was used.
In 1984 we sold the business and moved to Gloucestershire where the children could continue their Steiner education - certainly beneficial for chemical sensitivity since the children only use natural products, wood, beeswax, wool, cotton etc. It was shortly after we moved that we finally determined that Alexander was very sensitive to baker's yeast. This was the result of a short visit to Lyme Regis where, having had a croissant for breakfast, he could no longer stay upright and lay down on the end of the Lyme Regis pier to rest. (Lethargy is a common symptom of yeast allergy though we had not known that at the time). We spent the next 10 years making soda bread so that he could take a sandwich to school.
In the first few years of living in the U.K. we found it very difficult to find products for people with allergies and in particular, chemical sensitivities. It was then that we came to realise how little there was in the way of information and products available for people with allergies and chemical sensitivities. Read more about our family story here.
In 1990 we started sourcing products and writing the first Healthy House catalogue.
Over the years the product range has grown from a skeletal group of products to the wide range we offer today. Though we now have eight members of staff and hundreds of products we retain our original ethos - to provide high quality information and safe products for people with allergies and sensitivities. We welcome your phone calls and are confident that we can help with most allergies and sensitivities.
We encourage people to use untreated and natural materials whenever possible and to be aware of the hundreds of chemicals that are now used in everyday products from cleaning products and toiletries to home furnishings.
When choosing products for our range we are careful to ensure that not only is the product effective for what it was designed for, but also that it will not introduce other problems or pollutants into the indoor environment. This is why you will not find treated dust mite proof bedding in our range. The dust mite proof cases work through the density of the weave and do not need chemical treatments.
We provide products for asthma. eczema, hay fever, chemical sensitivity, dust mite, pet and mould allergies, electrical sensitivity and Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.). Products to combat electrostress and to relieve some of the symptoms of electrosensitivity are a growing part of the business.
In addition to our years of personal experience, we have over twenty years experience of working in the allergy field and understand the difficulties faced by very sensitive people. We welcome your phone calls and are confident that we can help you towards a healthier indoor environment and reduction in your allergy symptoms.
Maxima and Don Skelton