Coughing, sneezing, itching, wheezing -- kids with allergies face a lot of miserable symptoms. And, your child's triggers may change over time. Sudden weather changes also can make symptoms flare.
Learn what triggers your child's allergies now, at least, and get serious about avoiding them. These tips can help you improve your child's breathing and quality of life.
Learn Your Child's Allergy Triggers
Write down what causes your child's symptoms:
As the weather gets warmer, pollens and molds float into the air. If you have seasonal allergies, check your local pollen forecast in case you need to limit your outdoor time on high-count days.
2. Protect your bed.
You spend a third to half your life in your bedroom, so make sure allergens like dust mites don't, too. If you've had your pillow and mattress for several years, replace them. Encase new ones in allergen-proof covers that zip closed. Keep pets and clothes you wear outside out of the bedroom.
3. Flirt with a new floor.
If you have carpet now, you may want to look into switching to hardwood, tile, or linoleum floors. They’re easier to clean and aren't a haven for allergens. When you clean them, use a damp mop, since sweeping just stirs up the stuff that sets off your symptoms.
Jackie Onassis did. Audrey Hepburn did. You should, too -- at least when pollen counts are high. Especially on windy days, big sunglasses will help keep pollen out of your eyes.
5. Let the dogs out.
The best way to minimize allergies from pets is to keep them outside most of the time. If you can't keep your furry pals outdoors, limit them to one or two rooms of your home. Pets can also carry allergens on their coats, so clean their fur and paws before they come inside.
6. Bathe Fido and Fluffy.
There's really no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog or cat. Both animals spread allergens in their dander (dead skin cells), pee, and saliva. Bathe and brush your four-legged friend regularly -- that may help.
7. Stroll after sundown.
On peak pollen days, stay indoors while the sun's up, when pollen counts are higher. Instead, ride your bike, walk, or run in the evening. Shower when you come back home.
8. Trap trouble.
HEPA filters snare allergens. Clean carpets in your home once a week with a vacuum that has this type of filter.
Do you have central heating and air conditioning? These filters should also go on your vents.
9. See a pro.
If you’ve tried over-the-counter meds and need more relief, an allergist can find out what causes your allergy and how severe it is. She can also set you up with an advanced treatment plan, which may include prescription medicines or allergy shots.
American Academy of Family Physicians: "Allergies: Things You Can Do to Control Your Symptoms."
Talal M. Nsouli, MD, director, Watergate and Burke Allergy and Asthma Centers; consultant, White House Medical Office; Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Allergy/Immunology, Georgetown University School of Medicine.
WebMD Medical Reference: "Understanding Allergy and Hay Fever Medications."