How to Control Your Child's Indoor Allergies

Do your child's allergy symptoms kick into high gear when he's indoors? He may be allergic to things that are floating in the air inside your home, like pet dander, dust mites, or mold.

Take some simple steps to calm down his itchy eyes, sneezing, and stuffed-up or runny nose.

First, learn about the triggers of indoor allergies. Your child can have allergy flare-ups from even small amounts of:

  • Dust mites and their droppings
  • Saliva from dogs and cats, or dander (tiny pieces of skin shed by your pet)
  • Urine in the bedding of mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and hamsters
  • Cockroach droppings
  • Indoor mold

What You Can Do

Small changes to your home can make a big difference in how your child feels:

  • Seal pillows, mattresses, and box springs in allergen-proof covers to keep dust mites away.
  • Vacuum regularly to suck up indoor allergy triggers. Make sure your machine has a HEPA filter.
  • Wash sheets and blankets every week or two in hot water. Put them in the dryer on a high setting to kill and clear away dust mites.
  • If your child is allergic to dogs or cats, keep them out of his bedroom. Bathe the animal every week to help cut down on dander.
  • Don't let your child with allergies clean out the cages of your pet mice, hamsters, guinea pigs, or rabbits. Give that chore to someone else in the family.
  • Consider replacing carpet with hardwood, linoleum, or tile.

To prevent cockroach invasions, seal cracks and openings in your home, and follow these tips:

  • Clean the kitchen regularly.
  • Keep your home free of leaks and puddles of water.
  • Store food in sealed containers.
  • Use a garbage can with a lid.
  • Put away pet-food dishes when they're not being used.

To reduce mold, use dehumidifiers in damp areas of your home. Make sure your kitchen, bathrooms, and basement have good ventilation. Also, use exhaust fans in the kitchen and in the bathroom.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Amita Shroff, MD on October 29, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology: "Indoor allergens: tips to remember," "Indoor allergens 101."

American Academy of Pediatrics: "Allergy tips."

Kliegman: Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th edition, Saunders, 2011.

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