If your child has allergies, keeping him away from what causes them may seem overwhelming. But it's easier than you think: Allergens are likely to hang out where your child does -- in his bedroom.
The room may be filled with:
- Common indoor allergens, like dust mites, mold, pet dander, and even cockroaches
- Outdoor allergens, like pollen, that can come in on shoes and pets and be in the air coming through an open window
- Substances in the air that can irritate airways, like secondhand smoke, product fragrances, and fumes from cleaning supplies. Although these aren't allergens, they can worsen allergy symptoms.
Ditch Dust Mites
The microscopic droppings of dust mites are the most common cause of year-round allergies. Although you can never fully get rid of dust mites, there are things you can do to get lessen your child's exposure.
- Wash bed sheets and blankets weekly in hot water.
- Cover pillows and mattresses in dust-proof covers.
- Use HEPA filters in your heating and air conditioning unit and your vacuum cleaner.
- Avoid wall-to-wall carpet, if possible. Use washable throw rugs instead.
Make a Mold-Free Bedroom
Mold in your home can add to your child's allergy symptoms. Find the mold and its source:
- Check carpeting for signs of mold or mildew, especially near windows.
- Encourage your child to not leave dirty clothes on the floor. Don't leave damp or sweaty garments for a long time in the hamper. That's a perfect breeding ground for mold. Empty the hamper every day.
- If you notice condensation on windows or window frames, try to find the cause. Find out how to deal with it so it doesn't lead to mold.
- Fix leaky pipes or roofs.
Get Picky with Pets
Allergies to pets are usually reactions to a protein in pet saliva, dead skin flakes (dander), or urine of a furry animal. It’s not usually due to an animal’s hair. There is no such thing as a hypo-allergenic dog or cat breed, though some animals tend to produce more allergens than others.
If you're thinking about a pet, consider one without fur or feathers. For instance, fish or a reptile shouldn't trigger a child’s allergy symptoms.
If a dog, cat, or other furry animal is already part of your home and your hearts, try to:
- Keep your pet out of your child's bedroom.
- Bathe your pet weekly to cut down on the dander he sheds -- in the bedroom and elsewhere.
- Have a non-allergic person clean the animal cage.
Cockroach droppings can cause severe allergy symptoms in some people. They're often found in kitchens. They can easily make their way to other rooms.
Crumbs are a calling card to cockroaches. Make bedrooms no-food zones.
Better yet, hire a service to rid your home of cockroaches. Seal any cracks or leaks that they may use to get into your house.
These overall home strategies can also help:
- Ban smoking from the house.Tobacco smoke is not an allergen, but it can be an irritant and aggravate allergy or asthma symptoms.
- Dust and vacuum the house using a HEPA filter at least once a week.
- Change the filter in your furnace before winter and every 3 months.
- Keep windows closed during high-pollen time. Use air conditioning instead.
- Don’t wear your shoes in the house. Leave them at the door to lessen the outside allergens you track in.