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Is Your House Making Your Child Sick? Here's Help for Indoor Allergens

Written by Debra Luben, M.D. on Apr 20, 2016 8:00:00 AM

No matter how high your housekeeping standards are, it’s likely your home is filled with potential allergens. 

If your child has tested positive for allergies to indoor irritants, or if he or she has allergy symptoms like runny nose or itchy eyes – but it’s not allergy season – it may be the problem is in your house.

The main culprits are:

  •  Dust mites
  •  Molds
  •  Pets

Although decreasing allergens in your home may take extra care, it may reap huge benefits in your child’s quality of life.

Dust Mites

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These pesky critters thrive in warm, moist environments. 

  •  Vacuum one or two times weekly with a HEPA-filter vacuum cleaner.
  •  Clean out clutter in rooms and closets.
  •  Wash sheets and stuffed animals every week in hot water. Dry on high setting.
  •  Cover pillows, mattresses and box springs in allergen-blocking covers.
  •  Clean non-carpeted floors weekly with a damp mop. 

Molds 

Pesky molds lurk wherever moisture is found. 

  •  Scrub bathroom tile often and launder the shower curtain and liner.
  •  Dry clothes in a dryer, not outside.
  •  Don’t shampoo carpets or upholstery.
  •  Consider a dehumidifier.
  •  Check ventilation in bathrooms and kitchens.

Pets

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Dogs can be very allergenic, and cats are even worse. Hamsters and other rodents can be problematic as well.

If your child is allergic and wants a pet, I advise a fish or reptile. Think twice before bringing a dog or cat into the home.

If you already have a dog or cat you feel you can’t part with, here are some tips that might help:

  •  Keep the pet out of your child’s bedroom.
  •  Mop and vacuum frequently.
  •  Bathe the pet weekly.
  •  Keep the pet outdoors.
  •  Don’t let your child hug or pet the animal.

And Furthermore…

Keep doors and windows closed and use the air conditioner or heater. Be sure to change filters regularly and consider a HEPA air cleaner. 

I hope it goes without saying that you should never let someone smoke around your child – whether your child is allergic or not. 

And lastly, talk to your pediatrician if your child has indoor allergies. Safe, effective medications are available to help with symptoms. 

Is your child allergic to things in your house? What do you do about it?

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Dr. Debra Luben is a board-certified pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold’s Main Campus clinic. Her clinical interests are centered on preventive medicine and wellness.

 

 

Topics: what to do about child allergies, children allergies, mold, dust mites, pets, smoking, indoor allergens

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