Photo Credit: Gettty Images
So, once the allergens are identified, how do you help your child avoid them?
Some things are obvious. If his symptoms get worse when he's around the neighbor's cat, then he shouldn't play with the cat. However, many allergens are not that easy to avoid.
Dust mites, cockroaches, molds, and pet dander are some of the more common sources of indoor allergens. And even though you may feel you keep your house immaculately clean, these microscopic particles may be found in almost anyone's house. While there are elaborate, very time-consuming strategies that may be employed to limit allergens in the household, most parents find that following all the possible ones is tiring and discouraging.
Following are eight interventions that may help:
- Limit the number of carpets on the floor. Indoor allergens are very difficult to remove from carpets, and even if successfully removed, they quickly return.
- If you have a basement, keep your child out of it. Most basements are damp even if there is no standing water in it. This damp environment is a great place for mold. Using a dehumidifier to keep the humidity below 50 percent may be an option as well.
- Cover your child's mattress and boxspring with a vinyl case that zips up. These may range in price from $5-40 dollars, so shop around.
- Remove cloth drapes or curtains from the child's bedroom and replace them with blinds
- If possible, remove stuffed animals from the bed. If this just won't work with your child, have him pick just one and wash it often.
- Wash the bed linens and stuffed animal in water that is hotter than 130 degree F. This kills dust mites.
- Use an air purifier with high-efficiency particulate-arresting (HEPA) filter. This decrease the amount of allergen floating in the air.
- And finally, if it's the family pet, ideally, giving away the pet would be best. But, when the pet is as much a part of the family as any member of the household, this may not be an option. A weekly bath for furry animals will decrease the amount of allergen (dander, skin cells, etc.) going into the air. Keep the pet out of the bed but also out of the bedroom at all times.