Winter weather means more time inside and for children with indoor allergies, it’s important that the many hours spent in the bedroom sleeping, playing and doing homework are allergen-free
Indoor allergies can cause symptoms including stuffy or runny nose, itchy watery eyes, sneezing, asthma and skin rashes.
“Studies have shown that avoidance measures can be just as effective as drug therapy for controlling these symptoms,” said Dr. Steven McEldowney of Allergy and Asthma Care of Blakeney, an allergist. Dr. McEldowney, a specialist in diagnosing and treating allergies and asthma, and the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) offer the following tips to create an allergy-free zone and prevent sneezing and wheezing all winter long:
- Banish Clutter, Even Toys: Piles of toys, stacks of books, anything that can collect dust should be kept to a minimum. Consider storing books and toys in plastic containers with a lid and enlist kids to put items back after use.
- Keep Fluffy & Fido Out: Pet dander is a known asthma trigger, so declare Junior’s room a pet-free zone. Also consider bathing pets once a week to reduce dander.
- Limit Snacks to the Kitchen: Crumbs can invite cockroaches to visit, even in the bedroom. And cockroach droppings can cause severe allergy and asthma symptoms. Since they require food and moisture to survive, having a no food policy in your child’s room can keep these pests away.
- Sweep Away Symptoms: If there is carpet or an area rug in your child’s room, use a cyclonic vacuum or a vacuum with a HEPA filter regularly. Next, keep kids with allergies and asthma out of freshly vacuumed areas for two hours – the amount of time it takes for dust stirred up by vacuuming to settle back down.
- Deter Dust Mites: Sheets, mattresses and pillows are a welcome breeding ground for dust mites, which can cause year round watery eyes and runny noses. Wash all bedding in hot water or bleach as directed every ten days. Also consider protecting pillows and mattresses with removable allergy-resistant coverings.
- Forbid Fumes – Anywhere in the House: Cigarette smoke, scented candles and room deodorizers used in any room of the house can cause asthma symptoms. Limiting their use just to the basement or an attached garage won’t cut it. What happens in the basement can effect air quality in Junior’s bedroom.
- Lower the Humidity: Keep tabs on the indoor humidity in your home and keep it below 50%. Use a dehumidifier if necessary.
- Keep the moisture out:Clean bathrooms, kitchens, and basements regularly and keep them well aired. Repair all water leaks.
- Prep the furnace: Change filters before winter and every three months, and use filters with a MERV rating of 8 to 12. A MERV rating tells you how well the filter removes dust from the air as it passes through the filter. Leave the fan “on” to create whole house filtration.