Allergy & Air on July 13, 2015 6 Comments Allergies can cause a lot of symptoms, such as sneezing, itching, wheezing and coughing. Most adults are used to the symptoms, but for a child, it can be miserable. While a child’s reaction triggers might change over time and with age, it is important for all parents and guardians to learn their child’s triggers now so they can create an allergy free home. Here are 7 tips for treating your child’s allergies to help improve his or her breathing and overall health. 1. Understand the Triggers More often than not, sudden changes in the weather are what causes symptoms to flare, but there are a variety of other factors that can affect kids. Whether they are at home or at school, triggers can be anything from food to dust. Determine what your child’s triggers are and write them down. Update them as your kids grow and change so you can help prevent their allergic reactions. The following are some of the more common causes of allergies: Pollen Pet dander Food Mold or mildew Dust mites Chemical fumes and strong-scented products Grass and weeds Cockroach and bug droppings Tobacco, incense or wood smoke Weather fronts and changes in humidity levels 2. Limit Time Outdoors When Pollen is High If your child has an allergic reaction due to pollen, he or she is likely allergic to grasses, ragweed or other weeds and trees, especially when they are in bloom. It is best to keep your child indoors or limit his or her time outside during seasons when pollen is the most abundant outdoors. Keep windows and doors closed to keep the allergens out. You may also want to invest in an air purifier and filters to put in your child’s bedroom. 3. Keep Pets Outdoors and Groomed Pet fur can create all sorts of allergies for your child. Since pet fur can collect pollen, dust, and mold easily, make sure your pets are not constantly going in and out of your house, and make sure they stay out of your kid’s bedroom. Dander may also be a cause for a reaction. Animal saliva, urine and dander carry certain proteins that can cause reactions such as hives and itching. If you suspect that pet dander is the cause of your child’s allergies, be sure to wash your pet weekly, but not more than that. If you wash your cat or dog more often than once a week, their skin can dry out which may actually cause more dander. Take your dog to the groomers or have a nonallergic person in your household brush him or her daily to keep the dog’s coat neat and to prevent shedding. If your child is severely allergic to animals, it is recommended to find another home for your dog or keep the pet outdoors at all times so that you can establish an allergy free home. 4. Wipe Out Dust Mites As their name suggests, dust mites thrive on house dust. They also like warm temperatures and high humidity. Their droppings are one of the most common allergens inside our homes. If your child has symptoms due to dust mites, make sure you thoroughly clean your house on a daily basis. This includes vacuuming and shampooing any carpets you have, scrubbing the baseboards, dusting all surfaces including hard to reach areas and changing out the air filters frequently. Here are some other ways to wipe out dust mites before they can take over: Lower your home’s thermostat to mid 60s Keep your home’s humidity at or below 40 percent Keep the floors bare (no rugs, carpets or drapes) Use a dehumidifier to filter allergen-producing materials Dust all surfaces frequently Thoroughly wash all bedding in water at 140 degrees Purchase protective covers for all pillows and comforters Move toys, stuffed animals and books out of your child’s room Get rid of thick, fuzzy blankets and pillows that may gather dust Keep your child’s clothing in a separate room or closed closet 5. Treat and Prevent Mold Another common childhood allergen is mold. It can be found both indoors and outdoors. Outside it is commonly found in soil, on wet leaves or mulch, on patios or boat canvases, on vinyl lawn cushions and furniture, and on rotting wood. Indoors, mold can be found in carpets, garages, attics, bedrooms, bathrooms, and basements and in your refrigerator. To prevent mold, keep surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen dry. After taking a shower or bath, wipe down the wall tiles and bathtub until it is dry. Close your shower curtain; leaving it open can create mold in the creases. If you find mold, use diluted bleach or detergent to wash surfaces with. Other ways to prevent mold include: Avoid using plug-in air fresheners Using a dehumidifier or air conditioner to control the humidity and keep temperatures low Get rid of indoor plants that may cause mildew 6. Establish a Nonsmoking Home Not only is smoking bad for your lungs and nose, the smoke emitted can deposit allergens into your child’s lungs and nose. Establish a completely nonsmoking environment in your home. This includes more than just cigarettes. You should not burn candles, incense, or use wood stoves or fireplaces. 7. Talk to Your Child’s Teacher So what about when your child is at day care or school and you can’t control what they are exposed to or relieve their allergies? One of the most urgent problems for kids and parents involves keeping allergic reactions under control when the child is not at home. If your kid’s reactions are more severe, it is important to speak with a doctor about treatments and medication, especially in the event of an emergency. If his or her reactions are moderate, you should speak with teachers about the best plan of action and how to control the situation. Schedule a parent-teacher conference before the start of each school year to discuss what your kid’s triggers are, how the teacher can help prevent them and what the treatment should be if your kid has a reaction. If Symptoms Persist, Consult a Doctor By following these tips, you can help lessen the chances of your child having a reaction to an allergen and foster an allergy free home. Ultimately, it is important to learn what your child’s triggers are so you can prevent and treat them. If symptoms persist, it is best to consult a doctor about nasal rinses and sprays, as well as antihistamines that may help.