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Children’s Indoor Allergies

From home to school to grandma’s house, find simple tips to help keep your kid’s indoor allergy symptoms in check.

This content is provided by Smart Allergy Mom® Toolkit. Visit the site to find more family-friendly tips for managing your kid’s allergies.

Overview

Your home should be a fun, safe space for your little ones to play and grow. But for children with indoor allergies it can also be the source of allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. Indoor allergies can happen any time of the year. However, since kids often spend more time inside during colder months, indoor allergies can be especially troublesome in the winter.

Select an allergy to learn more:

PET ALLERGIES
DUST ALLERGIES
MOLD ALLERGIES
CHILDREN’S ALLERGY SYMPTOMS
  • Runny nose icon

    Runny Nose

  • Itchy, watery eyes icon

    Itchy, Watery Eyes

  • Sneezing icon

    Sneezing

  • Itchy nose or throat icon

    Itchy Nose or Throat

Allergy testing by an allergist can help assess whether your symptoms are caused by dust mites, pet dander or mold.

Pet Allergies

If furry friends give your kid a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes, it’s not their fur that causes the allergic reaction. It’s the proteins found in the animal’s dander (dead skin cells), saliva or urine. These allergens are transported to the skin or fur, where kids touch dogs and cats most often. These particles are so light that they can be transported in the air and carried on your child’s clothes and hair.

Tip icon
DID YOU KNOW?

Most people think of dogs and cats when it comes to pet allergies. But the allergy-causing proteins in pet dander can also be found in hamsters, rabbits, gerbils, guinea pigs and more. 1

Tips for Kids with Pet Allergies

TAME FOUR-LEGGED FRIENDS

Keep furry family members out of your child’s bedroom and be sure to teach your kid to wash his or her hands after playing with pets. 2

SCRUB-A-DUB-DUB

If you have a pet, giving him or her regular baths can reduce your kid’s exposure to their allergens.

BE PICKY ABOUT PETS

Consider babysitting or fostering a pet before adopting to see if he or she affects your kid’s allergies. Cats may cause more allergy symptoms than dogs. But remember, even furry animals that don't shed can cause pet allergy symptoms.

PLAY SMART

If you are bringing your child to a playdate at a friend’s house, ask if they have pets so you can be prepared with allergy medicine if your child’s symptoms strike.

Dust Allergies

Overview

Dust mites. are found in the dust particles that collect naturally around your home. These microscopic creatures live off dead skin cells, hiding in household fabrics, such as pillows, mattresses, upholstered furniture, blankets, carpets and stuffed animals.

Dust mites are more prevalent in humid areas of your home and during the summer months. However, if you live in a warmer, more humid climate, they’re prevalent year-round.

Tip icon
DID YOU KNOW?

The average home may collect an estimated 40 pounds of dust each year. 3

Tips for Kids with Pet Allergies

REDUCE DUST BUNNIES

Toys, knick-knacks and other clutter can be magnets for dust mites and other allergens. Be sure to dust with a damp sponge or mop regularly and use a vacuum with a HEPA filter or double bag. Store all your child's clothes in drawers and closets to help reduce dust build-up. 3

SLEEP TIGHT

To help reduce allergen build-up, wash all bedding and blankets regularly in hot water (at least 130°F). 3 Always follow washing directions. Vacuum your child’s mattress every two weeks or use a special dust-mite cover for his or her mattress and pillow. You can also invest in hypoallergenic pillows, mattresses and furniture. 2

TAKE STUFFED ANIMALS FOR A SPIN

Dust mite droppings can build up on stuffed animal fluff over time. To kill these microscopic allergy triggers, wash stuffed animals in hot water regularly. It’s also a good idea to limit the number of stuffed animals on your child’s bed to one or two favorites, so they’re exposed to fewer dust mites at night. 2

DITCH THE CARPET

Wall-to-wall carpeting is soft and cozy on little feet, but it’s also a magnet for many indoor allergens, including dust, pet dander and mold. Consider replacing carpet with hardwood floors. 2

Mold Allergies

Overview

Microscopic mold spores that float in the air like pollen can trigger kids’ mold allergies. Indoor molds shed spores all year and are found lurking in damp spots, such as basements, bathrooms, laundry rooms, attics, refrigerators and windowsills. Since mold thrives in damp spaces, your child may experience allergy symptoms more during the summer months when it’s hot and humid. But they can be prevalent year-round in the South and on the West Coast.

Tips for Kids with Mold Allergies

CLEAN HOUSE

Help prevent mold with regular bathroom, laundry room and basement cleanings. Don’t leave damp laundry lying in the washing machine for long periods of time. Wash shower curtains and bathroom tiles, grouting and fixtures with mold-killing and mold-preventing products. Use machine washable bath mats in the bathroom.

DEHUMIDFY

Keep the relative humidity in your home below 50 percent. You can get a hygrometer (humidity monitor) at many hardware stores to measure your home’s humidity. 3 When it’s humid, place a dehumidifier in damp areas and your kid’s bedroom to keep humidity in check.

LIGHTEN UP

Mold doesn't like sunlight, so try to keep the curtains or shades open during the day, especially in your child’s bedroom.

GO HYPOALLERGENIC

Sweat can make pillows, mattresses and furniture filled with foam rubber moldy. So be sure to check the label for “ hypoallergenic."

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Want to Talk to Your Pediatrician?

The Smart Allergy Mom® Toolkit has questions to ask your pediatrician about your kid’s allergies so you can have more productive doctor’s visits.

REFERENCES
  1. Pet Allergy. Mayo Clinic. Accessed September 10, 2017.

  2. Indoor Year-Round Allergies in Children. Smart Allergy Mom® Toolkit. Accessed September 27, 2017.

  3. Allergy Dust Mites. ENT and Allergy Center of Missouri. University Physicians. University of Missouri Health Center.

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