Indoor Year-Round Allergies in Children
Indoor allergies in children can hit any time of year. Your kids can be affected by indoor allergens any place they happen to be—from home to school to grandma’s house. Here are the most common causes of indoor allergies in kids.
Dust allergies are a reaction to dust mites, or microscopic creatures that eat our dead skin cells and live in pillows, mattresses, blankets, carpets, and in dust piles.
Fast facts about dust allergies
Dust mites thrive when the weather is warm and humid. Temperatures of 70°F or higher and humidity of 75% to 80% are their ideal climate since cold, dry places can kill them
Dust mites thrive wherever dead skin ends up—places like carpets and couches
Dust mites particularly love stuffed animals. Since so many stuffed animals stick around for years, droppings from the mites tend to build up inside their fluff. But you can kill dust mites by popping these toys in a hot dryer for at least 15 minutes at a temperature above 130°F (54.4°C)
Pets can be part of the family. But kids with pet allergies are allergic to the dander (dead skin cells) on their fur and some proteins in their saliva or urine.
Fast facts about pet allergies:
Any pet with fur can produce dander. That includes dogs, cats, bunnies, guinea pigs, hamsters, etc
There is no such thing as a truly hypoallergenic dog. But some breeds of dogs with coats that don’t shed as much may cause less symptoms
Kids with cat allergies are actually allergic to a protein found in the saliva, urine, and glands of cats. But some types of cats produce less of this irritant and are considered hypoallergenic
Mold spores float through the air and are present both indoors, in places like the bathroom or basement, and outdoors, like on a pile of wet leaves.
Fast facts about mold:
Mold likes moisture:Mold (and dust mites) love damp spaces. Use a dehumidifier to keep the humidity in your house down. Keep bathroom and kitchen surfaces dry
Mold thrives in the dark:Let the sun shine into your home during the day and use a nightlight at night to help prevent mold from growing in dark, damp spaces
Mold likes warm weather:Mold likes warm temperatures. Cold temperatures can inhibit the growth of mold
A mom’s guide to help minimize your kid’s indoor allergies
While medication can relieve allergy symptoms, these steps may help your child before the sneezing, runny nose, or other symptoms begin.
- Remove dust collectors:Stuffed animals, books, piles of clothes, upholstered furniture, stacks of boxes, items under the bed, wool blankets, heavy drapes and horizontal blinds, electric fans, and large house plants all collect dust and should be removed from your child’s bedroom
- Track your home humidity:Place a humidity gauge in your child’s bedroom or play area, especially if they have a play space in the basement. Keep the humidity levels in the 25%-40% range
- Keep spot clean:To keep pet dander at bay, bathe your pet regularly and make sure your kid washes his or her hands after playing with the pet
- Think ahead:Ask friends if they have pets before visiting their homes. If they do, talk to your child’s pediatrician about giving him or her allergy medication before visiting friends
- Test drive a pet:Try babysitting a pet to see if your child has an allergic reaction before your family commits to giving a pet a home
- No smoking!:Second-hand smoke can exacerbate allergy symptoms. It’s best to keep your child away from cigarette smoke
It can be challenging when your child develops an allergy to a well-loved, four-legged member of the family, especially for the child. These tips can help:
Keep your home well ventilated
Use a HEPA vacuum (see glossary) to keep dander down
Consider making certain areas of your home off limits to your pet
Use scat mats to keep pets off the furniture
Your child’s room should definitely be off limits
Teach your child to wash his or her hands or change clothes after playing with the pet
To eliminate dust mites, use a damp sponge or mop to clean surfaces
Use a vacuum with a special filter that doesn’t move dust around, invest in a HEPA filter to remove allergens from the air
Catch dust by placing cheesecloth over vents and change every few months. Keep bedroom closet doors closed
Vacuum your child’s mattress every 2 weeks or use a special anti-allergen cover for his or her mattress and pillow
Look into hiring a professional to clean your home’s central air or heating ducts. This can be expensive but can eliminate many of the allergens bothering your child
Use hypoallergenic pillows, mattresses and furniture. Wrap other furniture in anti-allergen covers, and consider getting rid of carpeting that can house mold and dust
To prevent mold growth, clear the fridge of old food
If your child is having symptoms or any part of your house smells musty or you see visible signs of mold, you can hire an environmental testing company to test for molds in your home. (There are DYI home testing kits, too.) If there’s a problem, a mold remediation company can also help clean it up and keep the problem from spreading
Wall-to-wall carpeting is soft and cozy on little feet—but it’s also the home to many indoor allergens, including mold. Since it can be difficult to keep your carpet allergen free, consider replacing your carpet with hardwood floors
Do they suffer more when they’re out playing? Get help with your child’s outdoor seasonal allergies.
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What are PERENNIAL ALLERGIES?
Another name for indoor allergies.
A chronic disease characterized by an overreaction of the immune system to certain proteins found inside, such as mold spores, pet dander, cockroach or dust mite droppings, etc.
See more at the Smart Allergy Mom™ Toolkit Glossary
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