Allergies Can Crop Up Indoors

Tips on how to protect children from irritants in home

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SATURDAY, Oct. 30, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Spring and summer aren't the only seasons that can cause allergies in children.

During the fall and winter, indoor irritants such as mold, cigarette smoke, dust mites, pet dander, sprays, chemicals and gas fumes can cause trouble for children with allergies.

The New York-Presbyterian Hospital offers some tips on how to make these seasons more bearable for children with allergies:

  • Keep your home's indoor humidity level below 35 percent to help prevent the growth of mold and mites. Use exhaust fans when you shower or cook to remove excess humidity and odors.
  • Don't put rugs or carpeting -- which provide ideal places for dust mites to proliferate -- in your children's rooms.
  • When they're outdoors, keep your children from playing in areas that promote mold growth, such as dark, wooded locations.
  • Use dust-proof covers on mattresses, box springs and pillows to decrease your child's exposure to allergens. But consult with your child's allergist before you purchase these items.
  • Wash nightclothes and bed linens in hot water (above 130 degrees Fahrenheit) to kill dust mites.
  • If you have a humidifier in the house, keep it clean and change the water frequently to avoid contamination by mold and bacteria. An anti-mold agent should be sprayed into central humidifiers.
  • Don't put plants in your children's rooms. Decaying leaves and increased humidity can stimulate the growth of mold.
  • If your child is allergic to dogs or cats, minimize contact. If the pets can't be removed from the home, keep them out of your child's bedroom at all times.
  • Children with asthma should get a flu shot in the fall before the start of cold weather. Keep your child well hydrated and protected from cold air with proper attire, such as a scarf over the mouth.
  • Contact your child's physician or allergist for proper evaluation and treatment of allergies.

More information

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has more about prevention of allergies and asthma in children.

SOURCE: New York-Presbyterian Hospital, news release, October 2004

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