Have you noticed lately that your child’s cold symptoms have been lasting longer than a normal cold? A normal cold can stay in a system between 7-10 days. If a runny nose, itchy eyes, and sneezing keep happening after this your child may have an allergy. Allergy symptoms can be very similar to a cold and that is where it can get very tricky to decide on if your child has a persistent cold or if has turned into an allergy. Ask your doctor if you are unsure. If you truly feel your child has an allergy you can take them to the doctor who may recommend that you see an allergist. At the allergist office your child may have to go through a blood test or a skin test, which is where they rub certain allergens onto you child’s skin and wait for a reaction to see what they are allergic too. If the blood test comes back inconclusive the allergist will want to do the skin test. If you don’t want to put your child through all the tests just yet there are lots of things you can do on your own before.
There maybe some things you can do before you have to put your child through the allergen test. If you can identify the allergen yourself that can save a lot of trouble and extra testing. If it is the colder winter months and your child is experiencing allergy symptoms it may be an interior allergy. There are lots of allergens outside, such as pollen, but in the colder months that is usually not a cause for people’s allergies since most of the pollen and flowers are dead. If there is a pet in the home try removing the pet for awhile and seeing if that helps, if so then you have just discovered the allergen without putting your child through those test. But it may not always be that easy. If you have flowers in your home you may consider removing them if you suspect your child to be allergic. There are lots of places in your child’s bedroom that allergens can hide and manifest.
Your child’s bed can be a home for dust mites. Washing sheets, and bedding on a weekly basis can eliminate the amount of dust mites. Make sure you are washing on a hot cycle to make sure all the dust mites are getting killed. You can find hypoallergenic mattress covers, and pillowcases for your mattress and pillows that aren’t as easily washable. Stuffed animals have a tendency to live on kid’s beds. Which can be another home for dust mites to settle on. If you cannot get rid of the stuffed animals from the bed, try washing them regularly. If you cannot wash them freeze them then put them through a dryer cycle and that will kill the dust mites as well. Another way to clean the stuffed animals would be to vacuum them weekly. Make sure that you add in little security blankets onto the weekly sheet washing. If they get carried outside they maybe bringing pollen from the outdoors in.
Does your child have a lot of knick knacks or clutter on their shelves? Clean it out! Some items are special and are going to be wanted in the room but if you can declutter that stops there being space for the dust to settle on. If you are dusting a room try not to just use a duster, that will push all the dust particles into the air and maybe easier to breathe in. Use green cleaning products that offer a dusting spray that you spray on the shelves then clean up with a rag to minimize what is put into the air.
If there are furry pets in the home try taking the pet away from your child to see if the symptoms go away. If there are no longer any symptoms with the pets removed your child could be allergic to the dander, or hair from your pet. That may not be the single thing they are allergic too. But if you do have pets try and make the bedroom a pet-free zone. Keep them off the beds so their fur and dander (the white flakes of skin) do not stay on the bed.
It is important with pets or not to vacuum throughout the week, at least once if not more. Taking carpet out will stop things from settling in the carpet. Tile, laminate, or hardwood is easier to just sweep up the dust. Floor rugs can cause the same problems that carpet does. A floor rug that can be machine washable will always get cleaner than one you can only vacuum. Another item that can hold dust in a room are blinds, or curtains. Try washing or vacuuming curtains when you vacuum your child’s carpet or even get machine washable curtains. Dust the blinds regularly or you can go with pull down shades that can be wiped down along with the glass on the window and window pane.
Along with keeping things clean on the inside. Try not to bring the outside inside when possible. Remove shoes so pollen and other things can’t be dragged through the house. If you clean laundry and hang outside to dry the laundry has a possibility of getting pollen on it and then being brought into the home. Or mold can occur on the laundry when air dried if it is not completely dried out.
Another thing that you may want to check in your home is the humidity levels. Houses can get too humid, which can cause mold and the air to be too moist. If your house is too humid look into getting a dehumidifier and not having you house be more than 50% humidity. Hygrometers will help to control the humidity levels in your home.
A home improvement that is a good one is if you have access to your air filter, make sure you are changing that monthly or as instructions explain for your heater. Making sure that stays clean will make the air that is pushed through your vents is as clean as possible.
Make sure your bathrooms and kitchens are free of mold. Mold is prominent in any area of the home that holds a lot of moisture. For the areas that are prone to getting mold try using the preventative sprays on top of regular cleaning. You can use bleach and other home cleaners to get rid of mold. If there seems to be a lot or there are is mold in the walls there are professionals who will come and rid your home of mold.
Pests, such as cockroaches can also cause allergies. Spray, and keep these pests at bay as best you can. Make sure that you home is clean, and food and garbage is being taken out so these nasty friends don’t try and take over.
There are lots of things to try to make your home more allergy free. Some things are easier than others. Start with a few and build up. See if just increasing vacuuming and dusting with a spray decreases your child’s symptoms. Or do a full spring cleaning and see. You will know if it helps or not with time. Who knew there was so many spots for allergens to live just in your child’s bedroom. If you have allergies as well make sure when you are cleaning that you wear a mask so that you aren’t inhaling any of the dust yourself. If symptoms continue do reach out to your doctor and they may be able to intervene differently in helping your child feel better.
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