How can I protect my toddler from allergens?
I came across this article from babycenter.com that gave me great suggestions on how to improve the air quality of our home for Ethan and how to reduce allergens. Allergy symptoms include: Persistent cold symptoms; congestion; runny nose (mucus is clear and thin rather than yellow or greenish and thick); sneezing; red, itchy, tearing eyes or circles under the eyes; dry cough; breathing problems; wheezing; itchy red skin rash.
Here are the best ways to reduce your toddler’s exposure to the most common allergens: Dust mites Dust mites live in fabrics and carpets and are common in every room of the house. But children are usually exposed to the most dust mites in the bedroom, where mattresses and pillows are veritable dust-mite condominiums.
The following steps may seem like a lot of work, but they really help. “Parents who take these steps might expect a 60 to 70 percent rate of improvement in their child’s allergies,” says Virant, “and this should markedly cut down the level of medication needed for the problem.”
• Encase your toddler’s mattress in an impenetrable cover made of very tightly woven fabric, found at allergy supply stores. Unlike vinyl covers, these provide a barrier that’s breathable and not crinkly. Avoid big, fluffy comforters and use blankets instead.
• Wash bedding once a week in hot water to kill dust mites. Set your water heater to about 130 degrees Fahrenheit before laundering bedding, and warn family members that the water will be hotter than usual. Be sure to turn the water heater back down (to about 120 to 125 degrees) afterward so family members won’t scald themselves when they wash their hands or shower.
• Avoid piling up stuffed animals in your child’s room — they’re dust-mite magnets. Wash the few favorites your toddler can’t live without in hot water weekly or stick them in the freezer for an overnight killing frost.
• Dust and vacuum weekly or every other week, but make sure your child isn’t in the room when you do it. Dusting and vacuuming stir up residual dust-mite particles in the room. Wet mopping can help prevent this.
• Consider investing in a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate arresting) filter, which traps even microscopic particles that pass right through ordinary vacuum cleaners.
• If your toddler has a severe dust mite allergy, consider replacing carpeting with a smooth floor like hardwood or vinyl.
• Clean or replace filters on your furnace and air conditioners monthly during seasons they’re in use. Have heating ducts cleaned each fall.
Pet dander If your child is allergic to a pet, the only foolproof solution is to give the animal away. That’s not an easy decision to make, of course, and, understandably, you’ll want to consider it only as a last resort. To keep the dander down, wash your pet frequently. You can find shampoos that reduce dander in the pet store. Also keep your pet off the furniture and out of your toddler’s room.
Mold Use a dehumidifier and air conditioner when the weather is warm and moist, especially in a wet basement or other areas of your home where mold growth is a problem. If your bathroom is a mold factory, clean it regularly with mold-inhibiting disinfectants, such as a little bleach and water or a natural solution like tea tree oil and water. And consider investing in a better ventilation system. Mold can often be found growing in closets, attics, cellars, planters, refrigerators, shower stalls, and garbage cans and under carpets. Even a fake Christmas tree can harbor mold.