newborn and children's health

Protecting Your Children from Common Allergens

child sneezing from allergiesIf you or your spouse suffers from allergies, there's a greater chance that your child also will develop allergies. But all of the things you do to protect yourself from allergens also will help your children.

Here are some extra steps you can take, just for them:

  • Avoid exposing children to passive cigarette smoke. It can worsen allergy symptoms and trigger asthma attacks.
  • Encase children's bedding in allergy covers, and wash linens in water that is at least 130 degrees F and dry them at high heat at least once a week.
  • Keep pets out of children's bedrooms.
  • Limit the stuffed toys allowed in their bedrooms. If they want to sleep with a favorite stuffed toy, make sure it's one that can be washed or dried at high temperatures. If washing isn't practical, you can freeze the stuffed toy for 48 hours.
  • Dust and vacuum or damp-mop your child's room twice weekly.
  • Replace down comforters, quilts and duvets with fleece or other easily washable blankets.
  • Establish a routine for treating your child's allergies and asthma. Adjust the routine as necessary for summer break, but make sure there is still a routine. Before vacation, make sure you have plenty of your child's medications, including treatment for an asthma attack.
  • If your child goes to summer camp, make sure the camp counselors receive a checklist of the child's allergy and asthma triggers. The trigger list might include sensitivities and allergens such as exercise, molds and pollens, perfumes and strong odors, trees and grasses, insect stings and animal dander. If your child has asthma, provide a written action plan from your child's doctor for treating emergencies.