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Keeping Allergens Away From Children During Winter

by Tania Cowling | February 9th, 2015 | Care, Infants/Toddlers

baby sneezing (400x400) (2)Is your child sniffling this winter? Maybe it’s not a respiratory cold, but allergies. Yes, you can get an allergy flare during the winter too! When the house is airtight due to cold weather and snow there are things you need to do to ensure an allergen-free environment for you little ones. Go through this checklist for a few tips.

Check your furnace filter. Making sure your child’s sleeping area is free from airborne allergens is a must during the winter months. It’s important to get the right air filter for your furnace, as well as your A/C units. The filters really help remove irritants from the air. Remember your child sleeps at least eight hours or more in his/her bedroom, so this area needs a good HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) rated filter. If you need help contact the manufacturer of your furnace to see which filter is best.

Keep the humidity levels steady. As the weather gets colder and our furnaces kick on, the humidity levels drop in our homes. This sometimes makes it hard to breathe, especially for children with allergies and asthma. Purchase a humidity monitor, called a hygrometer, which is available at most hardware stores to monitor the air. The ideal indoor humidity should be kept between 35 to 50-percent. If it falls below this level, you may need a humidifier to add moisture to the room but don’t go above 60-percent.

Minimize the stuffed animals and displays. If you want to keep your child’s bedroom and play area free from dust (that causes allergies and sneezing) pare down the amount of stuffed animals and other toys that can’t be washed. Better yet, look for plush toys that are machine washable for babies and young children. You can also take a damp cloth and wipe down the dust on piles of books and large stationary toys.

Give your plants a wipe-down. One of the most overlooked allergen traps in your home is household plants. Sure, they do bring in oxygen and clean the air, but on the other hand, their leaves collect dust. Get into the habit of wiping down these living plants regularly to reduce dust exposure. And, to avoid mold spore growth during the winter months, water only when the soil gets dry and just enough water to keep the soil slightly moist.

Keep the pets out of the baby’s room. As much as we love Fido or Precious, the winter months means shedding season for many pets. This extra fur and dander can bring the sneezing and coughing spells. If you can’t keep the pets away from the bedrooms, make sure they visit the groomer regularly.

Don’t make the bed…What! Leaving the sheets open to the air actually leads to fewer dust mites since any moisture evaporates. These microscopic mites are truly an allergen to children and adults. So, you may want to forego the heavy quilts and blankets on the bed during the daytime hours. And by all means, wash all linens and clothing in hot water (not warm) to rid them of many allergens.

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