Childhood allergies and asthma are common, and many children outgrow them. Still, while your child is suffering, allergy symptoms can feel miserable and interminable. So, what’s a parent to do beyond dosing the kids with Benadryl and keeping eye drops and inhalers on hand? As it happens, your best defense against allergies and asthma is thorough home cleaning. You don’t have to keep your family in a bubble, but these 4 cleaning habits can significantly reduce your child’s symptoms.
Protect Against Pollen
As many as 40% of children have pollen allergies, typically characterized by runny nose and watery eyes, cough, and sometimes sinus headache. This can make the changing seasons a particularly difficult time, with certain weather conditions, like dry windy days, further exacerbating symptoms. If your child has seasonal allergies, one of the best things you can do is shut the windows. You don’t want to let pollen into the house or let it collect on the drapes and furniture. Putting down doormats and making sure everyone leaves their shoes by the door can also help keep pollen outside where it belongs.
Filter Your Air
Closing your windows isn’t enough if you’re stuck breathing dusty, dry air. That’s why your family needs an air purifier that will fully contain irritants. There are many different air purifiers on the market, but the most powerful ones can even remove some bacteria from the air – ideal if you have a child with asthma who is more vulnerable to infections, as well as removing odors and chemicals released during off-gassing.
There are a lot of good reasons to declutter your home, besides the Marie Kondo trend, and allergies are at the top of the list. How does clutter contribute to these symptoms? Clutter provides all kinds of places for dust, pollen, and other irritants to gather. You especially want to beware of soft toys, pillows, and blankets. They make great homes for dust mites, one of the most common allergens, which feed on skin cells. All those stuffed animals that your child loves to snuggle with? They need to be washed regularly in hot water to kill off these tiny pests.
Ditch The Carpeting
Carpeting is a lot of work. There’s all the vacuuming, scrubbing stains out, and time spent icing gum and clay to keep it from permanently adhering to the rug. In fact, many families will tell you that they only have carpet because it’s more work – at least in the short term – to tear up the rugs and replace the flooring underneath, which is often little more than tongue and groove board. If someone in your home has allergies or asthma, though, the rugs need to go. Carpet is the perfect host for all kinds of dust, pollen, and mites and no amount of vacuuming is as good as just swapping it all out for hardwood, bamboo, or even linoleum.
When it comes to allergies, a regular home cleaning routine is you first line of defense, so don’t let up on the dusting, vacuuming, and washing. With any luck, your child will quickly outgrow their symptoms and you’ll see a day when you can throw open the windows, regardless of pollen levels outside.