Have you ever woken up with a congested nose, watery eyes and an incessant need to sneeze, without any of the other symptoms commonly associate with the flu? If so, chances are that you already know the effect that allergens can have on your physical and mental well-being. The fact is that allergens can negatively impact quality of life at all ages, but it’s children that bear the brunt of their effect. With developing bodies that haven’t yet built up their immune systems, kids are often at the mercy of dust particles and various airborne pests that can cause serious problems later on.
First thing’s first, you should understand where these allergies are coming from. There are three main potential causes:
- a) Indoor allergens (dust mites, mould)
- b) Outdoor allergens (pollen, insects)
- c) Irritating substances (second-hand smoke, cleaning supply fumes)
Luckily there are steps that you can take to prevent this damage from occurring. With dedicated care and some outside help, minimizing your allergens in an eco-friendly way has never been easier. Here are a few essential tips to consider when trying to create an allergen-free home environment for you and your kids:
Maintain adequate humidity and temperature
Dust mites and other harmful pests thrive in warm and humid locations. Set your air conditioner to maintain a humidity of up to 50% tops and a temperature of no more than 21 degrees Celsius. Be sure to clean out your AC regularly in order to prevent mould or other bacteria from forming on its filters.
Switch to natural products
With daily showers and an excess of bath products at our disposal, it’s no wonder that the human skin can’t withstand so many artificial ingredients and often breaks out into rashes. Children are very sensitive to harsh chemicals, so make sure that you only buy products that use natural ingredients or even create some of your own. This also applies to your common household cleaning products, many of which can be crafted in a DIY fashion without too much hassle.
Watch the toys
When your child is of a certain age, it’s only natural that he or she might develop quite a fondness for toys, but that doesn’t mean that these won’t need to be looked after. Stuffed animals, especially, are porous enough to allow plenty of dust to creep in, which is why they need to be washed and rinsed regularly. If your child’s soft toys don’t allow washing, a safer solution lies in freezing them overnight, which should take care of most dust mites.
Clean your carpets efficiently
Numerous homes have carpeted areas throughout the house, especially in bedrooms and children’s rooms. The typical shaggy texture of carpets is just perfect for collecting dust and other particles. Left unchecked, this can lead to bigger issues such as asthma and chronic coughing. Regularly cleaning carpets, either by yourself or with the aid of a dedicated company, is your best option here. Just make sure you only use vacuum cleaners equipped with HEPA filters, as regular ones have been shown to release dust in the air while they clean.
Be careful with pets
When it comes to bringing a cat or dog inside your home, it’s useful to understand that, while animals may be a great companion for your child, they can also cause allergies that will make it difficult to be around them. In such cases it’s best to adopt a wait-and-see strategy. Some kids have no issues with pets, while others may show symptoms right away. In the latter case, consider getting a hypoallergenic pet to at least reduce discomfort.
Cover your house-plants
If you live in a house with many indoor plants, be sure to cover their soil with a thin layer of pea shingle. This will stop mould from forming on the surface and affecting the area around it.
Keep pollen away
Pollen allergy can be quite debilitating for those who suffer from it, so make sure you take steps to ensure that it doesn’t find its way into your home. It’s important to note that pollen isn’t just limited to springtime. Some plants pollinate all year round, so be sure to check the pollen count online and watch out for high levels in your area.
Overall, allergies are something that any caring parent has to take into account when it comes to their child. Without being too strict about things, the little things you do today can lead to a better and more enjoyable life for your offspring down the line.