Avoiding Allergens In Your Home


Allergies start early–I can attest to that myself. Looking back on my childhood, I don’t remember a time without sneezing and sniffling concerns, whether I was around my pets or not.

Today we have some tips from pediatrician Dr. Alanna Levine on ways to help minimize the allergens in your home for your children. Since kids are in closer contact with the environment than adults, whether crawling on the floor or putting their fingers in their mouths, it’s important to help minimize those allergens. “Allergy symptoms typically begin during childhood,” said Dr. Alanna Levine, Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP). “It is important for parents to identify symptoms early and begin prevention strategies for their children right away; otherwise allergies may interfere with school, social activities, and healthy growth and development.”

As a mom of two, Dr. Levine shares the ABCs – Avoid, Balance and Change – to help parents maintain a more allergen-free home for their children. We’re going to examine these tips in three parts. Today we look at:

A is for Avoid

Dr. Levine suggests whenever possible, avoid these irritants that often trigger allergies.

  • Forget the strong fragrances. Exposure to perfume, talcum powder, hair spray, air fresheners, fabric softeners or other strong odors or sprays may aggravate allergy symptoms in those who are sensitive. Be sure that allergy prone children are not in the house whenever spraying fragrances or using strong cleaning products.

How this applies to pet families: Skip those cleansers that mask rather than remove pet odors. Deodorizing products, whether they’re to mask the smell of the litter box or to cover up the smell of pet urine in carpet, are no-nos. You want to get rid of the odor itself rather than masking the odor.

  • Find the best fabrics for bedding.
    Avoid products made of feathers or down. Whenever possible, use hypoallergenic pillows on your
    child’s bed. Cover pillows with allergen-proof covers, and wash the pillowcases, along with sheets and
    blankets, each week in hot water.

How this applies to pet families: Those allergen-proof covers will keep pet dander at bay and washing all your covers–as well as your pet’s bedding–will wash away the allergens (and it will also go a long way toward reducing any flea problems!)

  • Don’t allow cockroaches the opportunity to enter the home.
    Cockroaches and their droppings can be a major allergy trigger to some and may also worsen asthma
    symptoms. To help get rid of cockroaches, keep food and garbage in containers with tight lids. Also,
    avoid leaving out pet food or dirty food bowls on countertops or on the floor.

How this applies to pet families: Cockroaches can be drawn to open containers of pet food. We know it’s more economical to buy large sacks of pet food but take the time to store them in plastic bins to discourage cockroaches (or many pet foods can be frozen if you have extra room in the freezer).

Tomorrow: B is for Balance