Helping Your Child Avoid Allergens

Keeping Kids' Allergies Under Control
Pollen, dust, mold, and pet dander are the most common allergens. Here are 9 ways you can help your child avoid allergens—and avoid allergy flare-ups.

Improve the air quality.
Keep windows closed and use air conditioning (fans can stir up dust). Filter the air from air conditioning and heating vents with cheesecloth or HEPA filters. Clean air filters frequently, and air ducts once a year. Use a dehumidifier (especially in basements) to keep humidity below 50% and prevent mold growth. Don't allow tobacco smoke in the house.

Keep it clean.
Vacuum frequently. Wash bed linens and towels in hot water (at least 130° F), put laundry in the dryer right away so it doesn't grow any mold - and don't hang laundry outside to dry where it can collect pollen.

Allergy-free decorating.
Avoid venetian blinds and curtains that can't be washed, storing firewood indoors, carpeting, throw rugs, and indoor plants.

Keep pets outside as much as possible—and especially keep them out of the bedroom. Brush pets outside to remove loose hair, dander, and other allergens. Consider using an air filtration system.

Places your child should avoid.
Allergen-heavy areas like basements, crawl spaces, garages, barns, and compost heaps. Freshly cut grass.

Choose your child's outings wisely.
Check weather forecasts and pollen counts. When possible, keep kids indoors on hot, dry, windy days when pollen counts are highest.

Time your child's outings wisely.
Try to keep kids indoors between 5a.m. and 10a.m., when pollen counts are highest.

Leave the allergens outside.
Have your child shower and change clothes right away after being outdoors for extended periods. This will remove pollen and prevent it from spreading around the house.

Keep allergy medicine handy.
Always keep a few doses of your child's allergy medicine with you—especially when traveling. That way, even if your child's allergies flare up, you can keep him comfortable.