Thursday, June 12, 2014
Breathe Easier - Preventing Your Child’s Allergy Attacks
by: Tammy Bartholomew, FNP
Allergies are the third most common chronic disease in children under 18 years old. Allergies have a genetic component so if one parent has allergies of any type, chances are one in three that each child will have an allergy. While you cannot prevent allergies in children, these tips can often make children happier and healthier.
- Smoke is an allergen that affects many children no matter the season. Avoid smoking in the house or car. Wear a smoking jacket to go outside and smoke and remove it immediately when you come inside.
- Candles, Scentsy, perfumes, hairsprays, and some cleaning agents may be allergy triggers.
Inside the Home:
- Pets can trigger allergies as well. Keep the family pet out of a child's bedroom. Wash pets weekly, or keep pets outdoors (weather permitting).
- If your child has allergies, you should go from furnace to air conditioning. Do not have windows open-especially in the child's bedroom.
- Launder bed linens weekly. It is suggested to use allergy reducing mattress cover and pillow cover, and wipe them down with bleach solution weekly. Do not hang clothes or bed linens out on the line as pollen and allergens will attach to them.
- If your child has chores at home, they should not be dusting, vacuuming, mowing grass, or raking leaves.
- Wash curtains weekly. Wipe down blinds weekly or take them down completely if possible.
- Limit stuffed animals to just a few, and wash them weekly.
Outside the Home:
- After playing outside during allergy seasons, your child should bathe and change clothes. It’s also a good idea to wash your child's hair every night to prevent pollen from transferring to pillows.
- Drive with car windows up and air conditioner on during allergy seasons.
- If your child has this issue every spring and/or fall, treat early; it is easier to treat your child before the symptoms become severe.
- Nasal saline rinses can help when first getting up in the morning, coming in from playing outside, and before bed.
- If prescribed an antihistamine (Claritin, Zyrtec, Allegra etc.), use it daily during allergy season as it is more effective than taking it for a few days then stopping.
If you have any questions, it is always best to ask your child’s doctor.
Tammy Bartholomew, FNP, is a family nurse practitioner at Steelville Clinic. She earned her nurse practitioner certificate at University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is on-staff at Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital and a member of BJC Medical Group. She can be reached by calling (573) 775-4600.