While the family home is usually thought of as one of the safest possible environments for children, in reality a significant number of health risks exist in even the best kept house. Perhaps the most common of these risks are those posed by allergens, and given the danger these present to children they must never be underestimated. Allergic rhinitis and asthma are just two examples of conditions that can have a detrimental effect on a child’s health and which are often exacerbated by allergens.
Spotting the signs
When it comes to allergies it is fair to say that prevention is better than a cure, and parents need to be aware of the signs that their child may be allergic to something in the home environment. In general, parents should be on the lookout for common symptoms such as excessive coughing, sneezing, rashes and itching, as well as any difficulty their child may have breathing. While all of these reactions can be triggered by other factors, it is important to consider allergies as a possible cause, particularly if they persist and can be attributed to a specific trigger.
Hints and tips
While it is virtually impossible to eliminate all potential allergens from the home, there are a few simple precautions that parents can take to ensure that they are providing the safest possible environment for their children.
- Keep carpets clean: Dust mites are microscopic insects that are thought to be the most common trigger of allergy and asthma symptoms. They can be found anywhere in the house, but tend to thrive particularly well in soft furnishings and carpets. Keeping these surfaces clean is critical, and parents should consider hiring professionals who can clean carpets thoroughly using safe, non-toxic methods. The Action ChemDry website is an excellent place to find more information on carpet cleaning in Burlington, Ontario and the surrounding area.
- Manage contact with pets: Hair and skin flakes from animals are another common trigger that affects different allergy sufferers in different ways. Some individuals are fine with dogs, for example, but have a severe reaction to cats. If a parent suspects their child has an allergy to animal fur or dander, they should consider alternative pets or breeds that do not cause allergic reactions.
- Clean away mold: Indoor mold grows in damp, dark environments and can be a persistent problem, particularly in bathrooms and basement areas. Mold should be cleaned as quickly as possible with a mixture of hot water, detergent, and bleach; professional help will often be needed to deal with particularly large areas affected by mold.
When dealing with allergies, knowledge is power. In most cases, the first step is to recognize that the allergy exists and then track down the specific allergen that is causing the problem. Once the cause has been established, measures can be taken to mitigate the impact and minimize the chances of a serious allergic reaction taking place. Fortunately these measures are usually fairly straightforward, and successfully dealing with the problem will often simply be a matter of building them into the daily routine and developing habits that will facilitate ongoing prevention and protection.