Allergies affect many children in the UK. If your child is one of them, you know that children’s allergy symptoms - like sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose - can make a child feel miserable.
What you may not know, though, is that you can do a lot to keep your child’s bedroom allergen-free. Doing so can help alleviate those troublesome allergy symptoms.
Allergy triggers in the bedroom
Some of the most common indoor allergens - the ones that can trigger childhood allergy symptoms - are often found in bedrooms. These include house dust mites, mould, and pet dander. If you regularly have the windows in your child’s bedroom open, you’re also inviting outdoor allergens, like pollen, to come in.
But that’s not all. Certain substances that may be lingering in the bedroom air can irritate airways that are already inflamed by childhood allergies. For instance, second-hand smoke, perfumes, and cleaning supplies, can all make your child’s allergy misery worse.
Removing dust mites
House dust mites are microscopic bugs. Their droppings, though, are the most common cause of year-round allergy symptoms. House dust mites thrive in humid environments. They like to eat the millions of skin cells that we shed each day. One place where these cells can be found in high concentrations is our beds and bedding. If your child’s indoor allergies are caused by house dust mites, using allergy covers on the mattress, duvets, and pillows may help reduce allergy symptoms like itching, sneezing, and watery eyes.
Another important step to take is to wash your child’s bedding in very hot water - at least 54C (130F) every week.
Clutter can be a problem when coping with childhood allergies, too. Stuffed animals or the ever-growing piles of comics can make it hard to get relief from symptoms of allergies.
That doesn’t mean your child’s room needs to be bare. But keeping the items that are located in the bedroom to a minimum can mean less misery caused by allergy symptoms. Try reserving space in a nearby hall cabinet with a door where your child can store toys and other belongings in a dust-free environment. And there’s no need to forgo stuffed animals - just be sure to buy toys that can be washed and dried.
Also, house dust mites love to live in carpets and upholstered furniture, so it’s best to minimise these surfaces in your child’s bedroom if possible. That will help reduce allergy symptoms. If you need to cover bare floors, choose rugs that can be washed and dried easily.
Regardless of the surface, it’s a good idea to vacuum your child’s room regularly. That will suck up even more allergy-provoking house dust mites. Just make sure you use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter or double bag. Standard vacuum cleaners may release dust into the air. If your child vacuums his or her own room, it’s a good idea for them to wear a dust mask while vacuuming.