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Dad outside with his dog and daughter who is holding a tissue to her nose

Spring Cleaning Tips: Ease Allergy Symptoms

By Dr. Kelly Maples, Allergy, Asthma and Immunology

The coming of spring is a great opportunity to clean out winter’s cobwebs and freshen up your home. It’s also a chance to help prevent your child’s spring allergy and asthma symptoms by getting rid of allergens that may have accumulated over the winter.

If you aren’t someone who regularly undertakes spring cleaning, consider tackling it this year. A thorough cleaning helps get rid of things like dust, mold, pet dander and other allergens, which may have been making you miserable all winter. Many people think spring and fall is when their seasonal allergies kick in. They might not realize indoor allergens can also cause chaos with your nasal passages and lungs and that a thorough cleaning can help.

Try these five tips from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunologyy to ease your allergies and asthma symptoms.

Fresh air? Don’t open that window!

Although spring breezes are very tempting, it’s better if you keep windows closed during allergy season. Breezes and open windows bring in unwanted pollen, which make allergies flare. Keep windows closed, including in your car where you should use your air conditioning system as a first line of defense.

Defeat pet dander.

Pets are wonderful companions, but if your child is allergic to their dander, it can build up over the winter and make allergy and asthma symptoms worse. Along with dander, which is what generally causes the allergic reaction, levels of fur and saliva also multiply. The best way to remove pet allergens is to vacuum frequently and wash upholstery, including your pet’s bed. Always keep your pet out of your child’s bedroom to help your child sleep symptom-free.

Banish the mold.

Mold can grow anywhere there is water and if your child has a mold allergy, that’s a big problem. Reducing moisture is the key to eliminating mold, which can be found in your basement, bathroom, kitchen, or in a pile of dead leaves in your backyard. Use bathroom fans and clean up any standing water immediately. Scrub any visible mold from surfaces with detergent and water and then make sure surfaces are completely dry. Help prevent mold by keeping home humidity below 60 percent and cleaning gutters regularly.

Use an arsenal to blast allergens.

It’s not easy to clean your whole house, but there are some tools that can help. Change your air filters every three months and use filters with a MERV rating of 11 or 12. Vacuum regularly to help reduce the presence of dust mites. Use a cyclonic vacuum, which spins dust and dirt away from the floor, or a vacuum with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter. Wash bedding and stuffed animals weekly.

Start medications before symptoms begin.

Although spring starts in March, spring allergy symptoms can begin much earlier. Make sure your child starts taking their allergy medications two to three weeks before their symptoms usually begin to appear to lessen their worst symptoms. Talk to your allergist if over-the-counter medicines aren’t helping.

It’s probably not possible to entirely rid your home of allergens. That’s where a board-certified allergist can help. Allergists are specially trained to help you take control of your allergies and asthma, so you can live the life you want. Find a CHKD allergist here.

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About Children's  Specialty Group Children's Specialty Group is the only pediatric multi-specialty practice serving southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. The physicians of Children's Specialty Group base their practices at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters and serve as faculty in the Department of Pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Learn more about our specialists here.