Allergy-Proofing Your Little Ones

Allergies are no fun; no one wants to spend their summer, and possible their winter, with a runny nose and an uncontrollable urge to sneeze and cough. The last thing your kids should be doing is wondering whether they would be okay riding their bike through an open field with their friends because it might make them feel miserable later. Fortunately, if you start early enough, there are a few ways you can help your kids lead an allergy-free life, and reduce the need for nasal rinses in their early years. This time is precious, so here are a few ways you can ensure that allergies don’t ruin their memories.

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Fabrics

Some airborne substances might trigger allergies or asthma symptoms, so reducing contact with them in their early life might prevent children from developing these conditions. Dust mites are one clear example of this. Although the mites themselves are harmless, their fecal matter and body fragments can trigger allergic reactions like eczema and hay fever, and they affect nearly 80 percent of people with asthma. To reduce their exposure to dust mites, start by investing in hypoallergenic fabrics, such as woolen bed sheets, a bamboo washcloth, or cotton towels. These fabrics tend to be more tightly woven, which makes it impossible for mites to penetrate the material, thus reducing the allergens in your child’s fabrics. You should also wash these fabrics in hot water, then put them through a hot drying cycle – hanging them out to dry only brings more allergens into your house.

Pets

Most couples start a family by adopting a dog or a cat before they decide to have children. Studies show that living under the same roof as a cat or a dog during their first year could protect children from developing animal allergies later in life. Though they are still not 100 percent certain, some research believe that the early exposure boosts the child’s immune system, builds up tolerance to the allergens, and helps the child build a natural immunity to pet-bacteria. Basically, if you have a pet, don’t worry about limiting your child’s exposure to your fur baby. Spending time with the furry older sibling will only help them in the long run.

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Peanuts

It might seem like a relatively minor allergy, but since peanuts are in almost everything, parents might want to do whatever they can to ensure this is one food allergy their children don’t develop. The US National Institutes of Health have noticed that introducing children to peanut-based foods early on have significantly reduces their chances of developing peanut allergies. New health guidelines recommend introducing peanuts to high-risk infants as early as four to six months, whereas before parents were told to hold off until the child was at least three years old. If your baby suffers from eczema, or egg allergies, then it’s best to check with a doctor before doing this, but otherwise, most parents can start introducing peanut-containing foods to their diet, like they already introduced oatmeal or mushy peas.

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