Spring and summer are not the only seasons that bring misery to children with allergies.
New York.– The end of the pollinating season is good news for children with hay fever and similar summer allergies, but those who are sensitive to mold spores may have to wait until the first frost to find relief.
Allergy to mold spores is more of a problem than pollen allergy because mold grows anywhere and is not limited to a single pollinating season.
“It needs little more than moisture and oxygen to thrive," says Dr. David Resnick, Acting Director, Allergy Division at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian.
In winter, children spend more time indoors, which increases their exposure to irritants like dust mites, pet dander, smoke, household sprays and chemicals, and gas fumes -- any and all of which can make their lives miserable.
Dr. Resnick offers these ten tips to make the winter months more bearable for children with allergies:
• Keep your indoor humidity level below 35 percent to help prevent the growth of mold and mites. Use exhaust fans when showering or cooking to remove excess humidity and odors.
• Avoid putting rugs in your child's room, if possible, since wall to wall carpeting is an ideal place for dust mites to proliferate.
• When outdoors, keep children from playing in areas that promote mold growth, such as dark, wooded areas.
• Use dust-proof covers for mattresses, box springs, and pillows to decrease exposure to allergens, but consult your child's allergist before undertaking such an expense.
• Wash bed linens and nightclothes in hot water (above 130 degrees) to kill dust mites.
• If you must use a humidifier, keep it clean and change the water frequently to avoid contamination by mold and bacteria. Central humidifiers should be sprayed with an anti-mold agent.
• Don't put plants in your child's room, since decaying leaves and increased humidity can stimulate growth of mold.
• If your child is allergic to household pets (dogs and cats), minimize his or her contact with them. If you cannot remove them from the household, keep them out of your child's bedroom at all times.
• Children with asthma should get a flu vaccine in the fall before the onset of cold weather. Also, keep your child well-hydrated and protected from cold air with proper attire (i.e., a scarf over the mouth).
• Contact your child's physician or allergist for proper evaluation and treatment.