Limit Exposure to Triggers
If tests show your baby has allergies to certain indoor or outdoor substances, or if he shows signs of asthma, limit his exposure to common triggers, says Gurjit K. Khurana Hershey, MD, associate professor of pediatric allergy and immunology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Here's how.
If your child is allergic to pollen, check local counts at aaaai.org/nab. When there's a high pollen count, especially in the spring and fall, keep your windows closed and turn on the air-conditioning. On these days, it's also a good idea to keep your baby indoors between sunrise and late morning, when pollen counts tend to be highest. Pollen is sticky, so after coming in from outside, change your baby's clothes and bathe her if you can.
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If your child is allergic to the family pet(s) and you can't find new homes for the animals, don't allow the animals into your child's bedroom.
If your child is allergic to mold, make sure there are no hidden sources of mold in your home; houseplants often harbor it, as do showers and refrigerators. Clean your fridge and bathrooms with a bleach solution to get rid of mold.
Don't allow smoking in your home or anywhere near your child; caution other caregivers not to smoke.
You might be interested in buying filters for your heating and air-conditioning system that have Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV) ratings of 12 or higher; these filters claim to trap at least 90 percent of airborne pollen and dust. (The MERV rating is on the product's packaging.) It can't hurt to try them, but they haven't been proven to reduce allergy symptoms.
Consult Your Pediatrician
If all these measures don't help -- and depending on your baby's age and the severity of his symptoms -- your pediatrician may recommend using an antihistamine, either an over-the-counter product or a steroidal nasal spray.
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