Well, the sun is finally shining and we can’t wait to get outside, enjoy copious ice creams in the sunshine and take picnics on the grass. But spare a thought for kids who suffer from allergies and will be no doubt coughing, sniffling aand sneezing their way through the summer.
It’s Allergy Awareness Week next week (23rd – 29th April), which highlights what people with allergies have to put up with, including that seasonal terror, hayfever.
Unfortunately, you can’t prevent hayfever, but we visited the NHS website for some advice on how to control it, or at least lessen the symptoms.
One idea for kids, which we’d never heard of, is to put Vaseline around their nostrils. They may wrestle with you in your attempt to do this, but apparently the Vaseline will trap pollen, the outdoor allergen that causes hayfever.
Further suggestions include not drying your child’s clothes outside, giving them a shower and changing their clothes when they come in from outside, avoiding grass when playing, and keeping bedroom windows closed. In fact the NHS advice site recommends staying indoors whenever possible – so hard when all they want to do is go and play outside in the sunshine. Of course, ensuring your child’s bedroom is as fun and exciting as possible, (with their favourite choice of headboard!) will help them forget they have to stay inside.
If your child has a runny nose and itchy eyes, but you’re not convinced it’s hayfever, they may be susceptible to other allergens. As well as pollen, these could be pet dander, dust mites, mould, perfumes, household or laundry cleaning products, or second hand smoke.
So how can you make your child’s bedroom an allergen free zone? Well, you probably can’t make it totally allergen free, but there are ways to improve the room.
Keeping the room as dust free as possible will always help. Vacuuming frequently; using fragrance free cleaning products, or natural products if you can; and wiping dust with a damp cloth so as not to spread it further. For your child’s bed, there are many anti-allergy and hypoallergenic bedding products around. Our headboards are easy to clean, and the simple design of the wooden backs means they are easy to reach for regular wiping. Dust mites love a warm location, so instead of nagging the kids to make their beds every morning, leave the duvet cover or blanket open and let cold air into the bed – one less nag gets our thumbs up! You can wash bed linen regularly at a higher temperature (40-60 degrees) or use specialised washing powder. If your linen has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, then that’s even better.
Make life a little easier in terms of cleaning by taking the carpet out of your child’s room and replacing with perhaps one cute rug next to their bed – carpets are a magnet for mites and hairs. You could also replace curtains with wipe clean blinds.
Does your child have hundreds of teddies? Soft toys are heaven for dust mites! Try and regularly wash your child’s teddies. Or, if they can’t bear to put them in the washing machine, or the teddy is on its last legs and probably wouldn’t survive, you could try our favourite trick and stick them in your freezer. This will certainly blitz the bugs and the toy will be ready for bedtime. Another solution is our Teddy Tidy headboard. It won’t get rid of the teddies, and it certainly won’t get rid of the dust mites! But it will keep them away from your child’s face when they are sleeping.
And don’t forget pets. As well as investing in a vacuum that specialises in pet hairs, try to prevent your pets going into the kids’ rooms – we know, this one is easier said than done!
We hope this advice helps and you and the kids get to enjoy a little of the great outdoors this summer. If you want more advice, we recommend the Allergy UK website.