An allergen is any compound or material that can provoke an allergic reaction. Common allergens are grass, weed, and tree pollens; mold spores; dust mites; animal products such as danders (skin scales); insect venoms or other substances derived from animals that can gain entry to the human body; and substances such as foods, drugs, or other chemicals with which a person comes in contact (see allergies in children).

Reducing a Child’s Exposure to Common Household Allergens

Dust mites are tiny, insect like creatures that thrive in cars, upholstered furniture, and bedding, especially if the air at home is warm and well humidified. The waste products of these microscopic animals can produce a variety of allergic reactions, even after they have died. Encasing mattresses and pillows in special plastic covers can significantly reduce your child’s exposure to termites. Treating carpets with mite-killing chemicals every few months may be necessary as well.

Molds thrive in warm, moist environments. A basement, especially, dark closet spaces, or even a leaky toilet that invites mold to grow in the carpet surrounding it caned these organisms. If your child definitely has an allergy, keeping the humidity at home less than 30 percent, using an air conditioner or dehumidifier, and monitoring your progress with a humidity gauge can be helpful. Bathrooms, which obviously become warm and moist regularly, frequently harbor mold. Regular fling of tiles, bathtub, shower curtain or stall, walls, ceilings with a mold-killing solution (such as a mix of bleach and water or a commercial spray) is tedious but an important job. Carpet should be taken out of the bathroom because water spilled from a shower or bathtub or a leaky toilet invites mold to grow bolls in and beneath the carpet.

Allergens are abundant in animal danders and may see many different allergy problems. Dealing with pets in your home may become a highly emotional issue if animals are causing a child to have significant symptoms. An allergy evaluation might be necessary to settle the question of sensitivity, and if a pet is part of the problem, it will need to be kept outdoors. If symptoms are severe enough, the pet must he removed completely from the home for the sake of your child’s health. Every child deserves to live in a smoke-free environment, and for an allergic child exposure to tobacco smoke can be a hazard both to health and to life itself. Smoking should not be allowed in the home or any other environment (such as a car) in which an allergic child is present.