At home

Atopic-prone skin: advice for the home (temperature, mites, tobacco, linens, pets, and so on)

To limit atopy: cleaning and housekeeping

 

A big cleaning session may be a solution to preventing atopic-prone skin from occurring too frequently, but it is far from the only one. Here is a range of habits you can adopt at home:
 
Be careful of mites. Invisible to the naked eye, they settle in all our indoor spaces. It is mostly their excretions and their dead remains that are responsible. To avoid their presence, you can count on: 
- Your vacuum cleaner, especially if it has a HEPA filter, which is the best tool for limiting particles left behind by mites and as a consequence of mites in the air. Today, many vacuums on the market are equipped with such a filter. 
- An anti-mite mattress and/or mattress cover. These are specially treated for mites and are sometimes chemical-free. Mattresses are often guaranteed for several years. Mattress covers provide extra insulation in order to avoid mite-related contact with the skin, and remain effective even after washing. The best ones cover the entire mattress and not just the upper surface. 
- Choose wooden floors, floor tiles or linoleum rather than carpets or floor mats, if possible. Hard surfaces are easier to clean, and also leave fewer places for mites to hide and hang on. 
- Regularly put linens, curtains, cuddly toys and teddy bears through the wash! We often forget that mites are parasites that can hide anywhere.
 

Limit contact with allergens: ventilation, temperature and fighting dry air

The advantage of such precautions is that you also eliminate other allergens like dust or pet hair at the same time (see our file on atopic-prone skin). 
 
Letting some fresh air in is great, but not too dry! There is no mystery here: it would increase the skin’s dryness. Don’t hesitate to ventilate your rooms, especially your child’s room, every day, in both summer and winter – even just for a few minutes! Furthermore, in winter the air inside often lacks moisture. The main reason is heating, especially if it is electric. A temperature between 19° and 21° C is ideal. During the night, you can reduce it to 18° C in your child’s room. 
If you wish, you can check the moisture level in your home using some special, inexpensive devices. We recommend that the moisture level not be below 30%. If it is, you can install humidifying devices, or use some natural tricks:
- Put a glass of water on the heater.
- Leave your bathroom door open after someone has taken a shower or bath.
- Hang a wet towel in your child’s room.
- Decorate your rooms with green plants. In addition to their power against pollution, some of them give off water. 

 

Atopic-prone skin, babies’ allergies, and skin reactions: what precautions should be taken with pets?

• Do you have a fluffy family pet? If your child was in contact with it in his early years, that may have immunised him; an allergic reaction is not automatically linked. The best thing to do is to have tests done to know for sure. If an allergy to his faithful companion is unfortunately confirmed, contact between them will of course have to be reduced. 
For your pet, this means: 
- No playing or big cuddles in the child’s room. This room must be entirely off-limits, if possible.
- No napping on the couch, especially if your child likes to lie on it.   
- Wash your pets. It’s not usually easy with a cat or a rodent; in such cases, other hygiene treatments do exist. Depending on your animal, ask your veterinarian for more information.  
- Vacuum your house once, twice, even three times per week. Pet hair and the saliva that settles on the floor are the main causes of such allergies. Get rid of them as often as possible!
 
Finally, other factors can promote atopic-prone skin. If you are a smoker, ventilated areas are preferred if you smoke at home.
 
In summary, many simple solutions can be implemented. Even if some of them require more effort, they all remain fairly quick and easy, and deliver rewarding results for your child’s well-being. 
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