Avoiding Triggers

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While there may be no cure for your child’s allergy, there are positive steps that can be taken to reduce the number of allergens in your home. See the Allergy House to help manage indoor allergens. 

In the same way that reducing the number of allergens around the home can lower the number and severity of symptoms, avoiding the triggers of allergies and allergic conditions can reduce the number of allergic reactions that your child has.

If you know what triggers your child’s allergy you can take the following steps to help control their symptoms.

Trigger - Mould and House Dust Mite

  • Always ventilate rooms where there is visible steam and condensation
  • Open windows and doors to increase the airflow and lower humidity
  • Reduce the temperature in rooms
  • Avoid having pot plants (which can grow mould on the soil) or cover the surface of the soil with a layer of pea shingle
  • Throw away old foods that may go mouldy, such as fruit and vegetables
  • Keep fridge and freezer seals clean
  • Dry the fridge well after cleaning
  • Clean obvious areas of mould away
  • Wipe up condensation on surfaces such as windowsills and bathroom walls
  • Always dry clothes thoroughly outside or in the tumble dryer before hanging them in the house. Avoid drying clothes in the house if possible, as this will add to the humidity in the home
  • Try to enclose mattresses with barrier covers
  • Wash bed linen at 60 degrees to kill house dust mite
  • Remove soft toys or store them in a box with a lid
  • Have an identical soft toy if it is a favourite so you do not upset your child when you clean it
  • Remove unnecessary soft furnishings, such as cushions and rugs, and consider swapping carpets and traditional fabric-covered sofas for alternatives
  • To remove house dust mites from soft toys that cannot be washed over 60 degrees, place them in the freezer for a night to kill them and then wash at 40 degrees to remove the allergen particles. Let duvets and pillows air by opening windows, but beware of outside pollen levels if you have hay fever
  • Keep clutter to a minimum to ensure areas are easy to vacuum, such as under the bed
  • Use electrostatic dusters, or damp-dust areas to stop dust and house dust mite particles getting into the air as you clean
  • For further information regarding endorsements for products that have been shown to reduce allergens, please contact the Allergy UK helpline

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Trigger - Pollens and Grasses

  • Avoid letting children play on newly-cut grass or being out in the garden whilst cutting of grass is occurring
  • Avoid leaving clothes out to dry in the air when pollen is at its highest (early morning and evening)
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to avoid pollens irritating eyes
  • A small amount of allergen barrier balm or petroleum jelly placed around the nostrils can ‘trap’ pollen before it enters the nose and causes irritation
  • Try to find out the pollen count and avoid going out when it is at its highest (early morning and evening)
  • Keep windows closed at these times
  • Wash your child’s hair every day during the pollen season if they have been playing outside
  • Rinse your child’s face and hands after being outside
  • Make sure that clothes (including sun hats) are washed each day during the crucial times of highest pollen
  • The pollen count can be obtained from www.pollenuk.co.uk

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Trigger - Pets

  • Avoid having pets if possible

  • If they are already in the home then regular bathing and grooming by a non-allergic member of the family is recommended
  • Do not let pets into your sleeping areas
  • Limit the areas of the house to which the pet has access

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Trigger - Weather

  • Be aware of thunderstorms and humidity, which can affect some people’s asthma symptoms

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Trigger - Foods

  • Always make sure you have an adequate supply of ‘safe’ non-allergenic foods
  • Always read ingredient labels carefully as foods that you use all the time may change without warning
  • Always carry antihistamines and adrenaline auto-injector pens as necessary

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Trigger - Stinging Insects

  • Remember to take a first aid kit with items suitable for your child (i.e. non-latex plasters)
  • Take care with insects that sting and avoid anything that may encouragement them such as sticky drinks or ice lollies
  • Discourage your child from wearing open toed sandals or walking barefoot outside
  • Bright colours attract insects as if they were flowers, so consider dark or pastel colours for clothing
  • Avoid having food or drink outside during the wasp season

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Trigger - Latex

  • Latex gloves and equipment – make sure everyone is aware of latex allergy and non–latex alternatives are used
  • Always carry latex-free wound dressings

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Trigger - Medications

  • Make sure you note any adverse reactions from medications and report them to your doctor
  • Make sure you always have adequate supplies of your allergy medications
  • Try to make a note in your diary of when these are needed so you don’t run out
  • Ask your pharmacist rough estimation of dates if dosages such as inhalers are difficult to judge 

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Trigger - Clothes

  • Think about clothing in terms of eczema (try to wear cotton clothes and remove layers if getting too hot)

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Trigger - Household Products

  • If your child has any symptoms then avoid them until you have checked with your GP
  • If you do use chemicals, make sure you use them in a well-ventilated area

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Trigger - Sports and Outdoor Activities

  • Remember to take any medications with you and use as prescribed, i.e. before exercise with some inhalers
  • Remember emollients for eczema if swimming
  • Apply sun creams that are suitable for your child if they have eczema or sensitive skin TRIGGER – SMOKING
  • Avoid smoking around children or in the house

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Last updated: July 2015                                 Next reviewed date: July 2018
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