Sarah Goodwin
Kathi Ovnic
Holly Korschun
October 6, 1998

Preventing Children's Indoor Allergies: These Tips Are Nothing to Sneeze At!

With fall arriving, many families begin to prepare for the cooler weather by breaking out soft down comforters, fuzzy flannel sheets and wool blankets from summer storage. While this sounds like a perfectly normal activity, Keith Phillips, M.D., pediatric allergist at The Emory Children's Center, cautions parents to keep some common sense tips in mind for a healthier fall allergy season.

"Because children spend a great amount of time in their bedrooms, either playing or sleeping, the bedroom is a particularly important place to cut down on allergens such as animal dander, house dust mites and mold," says Dr. Phillips. He offers the following strategies to parents of children affected by indoor allergens.

  • Cover mattress and pillows with special covers and avoid feather pillows. Allergen-proof encasings are available in vinyl or fabric backed with semi-permeable plastic membranes. The latter are more comfortable and long lasting. Avoid quilts and comforters that cannot be washed frequently. Wash all linens and blankets at least every two weeks.
  • Avoid stuffed toys that cannot be washed.
    • Avoid carpeting in the bedroom if possible; use smooth-finish wood or vinyl flooring. If carpeting is unavoidable, check with your doctor or pharmacy for the name of a carpet cleaner for reducing dust mites.
  • Avoid storing books in the bedroom.
    • Choose plastic, wood or leather furniture; avoid upholstered sofas and easy chairs.
  • Keep pets out of the allergic child's bedroom.

  • For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, call Health Sciences Communication's Office at 404-727-5686, or send e-mail to

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