pollen041612.jpg Here in the midwest, we can thank the mild winter and wonky spring for what is shaping up to be a terrible allergy season. This is particularly challenging for little kids; immunotherapy is not an option for the under five set, and antihistamines can produce some rough side effects. Short of constructing a Travolta-esque bubble, parents can do some simple things to prevent and mitigate allergies at home.

Here are a few tips to help families through allergy season:

• Change clothes and wash hands and faces after outdoor play. This keeps allergens off of little bodies and prevents their spread throughout the house.
• Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.
• Keep tabs on pollen and mold counts. High count days are good days to keep windows shut, turn on AC and skip line-drying the laundry. Pollen.com is a great resource — they have free apps for iphone and Android users.
• Be vigilant about cleaning window treatments, throw pillows, rugs and any other allergen magnets.
• Keep allergic kids indoors when you are mowing the lawn or gardening.
• Bathe your pets! Last year I was relieved to learn that my kid is not allergic to our dachshund, but the little low-rider tracks in all kinds of allergens. Keeping our dog clean is a win for everyone, especially since he has seasonal allergies too.

What are you doing to minimize allergies at home?

(Image: Flickr member spettacolopuro licensed for use under Creative Commons)