Q: My 8-year-old has allergies to molds, dust mites and pollens and seems to wake up in the morning sneezing his head off, particularly since the weather turned cooler. It doesn’t seem like a cold because, an hour after he’s up, his sneezes almost stop. Could this have something to do with his dust-mite allergy? If so, are there any anti-dust-mite measures that you would suggest?
Dr. Bassett: It’s certainly possible your son is reacting to indoor allergens like dust mites, and there are a variety of steps you can take to reduce triggers.
For example, dust mites need moisture in order to survive, so keeping humidity in the house below 50 percent helps. (A low-cost hygrometer can measure indoor humidity and moisture.)
Also, washing your son’s bedding in 130 degree hot water regularly will kill the mites. When used along with the right blend of daily allergy medicines, these measures can reduce symptoms form indoor allergens.
You mention winter – it’s also possible your son’s flare-ups are directly related to the cold, dry air, which can aggravate nasal and respiratory passages, particularly if you have indoor allergies or asthma. Speak to his allergist about putting together an allergy action plan to help reduce your son’s sneezing and other symptoms. This will allow for a more enjoyable and healthier winter.
Dr. Clifford Bassett, allergist and asthma specialist, is the Medical Director of Allergy & Asthma Care of New York (Allergyreliefnyc.com; Twitter @allergyreliefny). He is on the faculty of NYU School of Medicine and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City and is also the author of The New Allergy Solution: Supercharge Resistance, Slash Medication, Stop Suffering.
How to Defeat Dust Mites