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Simple steps to reduce pet dander and dust mite allergens in the home and classroom
February 3 2010
(ARA) - Now that school is in full swing, children are spending less time on the playground and more time indoors with each other. With the constant interaction of classroom projects, gym class and story time, one important concern that is often overlooked is indoor allergens from pet dander and dust mites.

More than half the American population tests positive to one or more allergens, according to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Reducing indoor allergens from cats, dogs and dust mites in the home and classroom creates a clean, comfortable environment for your family. Parents and teachers should be mindful of what indoor allergens from pet dander and dust mites their children might be exposed to in their classrooms, recommends Dr. Paul Ehrlich of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City.

'Children spend more than six hours a day in their classrooms; it is inevitable that with all of the dust-collecting hot spots, such as bookshelves and planters, indoor allergens from cats, dogs and dust mites will be circulating,' Ehrlich says.

The federal government's National Survey of Lead and Allergens in Housing shows that dog and cat allergens are universally present in American homes, whether a pet lives in the home or not. Homes with pets tested significantly higher for pet allergens than homes without pets, but even pet-free homes harbored pet allergens, according to the survey.

Children are indirectly exposed to the allergens from pet dander and dust mites, which can easily cling to children's clothes, bringing these allergens from home into the classroom.

Dr. Ehrlich suggests that parents and teachers take the following steps to help reduce allergens in the classroom and the home:

* Have your child change clothes once home from school. Allergens from pet dander and dust mites can easily cling to a child's clothes, bringing these allergens from the classroom into the home.

* Remove dust collectors, such as piles of unused books, from common spaces, including play areas or bedrooms.

* Use an electrostatic duster to swipe over desks, chairs and windowsills daily. Swiffer 360 Dusters help to reduce up to 90 percent of common household allergens from cats, dogs and dust mites.

* Thoroughly clean your child's cubby or toy storage bin every week, as it can collect dust and pet dander from weekly usage.

* Use a HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Air) Filter in high-traffic areas and common rooms to reduce allergens, making the air cleaner for your children.

Courtesy of ARAcontent
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