My son and I both have severe environmental allergies. If I want to air out the house at all, we pay the price with stuffy noses and sneezing. Because we're both allergic to dust mites and other perennial allergens, our allergies affect us year-round. After years of experimenting, I've found that the best defense is a heavy-hitting HEPA air purifier. The Blueair Sense uses very little energy, doesn't have a bunch of confusing settings and looks like something James Bond would have in his office. If your kids have frequent ear and sinus infections from allergies, then you know how quickly those costs add up — not to mention time off from school and work. A good air purifier is a major investment, but it's one worth making if your family suffers from allergies. (Blueair, $479)
I don't have babies anymore, but I still have to clean up after my kids. From food they sneaked into their rooms to boogers smeared on the wall, weird stuff makes its way onto every surface of their bedrooms. I use fragrance-free cleaners with minimal chemicals. If I'm spending a fortune on allergy-proofing, it's important to me to not load up our air with chemicals and fragrances that trigger asthma. Babyganics makes a good multisurface cleaner that works just fine whether or not you have a baby. (amazon.com, $14)
Your child spends most of the night smooshed up against a pillow. The best way to make that pillow allergy-friendly is to use a pillowcase with an allergen barrier. They're nothing special to look at, but these plain cases help keep dust mites and other nasties from accumulating in your kid's bed. You can use a regular case over the white case — just wash it frequently in hot water. (Target, $11)
My 8-year-old still sleeps with "buddies." For many kids, special stuffed animals are a critical part of a comforting bedtime routine. It broke my heart when I had to limit his buddies to two after he'd been used to sleeping with an entire pile. I have to put them in the freezer regularly to kill dust mites. If your little one has allergies, then consider sticking to stuffed animals that are specifically made to resist buildup of allergens. Build-a-Bear has an adorable Sweet Velvet Teddy Bear. If you buy clothes for the bear, then wash them regularly. (Build-A-Bear, $16)
The writer received the Blueair Sense from the respective brand so she could try out the product. All opinions expressed in the article are based on the reviewer's own assessments of the products.
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