How to Combat Allergies When You Have Pets
8 September, 2015
Combat Allergies when you have pets

If you already have a dog or cat, it is most likely that you will already know if you are allergic.  However, what happens if one of your children, new boyfriend, husband or roommate are allergic?  Or you think you are suddenly allergic to a new pet that you have brought home.  Well, if you are a true pet lover, you will find a way to make everyone happy. And, sometimes we blame our allergies on the cat or dog, where it could be completely something different.

Below are some tips to help you or your loved ones if they are allergic to pets

Understand your pet allergies by seeing a doctor

It is important to see a doctor and be tested to determine what allergies you actually have. You may find that you’re allergic to something else and not allergic to your pet! For example, you may assume that you are allergic to your beloved dog, only to find out through an allergy test that you’re actually allergic to a specific some pollen that might have got on his fur during a walk together and that’s actually what’s bothering you.

Combat Allergies when you have pets

You aren’t allergic to me?!

If an allergy test shows that you are allergic to your dog or cat, it is important to understand what causes your allergic reaction to them. There are allergy-triggering proteins called allergens in saliva and skin glands that cling to an animal’s dry skin, or dander, and fur. The fur and dander then stick to walls, carpets and clothing.

Create an allergy free zone in your home

Create an allergy –free zone in your home, usually the bedroom is a good place, and don’t let your dog or cat have access to it.  Try using a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner in the bedroom. Consider using impermeable covers for the mattress and pillows because allergen particles brought into the room on clothes and other objects can accumulate in them.

Use HEPA air cleaners throughout the rest of the home and avoid dust-and-dander-catching furnishings such as cloth curtains and blinds and carpeted floors.  Make sure to clean frequently and thoroughly to remove dust and dander by washing couch covers and pillows, curtains, and pet beds. Use a micro-filter bag in the vacuum cleaner to effectively catch all the allergens and to keep that area dander free.

Bathe your pet on a weekly basis

Bathing your pet on a weekly basis can help significantly reduce the level of allergens on your dog or cat’s fur.  There are products that are available that help reduce pet allergens when sprayed on your dog or cat’s fur, but weekly baths are far more effective. Even cats can become accustomed to being bathed with practice or at least wash down your cat with a cloth and some shampoo.

Allergy shots can usually improve the allergic symptoms

Immunotherapy (allergy shots) can improve allergy symptoms but cannot eliminate them entirely. They work by gradually desensitizing your immune system to the pet allergens. Allergy-causing proteins are injected under the person’s skin, triggering the body to produce antibodies (protective proteins) which block the pet allergen from causing a reaction. These shots re usually given one dose per week for a few weeks to months (depending on the severity of the allergy) and then can often manage with one injection per month.

Smaller pets are usually a better fit for those who have allergies

A smaller dog, cat or even hamster is a better fit for those who are allergic.   They have less fur and therefore are less likely to set off an allergic reaction.  The lesser the volume of allergens, the easier is it for your system to support.

Time with the pets will help

Just like allergy shots, some people find that living with a pet can reduce their allergic reaction to that particular pet as you become immune!  A rescue group or shelter will probably let you foster a pet to make sure that the two of you are compatible.  Some allergies can become muted over time as your system accepts this new smell and/or dander.

Of course, if you don’t currently have a pet and  know you are pet-allergic, be sure to consider carefully whether you can live with the allergy before you bring a new pet home. Except in the case of children, who sometimes outgrow allergies, few allergy sufferers become accustomed to pets to when they are truly allergic.  Too many allergic owners adopt pets without thinking through the difficulties of living with them. And too often, they end up getting rid of the pets which, of course, is hard on the owner and can be life-threatening for the pet.

 

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