There are millions of persons in the world sharing their homes and lives with their pets, even those with pet allergies! Unfortunately, many believe that once diagnosed with a pet allergy, they have no choice but to remove the pet from the home and family, thus breaking the human-animal bond. Thankfully, there are many ways to successfully manage pet-allergies in the home and preserve the human-animal bond!
Know Your Allergen: Avoid Speculation by Getting Tested
Ask your allergist to specifically test for pet allergens and make certain they understand your commitment to your pet and managing pet allergens if confirmed! You may think it’s your cat or dog but perhaps it’s dust mites or the pollen attaching to your pet’s fur! If an allergy test confirms you’re allergic to your pet, it’s important to understand what you’re allergic to as managing these allergens (allergy-triggering proteins) will look different according to the allergen, most allergens being linked to saliva, dander or fur. What’s manageable will also vary – for one person, their allergy reaction may be mild sneezing. For another, it may be life-threatening asthma. Keep in mind additional allergens such as pollen, dust mites, cigarette smoke and mold can worsen these reactions.
Pet Allergies Confirmed: How to Manage and Reduce Allergens
As it’s common for allergy sufferers to have multiple allergies, concentrate on reducing all allergens in the home, not just the pet allergens. A combination of approaches – medical control of symptoms, housekeeping and immunotherapy – will allow for the most success in managing these allergies!
Managing Your Pet Allergy:
Ensure the pet is neutered.
Neutering male dogs and cats reduces their allergen production.
Create an “allergy free” zone – ideally, the allergic person’s bedroom.
Ensure the pet has no access to this room.
Use a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner.
Consider using impermeable covers for the mattress and pillows.
Wash bed linens frequently.
Use HEPA air cleaners throughout the rest of the home.
Avoid furnishings such as curtains, blinds and carpeted floors which collect allergens such as dust and dander.
Clean frequently and thoroughly to remove dust and dander.
Vacuum frequently with a HEPA-equipped vacuum cleaner.
Consider investing in hard floors which will collect less allergens.
Wipe down the pet daily using a wet cloth or baby wipe.
Bathe and brush your pet on a weekly basis to reduce dander, using species-specific products. Consider wearing gloves when doing so.
When brushing, use a brush such as the Furminator® which removes loose undercoat – this will help to lift trapped allergens.
Consider immunotherapy (allergy shots) steroidal and antihistamine nose sprays, bronchodilators and antihistamine pills.