24 Apr Asthma, Allergy Awareness Month – Pet Recommendation For Someone Allergic to Animal Fur
There are many people that are allergic to cats and dogs, as well as other furry friends. They may start sneezing, coughing, develop a scratchy sore throat, and have red, watery or itchy eyes and even develop skin rashes. In the most severe circumstances, they may also have difficulty breathing. But why does this happen, and what can be done to prevent it?
Allergies develop due to an overly sensitive immune system. Under normal circumstances, our immune system is what protects us from bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that enter the body. However, in people with allergies, their immune systems also react to otherwise harmless proteins found in animal urine, saliva or dander (dead skin cells). These are known as allergens, and are the cause for allergies. Allergens can accumulate on countertops, floor, or furniture and can remain there for several months. Contrary to popular belief, the actual hair of the animal is not an allergen, but it can collect allergens, including pollen and dust. It is important to control these if you hope to control your allergies.
Just because you’re allergic to pets does not mean that you can’t have one of your own. There are many things you can do that don’t involve giving up your pet. Below are a few:
- Create an “allergy free zone” in your home. Most people choose their bedroom. Prevent your pet from entering the designated room, and consider keeping a HEPA air purifier in there.
- Don’t have any carpet in your house (it can collect allergens).
- If this is not an option, have it steam cleaned frequently.
- Use throw rugs and wash them in hot water on a regular basis.
- Try not to vacuum. This can stir up allergens and make symptoms worse.
- Clean surfaces regularly to help cut down on allergens.
- If you have a cat, use clumping litter to cut down on the amount of dust particles.
- Wash bedding often.
- Brush/comb your pet frequently, preferably outside.
- Bathe your pet at least once a week to cut down on allergens that can accumulate in their fur.
- Wash your hands regularly after handling your pet.
For other suggestions on how to deal with pet allergens, visit the included websites below and contact your veterinarian.
There are many responsibilities to pet ownership, and even more if you are a pet owner with allergies. However, the joy and companionship that comes with owning a pet is a meaningful experience, and one that can have long lasting happy memories.
Sources: American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology http://acaai.org/allergies/types/pet-allergy
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America http://www.aafa.org/page/pet-dog-cat-allergies.aspx