How to Live With Your Pet Allergy
Spring is a time for allergies of all kind. Ranging from minor annoyance to debilitating and life-altering, allergies affect many people in many different ways.
Pollen from vegetation, various foods, or dust in your home can cause sneezing, coughing, and even flu-like symptoms. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states that up to 30% of adults and 40% of children suffer from daily allergies.
One of the most common allergies that people face are cat and dog allergies. Caused by the dander coming off the skin and fur of dogs and saliva of cats, pet allergies are somewhat easier to avoid than environmental ones. However, pet allergies affect the quality of life for many who would prefer to have pets and hate the fact that their allergy prevents that experience.
Luckily, through a combination of modern technology and some good habits, people with mild to medium pet allergies can still have cats and dogs and enjoy life with their companion.
How Do Pet Allergies Work?
Pet allergies are different than what some people think when it comes to allergies. While you may sneeze from being around a dog or cat, that doesn’t mean that you are allergic. Cats and dogs have glands in their skin which secrete proteins. These proteins, commonly referred to as dander, are the cause of the allergic response in many people. As the animal moves around, the dander is released into the air.
These same proteins are also in the urine and saliva of the pet. When the saliva mixes with the fur or when the urine dries, it can release these proteins into the air. This is why bathing your pet frequently can be a huge tool to fight your pet allergy. The dander, along with any loose fur or particulates, washes off your pet’s body and doesn’t fly into the air.
Preventing these particles from getting in the air helps reduce allergens. There are also differences between breeds and how much trouble they are for people with allergies. Contrary to popular opinion, there are no truly hypoallergenic dogs or cats. However, certain breeds seem to have less of the protein that causes allergic reactions in people who suffer from pet allergies.
Reducing the Cause and Effect of Pet Allergies
It is not impossible to live with pet allergies and own pets at the same time. There are certain steps and precautions you should take in order to improve your quality of life. Trying these things at home can help you suffer less and find a happy equilibrium with your cat or dog.
- Get Yourself Tested for Allergies – One mistake many people make is to not get their allergies tested. They believe they are allergic to one thing but are actually allergic to something similar. Having a doctor test and discover your allergies will get you the specifics you need. For example, if you believe you’re allergic to dogs but aren’t certain, you could be allergic to pollen and not dogs—and dogs who spend a lot of time outside bring in pollen.
- Create a Pet Free Zone in Your Home – When your pet allergies act up, it can cause trouble if you have no place to go. Therefore, it is important to establish pet free zones in your home such as your bedroom, a bathroom, or the basement. This can be a place of retreat for you to recover.
- Invest in HEPA Filters for Your Home – HEPA or High Efficiency Particulate Air filters can be a great defense against the buildup of pet dander in your home. These filters are different from regular filters in heating and cooling systems. They trap finer particles and are a must for people with moderate to severe allergies.
- Get to Love the Weekly Bath – Bathing your dog weekly can give you a great defense against your pet allergies. Since it is the dander and not the fur that’s the problem, washing the dander off your pet every week can help your nose stay clear of these irritants. Besides, you wouldn’t go a week without a bath, would you?
Having pet allergies doesn’t mean you can’t be a pet owner. Using these steps, you can have the companionship and love from a cat or dog without risking your health. If you have questions about pet allergies, contact us. We’d love to help you feel better with pets in the picture!