Pet allergies can be uncomfortable…
Sneezing, itchy eyes, wheezing, nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, facial pressure – the list could go on and on.
Do you have friends or family that don’t come over to your house because you have a cat or dog? Are you faced with the tough decision about removing a pet from your own home? According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Link opens in a new tab, about 10% of the population may be allergic to animals. With those numbers, it’s probable you or someone you know has pet allergies.
If you or someone in your home has pet allergies, and you’re faced with the emotional decision to remove the pet from the home, experts agree that you should speak to a doctor first to make sure the allergy symptoms are in fact related to the animal in question.
Mayo Clinic Link opens in a new tab states: “Avoiding exposure to pets is the best remedy for pet allergy. For many people that doesn’t sound like a good option, because family members are often very attached to their pets. Talk to your doctor about whether reducing exposure to your pet, rather than finding a new home for your pet, may be sufficient for managing your pet allergy.”
If you decide to keep your pet, there are a number of things you can do to help quell allergy symptoms.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America Link opens in a new tab recommends the following:
- Remove the animal’s favorite furniture.
- Remove wall-to-wall carpet.
- If you must have carpet, select ones with a low pile and steam clean them frequently.
- Scrub the walls and woodwork.
- Keep all surfaces throughout the home clean and uncluttered.
- Use throw rugs that can be washed in hot water.
- Wear a dust mask to vacuum. Vacuums can stir up allergens that have settled on carpet. Use a vacuum with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter if possible.
- Cover bedroom vents with dense filtering material like cheesecloth. Forced-air heating and air-conditioning can spread allergens throughout the house.
- Add an air cleaner with a HEPA filter to central heating and air conditioning. Doing so can help remove pet allergens from the air. The air cleaner should be used at least four hours per day.
- Wash the pet every week may reduce airborne allergens, but is of questionable value in reducing a person’s symptoms.
- Brush the pet outside to remove dander as well as clean the litter box or cage.