Pet Dander Allergy
Although a pet can be a man’s best friend, animals can present a very real problem for the 15% of Americans who suffer from pet allergies. According to the National Institutes of Health, detectable levels of pet dander are in every home in the United States. Animal allergies are caused by dander (flakes of dead skin).
Common signs of allergic reactions to indoor animals include: coughing and wheezing, red, itchy eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing. It's imperative to visit a doctor in order to identify a pet allergy. Your doctor can confirm whether or not allergies are stemming from a pet allergy, and recommend appropriate methods of dealing with it, including medication, alternative therapy, or allergy shots. These techniques can help eliminate much of the symptoms, depending on how severe the allergies are.
Mayo Clinic recommends keeping animals out of the bedroom to minimize exposure to pet dander. Cover mattresses, box springs, and pillows with plastic allergy-proof cases. Invest in pillows and mattresses with non-allergenic polyester filling. If possible, replace carpets with wood or tile flooring. Wash walls and floors regularly.
Veterinarian Duane Schnittker of the Brentwood Veterinary Hospital in Brentwood, California suggests using a hypoallergenic shampoo to bathe pooches or felines. Washing the pet's bedding and toys weekly is also important. Pets should also be groomed regularly.
Here are some additional steps to take:
• Keep pets outdoors if possible. Keeping pets outside will reduce the amount of pet dander that gets on indoor furniture and household items.
• Don’t let pets on furniture or beds.
• Vacuum weekly to remove pet hair.
• Wash hands after petting an animal. Washing hands right after playing with an animal will limit exposure to pet dander.
• Replace air filters every 3 months. Air filters can remove up to 95% of pet dander from the air.
• Use a room air purifier that contains a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This type of filter will help remove pet dander from the air.
• Open windows and doors whenever possible to let fresh air inside.
People who have severe allergic reactions to pets may have to find another home for their furry friend. But people with less severe allergies can find a way to cope through following the tips listed above.