For many of people, pets are members of the family. You may let our dog or cat sleep on your bed, sit on your sofa and roam about the house just like any other family member. But if you or another person in your family suffers from a pet dander allergy, living happily with a pet might not be so simple. If you have pets though, you know getting rid of your cat or dog is not an option. Luckily there are many steps families can take to fight pet dander and the allergy symptoms that are created by it. Keep reading to learn ways you can love your pets and live with a pet dander allergy. What Are Pet Allergies? Many people think that having a pet allergy means you are allergic to a pet’s fur. But the truth is that people who suffer from pet allergies are actually allergic to proteins found in a pet’s skin, saliva and urine. These proteins are also known as pet dander. If you are allergic to pet dander, your body produces histamines when the proteins are inhaled. This causes symptoms such as sneezing, itchy eyes, wheezing, or even a rash. Protecting Your Family Many people don’t even know they have pet allergies. Children are most likely to be misdiagnosed as being prone to colds or having sinus infections, rather than being allergic. But if you have a cat or dog and symptoms last for a prolonged period of time, it’s highly likely that a pet dander allergy is present. The best way to find out for sure is to visit an allergist and have a reaction test done. If you have a pet and you or someone in your family is suffering from allergy symptoms, there are a number of things you can do to combat the allergens themselves without having to get rid of your furry friend:
- Protect Your Bed and Bedroom - On average, you spend a third of your day in bed. If your bed is full of pet dander and you have a pet allergy, it’s no wonder why your allergy symptoms and running rampant. One of the best ways to protect your bed from pet dander is to use protective allergen bedding, such as mattress encasements and pillow protectors. These items will help create a protective barrier, making it impossible for pet dander to settle into the fibers of your mattress and pillows. You may also want to consider making bedrooms completely off limits to pets. That way you will not run the risk of having pet dander anywhere in your bedroom.
- Don’t Give Dander a Place to Hide - Pet dander proteins will cling easily to cloth and other linen fabrics. Make your cloth-upholstered furniture, such as sofas and easy chairs, off-limits to pets. You may also want to consider removing fabric curtains that pet dander can cling to. Carpet is also a place where pet dander likes to hide. If you have a lot of carpeting in your home, be sure to vacuum at least once a week.
- Keep Your Furry Friend Clean - Bathing your pet once or twice a week can help reduce allergens by 84%. And yes, even cats need a bath! Ask your veterinarian to recommend a shampoo that will most effectively eliminate pet dander. Also be sure you and other members of your family wash their hands after petting the cat or dog. This will help stop the spread of pet dander throughout the house.
Loving your pets is important, even if you do have a pet allergy! What are some ways you and your family are already fighting pet dander in your home?