cat and dogPet allergies are something many allergy sufferers face. Studies have shown that anywhere from 15-30% of people with allergies have reactions to cats and dogs. These reactions happen when your immune system is over-sensitive to the proteins in a pet’s dander (dead skin cells). These particles are harmless to most people, but if you have allergies, pet dander can cause sniffling, sneezing and itchy and watery eyes. Suffering from these symptoms at home can be extremely annoying and uncomfortable, but does having a pet allergy mean you need to get rid of your beloved cat or dog to be comfortable in your home? If you or someone in your family suffers from a pet allergy the first obvious step would be to avoid having a cat or dog. But if you have a pet that is a part of your family, this is probably not even an option. There are some things you can do to make sure you can be as comfortable as possible with a pet in your home. Make Your Bedroom Off-Limits The first step you should take to minimize symptoms of pet dander allergy symptoms is to make your bedroom a pet-free zone. After you vow to keep your cat or dog out of the bedroom it’s important to clean your room thoroughly to eliminate any pet dander that has previously settled. If your pet laid on your mattress in the past you should also consider using allergen protective bedding and a zippered mattress cover. These items will protect you from the pet dander that has already settled into your mattress and bedding. If for some reason your cat or dog ever were to come into your bedroom allergen protective bedding will also help keep any newly shed (shed?) pet dander from settling into your mattress. Keep bedroom doors closed in order to keep your cat or dog from entering. Use HEPA Air Cleaners HEPA air cleaners are available at many home and garden shops. Using these air purifiers throughout your home will help remove pet dander particles from the air and lessen symptoms felt by the allergy sufferer in your home. Filters should be used for at least four hours a day for effective cleaning. Don’t Give Dander A Place to Hide Pet dander will easily cling to cloth and linen fabrics. Keep cloth-upholstered furniture to minimum in your home. It’s also a good measure to remove any fabric curtains that can harbor pet dander and replace them with window shades. If you have carpeting in your home, consider switching it out for hardwood flooring. Carpet creates a huge space for pet dander to cling to. Bathe & Wash Giving your pet a bath once or twice a week can reduce allergens on fur by as much as 84%. Cats need to be washed too! Make sure you use a shampoo recommended by your veterinarian. Also be sure you wash your hands or have your children wash their hands after petting the cat or dog. This will help prevent pet dander from spreading throughout the house.