Many people love animals, which is why some individuals keep pets even though they are mildly allergic to pet dander. Three out of every ten people have allergic reactions to cats and dogs alone, though other people have allergies to several other species of animal (such as rabbits). These allergic reactions are caused by an oversensitive immune system, which confuses harmless proteins in pet urine, saliva, or dander with dangerous diseases. There are a few ways to cope with these allergies if you are mildly allergic and want to live peacefully with your pets with as little itchiness as possible. Here are a few of our suggestions.
Keep Your Bedroom Pet-Free
One of the best ways to keep your environment from seeming too allergen heavy is to keep your pets out of your bedroom. A pet-free sanctuary can significantly decrease levels of allergens in that space. Likewise, consider switching to special bedding designed to be less permeable to allergens, including dust and dander.
Get a HEPA Filter
A good HEPA filter will remove tiny airborne pollutants, such as dust mites, pollen, and pet dander, from the air you breathe. Dander is light and airy, so the HEPA filter can filter it out of the air, reducing your exposure. Standalone filters are typically more effective than whole-house HEPA systems.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Learn to love housework, because the best way to cope with pet allergens is to vacuum frequently and change filters around the house to reduce dander in the air. Some people even shampoo the rug regularly, change bedding on a regular basis, and wipe down the walls where pets rub. Dusting often also helps reduce allergen buildup. If possible, convert your home to a hard-surface floor and minimize the amount of upholstered furniture in the house.
Wash Your Hands
While some people try to mitigate the number of allergens in the home by attempting to wash their pets, this doesn’t solve the problem for long. The more practical approach would be to clean yourself. Scrub your hands and face frequently to prevent a buildup of allergens on your skin.
Over-the-counter allergy medications, such as Benadryl, can relieve mild allergy symptoms, such as nasal congestion and itchy eyes; however, they can’t help with asthma-type symptoms, such as wheezing and chest tightness. Consider speaking to your physician or an allergist about whether or not you can benefit from prescription allergy medication.
Consider Allergy Shots
If you know you’ll be around pets long-term, you might want to consider getting allergy shots, or allergy vaccines. These injections can help you develop protective antibodies, so you won’t have an allergic reaction when exposed to an allergen. These shots do take time to work. It can take almost a year of weekly injections before you can convert to monthly maintenance doses. In another three to five years of monthly shots, you will no longer have allergy symptoms.
If you’re still having problems with severe allergies, consider talking to our Plantation allergy specialists. South Florida Sinus and Allergy Center, Inc. can offer you several allergy treatments to help you manage your reactions. Let us see what we can do for you.