Pet allergies can be a common thing in many households, yet studies have shown that out of the 15 percent of the country’s population who are allergic to dogs and cats one-third of them still live with a pet in their home.
If you are a pet lover, but deal with the dreaded sneezing, sniffling and itching that comes with allergies, here are a few tips to help lower your reaction to pet dander in your home.
Get tested first
Don’t be too quick to blame your pets for your allergy problems. There are many types of allergies out there. Before you accuse your four-legged friends of being the cause of your discomfort, visit an allergist to specifically test you and see if you are in fact allergic to pets. Yes, your results may find that you are allergic to your pets, but there may be other allergies that you have that cause more discomfort or may even add to your level of discomfort.
Create a pet-free zone
If you have pets in your home, you should have at least one room, preferably a bedroom, where pets are not allowed. Even though you are strict about leaving the pets out, their dander can still come into your quarantined space on your skin and clothes. Use a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner, which you can buy at your local home and garden store, to help keep down the number of particles floating through the air.
Keep your home clean
Vacuuming, dusting and cleaning your home frequently helps lower the amount of dander that can build up on your furniture and floors. If possible, avoid putting items such as carpeted floors or cloth blinds in your home because particles collect on these items and they are harder to wash. Washing couch covers, pillows, pet beds and other items weekly can also help. In your vacuum, use a microfilter bag to capture more allergens.
Bathe your pets weekly
Bathing your pet on a weekly basis will help to lower the dander in their fur, which in turn can help you breathe a little easier. Even cats, which typically aren’t that fond of water, can over time be coaxed into getting a regular bath. Check with your vet for tips to properly bath your animal so you can be the most efficient in lowering the number of allergens on your pet.
Seek medical help
If you have done all you can, but still can’t handle having a pet in your home, you may want to look into alternatives such as over-the-counter allergy medicine or even allergy shots. These shots work to gradually desensitize a person’s system to certain allergens. Although it may take some time to complete, in the long run you can typically cuddle up with your pet sneeze-free after completing the recommended shots.