Pets are like members of the family, and you can’t kick a loved one out of the house just because they trigger your allergies, right? Most allergists recommend that a pet causing allergy problems for its owner should be removed from the home. However, many owners can’t part with cats and dogs they have loved for years. If you are willing to put the work in to contain allergens associated with animals, you don’t have to choose between your fur-children and your respiratory system.
Here are a few tips for living with pets when you also live with allergies:
- Regular Grooming
Many allergens associated with animals can simply be washed off of them. If you keep up a regular bath schedule, you will splash much of the dirt and dander down the drain. There’s plenty of special anti-allergen shampoos on the market to make sure the you rid Fluffy of the irritants that frustrate your breathing
- Proper Brushing
This brings its own frustrations for the allergic owner, which is why groups like Embrace Pet Insurance recommend wearing a mask or outsourcing the job of brushing out allergens to a household member who isn’t impacted by the dander. But properly brushing dander out of an animal’s coat — outdoors or away from the house — will be helpful in reducing the allergens loose inside your home. Find a special brush that reaches the animal’s undercoat, the worst place for allergens to build up.
- Vacuum frequently
Particularly if you have an animal that sheds, it’s best to make sure a build-up of fur doesn’t accumulate on your furniture. Invest in a good vacuum with a brush that can suck up the allergens that build up in crevices and cushions of your couch and easy chair. And the more you vacuum, the less likely you will unsettle dust and allergens that could create short term irritation for your allergies.
- Protect Yourself
Whenever you clean your animals or any surfaces covered in dander, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends precautions like wearing a dust mask. After any prolonged handling of animals, make sure to change your clothes, lest the irritants on your shirt and pants travel with you all day they same way they cling to your pets’ fur.
- Can the carpeting
It’s best to cut out carpeting in favor of smooth surfaces less likely to contain a buildup of allergens, especially if you have pets in the home. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends removing wall-to-wall carpeting inside the home in favor of throw rugs that can be regularly cleaned. Since fur and other allergens produced by pets are clingy and sticky, it’s important to keep even smooth surfaces cleaned regularly.
- Filter the airways
The HVAC in your home holds the potential to spread allergens in the air. If you suffer from serious allergies, you can enhance the filtering for your system with a dense material like cheesecloth to keep the air cleaner. Keep up with changing your filters as well, and if you can invest in high-quality filters that capture allergens in the air.
- See your allergist
Above all, if you continue to have problems talk to a professional about your allergy situation. For patients who want to keep animals in their home, allergists will work to find helpful medication, usually with products available over the counter like nasal sprays and corticosteroids or antihistamines. You may be prescribed with mast cell stabilizers or decongestants that will help both with day-to-day irritation for your allergies and with severe situations.
Living with pets doesn’t mean tolerating asthma troubles and itchy eyes. You just need to take extra steps to protect your own health so you can live with your allergies and your animals.