Banish Your Pet Allergies
If you end up sneezing every time you're in close proximity to Fluffy or Fido, it doesn't mean you have to live without your favorite pet. There might be ways to manage your allergies with furry friends still in your midst.
If you suspect your sneezing is related to a certain pet, but you have not confirmed it, that should be the first step. You may be reacting not to your pet, but to the grasses and pollens your pet is tracking into the house, or even its flea collar or shampoo. Jamey Wallace, ND, a clinical supervisor at Bastyr Center for Natural Health, recommends having a skin-prick test done by an allergist. Contrary to common belief, most people are not allergic to animal hair itself but to a protein allergen found in the dander, saliva or urine of an animal with fur.
If it turns out you are allergic to cats or dogs but still want to live with them, Dr. Wallace recommends:
- Confining the pet to certain rooms of the house and keeping it out of the bedroom.
- Conducting hyper-hygienic cleaning throughout the house, keeping in mind that animal allergens can accumulate on all household surfaces.
- Eliminating carpeting, which can trap and store animal dander.
- Using a HEPA filter when vacuuming.
- Keeping mattresses and cushions covered in zippered, plastic casings.
- Investing in a home air purifier.
- Brushing and bathing your pet weekly using a dander-reducing shampoo recommended by a veterinarian.
Writer: Sydney Maupin, Staff Writer
Contributor: Jamey Wallace, ND
Sources: www.aaaai.org, www.allerpet.com, www.cuhumane.org, www.cvm.uiuc.edu.
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