You can live a happy, healthy life even if you're allergic to your dogs!
The ugly truth about pet allergies? It is dander that is the most common pet allergen that people suffer from. This is shed by the skin and found on the animal's fur, so there is really no avoiding allergies. Even hairless dogs produce dander!
People frequently mistake a pet's fur as the culprit when it's actually just the carrier for pet dander (dead skin cells) and saliva. And more people are allergic to animals then you think.
As you can imagine, pet allergens can get into the air when an animal is petted or groomed. Pet allergens can also be stirred into the air after dusting, vacuuming, or other household activities. Although cleaning daily is very important so don't think that gets you out of vacuuming!
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA):
"Allergies to pets with fur are common, especially among people who have other allergies or asthma. In the United States, as many as three in 10 people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs. Cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies."
Common Allergy Symptoms
You typically will have nasal congestion and watery eyes when allergic to pet dander, very much like seasonal allergies. But symptoms can range pending the extent of your allergies.
- Reactions include swelling and itching of the membranes, stuffy nose, runny nose, and inflamed eyes.
- The range can also be an itchy throat to a more severe, asthma-like response, including coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
- If allergen levels are low, symptoms may not appear until after several days of contact with the dog. If you fall into this category you're lucky.
Washing your hands is the best advice to keep pet allergy symptoms at bay! Yet some additional advice from the AAFA that will help clean the air:
"Adding an air cleaner combined with a HEPA filter to central heating and air conditioning can help remove pet allergens from the air. Use an air cleaner at least four hours per day. No air cleaner or filter will remove allergens stuck to surfaces, though."
With that in mind, the following advice is simple and anyone with dog allergies can safely live with man's best friend if they follow these tips.
Top Advice for Allergy Sufferers
- The first rule of daily cleaning: Clean a little bit every single day. If you keep up with 20 minutes (or so) of cleaning each day, there's never a need for strong, harsh chemical cleansers because the mess is never bad enough to need them. All you have to do is identify your recurring messes.
- All food dishes need to be washed daily and once a week, launder bedding.
- Allergy shots! These shots are also called allergy vaccines. Allergy shots help you develop protective antibodies so that you won't have an allergic reaction when exposed to an allergen.
- Once a month, change water and air filters.
- If you have carpet, consider getting it professionally cleaned at least every three months. Based on the experience of our staff - consider Chem-Dry's carpet cleaning service.
Is There Such a Thing as a Hypoallergenic Pet?
No dogs are completely non-allergenic, but hypoallergenic pets produce fewer allergens than others which make them fabulous for allergy sufferers (especially those with asthma). If you suffer from pet allergies, check out these hypoallergenic breeds. You will find a dog you can live with if your allergies are completely out of control.
Add in the comments below if you suffer from dog allergies and how you cope. Which of the above tips helps the most?
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