Means Fewer Allergy Symptoms
Sunday, June 3, 2012
By Paris Permenter and John Bigley
As pet lovers, we all know that pet dander and pet hair are a fact of life. To keep our homes tidy, pet parents vacuum and remove those tumbleweeds of fallen fur that mark the homes of furry families.
But pets can unleash allergic reactions in many people. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) estimates that 15 to 30 percent of people with allergies have allergic reactions to pets including dogs and cats. Whether you have a family member with allergies or some summer visitors coming over that don’t have regular contact with pets, there are ways to keep those pet allergens in check. Unlike potentially very dangerous food allergies, pet allergies can be managed for many people with careful housekeeping and household practices.
Basically you want to minimize the factors that create the pet allergens: dead skin, saliva, and pet waste. While many people think that the pet hair makes them sneeze, the hair itself serves as a vehicle, collecting and dispersing those allergens in the form of dander and dried saliva (especially from cat grooming).
With some careful housecleaning and management, though, you can reduce pet allergens…while at the same time maintaining a “home, sweet home” atmosphere for both your and your pets. Here are 10 easy ways to reduce pet allergens:
· Wash your bedding and your dog’s bedding often. Always wash bedding in hot water to remove allergens.
· Wipe down walls and woodwork in your home with a wet cloth to remove pet dander and allergens. Mop floors on a regular schedule.
· Shampoo your carpets, rugs, and upholstery to remove allergens.
· After playing with or grooming your dog, change your clothes. It’s best to put those clothes into the washer immediately but, if you put them in a hamper, don’t keep the hamper near your bed.
· Always groom your dog outside (or, even better, at a grooming salon). Rough play should always be done outside. Non-allergic family members should be charged with all pet grooming whenever possible.
· Encase the mattress and pillow of allergic family members in special casings; these are designed to prevent the allergens from penetrating and collecting on the bed.
· Consider a no-dogs rule for bedrooms of allergic family members. If that’s not possible, be sure your dog has his own bed.
· Purchase an air purifier to remove small particles like pet dander from the air; keep the air purifier close to the bed of your allergic family member.
· Buy a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and vacuum often. (Think how clean your home will be!)
· Use filters made for homes with pets in your central air system. These filters are more expensive but can be the first defense in filtering out dander and hair.
Spending just a few extra minutes a day on these household chores can help reduce pet allergens in your home. With a minor expenditure of time and money, you can breathe easy that your home is both freer of allergens and cleaner at the same time!
About the authors: Paris Permenter and John Bigley are a husband-wife team of professional bloggers. They publish MyPetAllergies.com as well as DogTipper.com and CatTipper.com.