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Pet Allergies – Achoo!
Let’s discuss one of the most annoying allergies that there is, especially for us animal peeps – pet allergies. What can be done to reduce the allergens produced by pets.
It is said that 10 to 15% of all the people in the world suffer from some kind of allergy to animals, which can make owning a pet not only challenging, but potentially dangerous if the allergy is severe enough. Cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies. The body’s reaction to the animals is caused by a certain protein found in the animal’s saliva, urine or dander.
I recently learned that people aren’t really allergic to the pet’s fur but to the allergen that is attached to the fur, and stays on the carpeting or the furniture; basically anywhere your pet has been. Also, these microscopic flakes of dander travel through the air. Did you know, studies show that these allergens can stay in the air even 3 years after an animal has actually been in the home.
Many people ask if there are any breeds of animals that people are not allergic to.
Chkkk, Chkkk. That was the sound…
of my throat. I was trying to clear my passageways to breathe clearly. I could not figure out the deal on that. We spent an evening at a beach hotel and I had problems that I had never experienced before. I did not put two and two together until years later when I took in a fluffy cat which was owned by an overwhelmed special needs adult. The cat was a bit frightened of people and, I guess associated me with his rescue. He opted to live under my bed.
There it was…
the scratchy, closing up throat. What? I am allergic to cats? Oh boy! I immediately found another home for Mr. Superfluff (not his real name). Now, cats stay outside. I can pet them, but that’s about all.
So are there non-allergenic breeds?
The fact is, since all animals have dead skin there are no true non-allergenic breeds. People may be more tolerant of certain breeds of dogs than others but there is no such thing as the 100% free of allergies breed of dog or cat. All animals produce some amount of allergen, even if it is a small amount. The allergic symptoms themselves build over time after handling or being near an animal, with the peak time being around 12 hours after. Also, as the pet spends more time living in the person’s home the allergens begin to accumulate and a person who showed no symptoms when handling the pet at the store when buying it will start to show symptoms after it has been home for a while, usually within a day.
So what’s the answer for “allergic-y” people who want to have a pet?
What can they do in order to have a pet? Very simply, the only thing you can do is try to reduce your exposure to the allergens. You’re not going to be able to get rid of them completely.
- How about trying to prevent the accumulation of allergens is to cover your furniture with plastic mattresses and pillow covers.
- Replace your carpeting with hard wooden floors and washable throw rugs.
- Clean the house as often as you can.
- Make sure you vacuum with a cleaner that has a HEPA filter otherwise allergens will just keep ending up in your air.
- Your pet should be kept out of your bedroom completely. Unless you want to sound like a Gila Monster hissing all night as you try to get real breaths. This may be hard for a real pet peep but it is essential.
- When you brush your pet, do it outside and wear a face mask. Then change your clothes immediately afterward.
Unfortunately, the success rate of allergy shots and other treatments for pet allergies is only about 50%. There have been tests for a vaccine for people allergic to cats. This may be a major breakthrough for some in the future, but I shall not hold my breath. I like breathing.
Until then, there really isn’t much more you can do. If your allergies are severe it is probably best to stick with a fish for a pet… or a robot dog like Astro on the Jetsons.
Do you have pet allergies? Let me know in the comments below and how you deal with it.
Here is a video about cat allergies.
Here is a way to deal with any allergens in the air.
Alen BreatheSmart Classic Large Room Air Purifier – HEPA Filter for Pet Dander & Odor – 1100 sq. ft.
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