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Minimize Pet Allergies With These 8 Handy Tips

Take action against pet allergies with several helpful strategies.

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According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 15 to 30 percent of all Americans are affected by pet allergies. Allergies to cats are about twice as common as compared to dogs. Pet allergies can be severe, and cause people to have a constant stuffy nose, itchy eyes, or even trouble breathing.

An allergy is a reaction that occurs when the body’s natural defenses (immune system) overreact to a foreign substance called an allergen,” says Omar Waqar, M.D., an allergist and immunologist with ENT and Allergy Associates, “Allergens themselves are harmless; it is our body’s extreme response to them that causes the unwanted symptoms.”

In the case of pets, the allergy is not just to the fur, as many people believe. Rather, it comes down to animal dander, an otherwise harmless protein found in a pet’s skin, saliva, and urine, according to the Mayo Clinic.

“And all animals with fur or feathers have dander—our pets can spread dander all over any home whenever they scratch behind their ears, chase a favorite toy around the room, or just by living a normal, happy life,” says Waqar.

Waqar suggests that the best-case scenario if you have pet allergies is to have non-fur pets—like reptiles or fish. “But that can sometimes be out of your control—or it just may not be what you truly want in a pet,” he says.

What’s the best way to manage pet allergies when your exposure to a dog or cat triggers them? There are several strategies you can employ to minimize the effects.

  1. Get tested for allergies so you know for sure what’s causing your symptoms.
  2. Keep pets out of the bedroom.
  3. Consider allergy shots.
  4. Keep your allergy medicines readily available.
  5. Use a HEPA air purifier.
  6. Bathe your pets regularly, or take them to the groomer.
  7. Clean your carpets and rugs at least once a week.
  8. Try to keep your pets off lounging areas, like the sofa.

Allergy testing is the best way find out if you are allergic to a specific animal or type of dander. Your allergist can use either a blood test or skin test to determine a diagnosis and plan the proper course of treatment.

“Pets can be like family,” says Waqar. “Allergists understand that, which is why we’re very willing to work with you to manage your symptoms in order to keep your beloved pet in your life.”

About The Author
julieKeller_author-1

Julie is the co-founder of Well Defined and a longtime influencer and advocate in the wellness world. Along with her work at Well Defined, she is an executive recruiter and marketing specialist for Hutchinson Consulting. She is also a consultant and content strategist for numerous wellness brands. She is the former editor-in-chief and publisher of American Spa and was named a 2019 Folio Top Woman in Media in the Industry Trailblazers category and a 2018 winner of ISPA’s Innovate Award. She is also a seasoned journalist, specializing in spa, travel, health, fitness, wellness, sustainability, and beauty. She has been published in Departures, ForbesTraveler.com, E! Online, Gayot.com, Insider’s Guide to Spas, Luxury Travel Advisor, Marin Magazine, Ocean Home, Smart Meetings, Spa Asia, and Travel Agent.