Our pets bring happiness and joy into our lives every day. We all know of the perks that come with owning a pet, including the emotional support and physical health benefits they provide us. But unfortunately, some of us just can’t enjoy spending time with furry friends without facing a stuffy nose, itchy eyes, or rashes.
If you’re allergic to animals, know that you aren’t alone. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 3 in 10 people have allergies to dogs and cats. A common misconception is that pet hair is the main cause of allergic reactions, which is untrue. Allergies are triggered by dander (dead skin cells), saliva, and pet urine. Some of the annoying reactions you might get include mild irritations such as sneezing, a runny nose, itchy eyes, or skin rashes.
So what can you do if you are allergic to furry animals?
We know – it’s tough being an animal lover who is allergic to animals. If you have only mild allergic reactions to animals, and they are not life-threatening, there are a few things that you can do to ease your symptoms.
1. Keep Your House Clean
The first thing you can do to alleviate your allergy symptoms is to keep your home clean. Wipe down surfaces, wash your clothing, and vacuum or mop the floors regularly. These can collect dust, pet hair, and other particles that might be causing your allergies.
2. Use Air Filters (HEPA)
Invest in a High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter, or HEPA air cleaner, for your home. These can improve the air quality in your rooms by removing allergenic particles, relieving you of your allergy symptoms.
3. Have an Animal-Free Zone
Ideally, this zone would be your bedroom. Keeping your furry friends out of your bedroom will let you sleep peacefully, without the threat of allergic reactions. You’ll also want to create animal-friendly zones in your house as well, where your pet can roam around and play to his heart’s content.
4. Remove Carpets & Rugs
Rugs and carpets can often trap the allergenic particles that cause your symptoms. While vacuuming seems effective, it can stir up the allergens that got stuck to the carpeting and worsen your allergies. You may find it more convenient in the long run to simply remove the carpets and rugs, and replace them with hardwood floors or tiles instead. These are easier to clean, and they do not trap dust and pet hair like carpets do.
5. Over-the-counter Medication
If you have mild allergies, you are probably already familiar with antihistamines. This over-the-counter medication can relieve mild symptoms, allowing you to play with your pets without worrying about allergic reactions.
6. Allergy Shots
If you have more severe allergies and plan to have furry pets for a long time, you may want to consider allergy shots. While it takes a while for allergy shots to fully take effect, it is the most effective way to get rid of your allergies in the long run.
7. Adopt A Fur-less Animal
Lastly, if you are an animal lover looking to open up your home to a new pet, consider adopting an animal without fur. Some of your options are fish, turtles, bearded dragons, geckos, and more fur-less and featherless animals.
If you have any questions about your pet, contact our Anaheim veterinarian, Dr. Lopez, at Brookhurst Animal Medical Center. Our team is always here to help!