Pets are common in our homes. 70% of US households have one. They are humans' best friends, and having one as your companion can bring joy and fulfillment to your life. In fact, studies have shown that pet ownership can relieve depression, improve cardiac health, reduce anxiety, and ease loneliness.
However, pets can trigger allergic reactions. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, up to 20% of the world’s population is allergic to cats and dogs. Most people believe that fur is the cause of their allergies. But that’s actually not the case. Allergies are technically caused by the proteins found in their saliva, urine, and dead skin (pet dander). Moreover, pets can carry pollen or dust in their fur from the outdoors, triggering allergic reactions.
Common allergy symptoms caused by pets are coughing, wheezing, a runny nose, watery eyes, nasal congestion, and skin infections. Pet allergens can spread quickly and remain in your house for a long time. Therefore, you must learn ways to manage them if you want to live harmoniously with your furry friend.
So, what can you do? Keep scrolling for some suggestions for managing pet allergies at home!
5 Ways to Better Manage Your Pet Allergies
1. Clean Up Regularly
Pets can carry dander, pollen, and dust in their fur, all of which are easily trapped by the surfaces in your house. Allergens can quickly settle on carpets, rugs, beddings, furniture, and clothes. Therefore, it’s crucial to clean and disinfect your home frequently.
Wash your bedding and clothes at least once a week. You should use detergent and, if possible, hotter water while doing laundry to eliminate the allergens and other unhealthy particles.
Besides that, vacuum your carpets and floors regularly with a vacuum that uses a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This type of filter can more efficiently trap particles causing allergies. (More on HEPA filtration in a minute!) You can also replace your carpets and rugs with smooth flooring since it doesn’t trap as many allergens, compared to carpet. It’s also usually easier to clean.
Don’t forget to regularly clean areas where your pets sleep. Does Fido like to nap on the couch? You’ll need to vacuum it consistently. Does he have his own dog bed? Vacuum and wash it at least once a week. Remember that even after particles have settled on these surfaces, they can still be swept up by airflow and move to another part of the house.
Pro tip: Choose your disinfectants wisely! Some cleaning products are toxic.
2. Practice Smart Pet Maintenance
Taking a proactive — and not reactive — approach can help you better manage allergens before they get out of hand. Because pets shed dead skin, experts suggest bathing your dog once every four weeks. This helps to keep their fur and dander — and thus, your allergies — under control. It’s also good for their own hygiene.
In between washes, brushing and de-shedding your pet is vital. Some breeds might need this daily, depending on their coat. If possible, brush your pets outside the house to reduce the particles that end up in your home. If that’s not an option, have one designated spot for de-shedding. Immediately after, vacuum the area!
Finally, you can limit the bacteria that pets bring inside by wiping their paws after a walk. There are special disinfectant wipes you can buy for this purpose specifically. Make this a daily habit to keep your house clean.
3. Use an Air Purifier
You may wonder why you still sneeze after cleaning your house and bathing your pets. Allergens still floating in the air might be the main reason.
Using an air purifier with a medical-grade HEPA 13 filter will help you capture even microscopic particles in the air. These types of filters can remove 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns and 99.95% of particles down to 0.1 microns. And yes, air purifiers are safe for pets!
The Sans air purifier has a medical-grade HEPA 13 filter, plus three other layers of defense and protection. The right air purifier will help remove the threatening particles and toxins from your breathing air, thus alleviating allergy symptoms. Be sure to avoid washable filters. They’re not as safe or effective.
4. Have a Pet-Free Zone
Pets are good companions. Their warmth is unmatched, especially during the more challenging times. However, as we have discussed, pets carry loads of allergens in their fur and on their paws.
Consider keeping some areas pet-free. For example, you might establish your bedroom as a pet-free zone. Keeping pets out of your room may reduce your allergy problems and improve your sleep. If your children have allergies, block off their most commonly used areas so that pets can’t access them.
5. Try Pet Allergy Medication
Certain types of medication might help you to better manage your pet allergies. Even over-the-counter drugs can go a long way.
For instance, you can use antihistamines to manage your allergic reactions. Your immune system creates a chemical known as histamine, which overreacts to allergens. This is what causes your symptoms. Antihistamines can help treat an allergic reaction caused by histamine. Be sure to consult an allergist or your primary care provider before taking antihistamines!
Immunotherapy or allergy shots are another way to manage allergies. This involves repeated injections of small doses of allergens that trigger you until your immune system becomes resistant to those allergens.
According to the AAAAI, there are two phases in immunotherapy: the build-up phase and the maintenance phase. The build-up phase involves receiving injections once or twice weekly for the first three to six months. The maintenance phase begins after the correct dosage in the build-up phase is determined. Here, the allergy shots are given in intervals between two to four weeks.
You Can Live in Peace with Pets
Pets are our best friends. Like any living creatures, they require our care and attention. Try following the tips above and you might very well find that your pet allergy symptoms start to subside.
- Clean your home regularly.
- Be proactive, not reactive, with pet maintenance.
- Bring a Sans air purifier into the home.
- Keep certain areas pet-free.
- Talk to your doctor about allergy medication.