You can have a pet if you are allergic. To reduce pet-allergy symptoms— provided they are simply miserable but not life-threatening — here are some suggestions to help keep the furry creature who has won your heart.
Allergy-proof your home
- Control dust by cleaning thoroughly and frequently
- Keep out pollen by closing windows and running the air conditioning during peak seasons
- Ban smoking inside the house
- Consult with your doctor about allergy shots, antihistamines and other treatments that may reduce your reaction to dander and other allergens
- Make your bedroom an allergy-free retreat that the animal is never allowed to go into. Install a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner. Put impermeable covers on mattresses and pillows to keep them from picking up dander brought in on clothes
- Use HEPA air cleaners throughout the house and cut back on dander-collecting fabric furnishings, such as curtains and carpets
- Vacuum frequently using a HEPA-filter machine or a microfilter bag. Launder slipcovers, pillow covers and pet bedding regularly
- Bathe your pet weekly. It’s more effective than any dander-control spray. Even cats can be trained to tolerate bathing
- Some but by no means all allergy sufferers are less irritated by animals with constantly growing hair, such as poodles and bichon frises, so you might want to consider one for your next pet
Don’t blame it on the dog
Don’t instantly blame your pet for all your bouts of sneezing and watery eyes. Sure, you may have a reaction when you’re around the cat, but many if not most allergy sufferers are sensitive to more than one allergen.
If you react to animal dander, chances are good that you are also sensitive to other common allergens such as dust, cigarette smoke and pollen — or any combination of them. The effects of these allergens are cumulative. So before you go bundling the family pet off to a shelter, try lowering the overall allergen level in your house.