Do you suffer from a runny nose, sneezing or swollen eyes when your pet is around? If so, you may have a pet allergy.
It’s estimated that up to 10% of people have an allergy to pets, so you’re not alone. Allergic reactions can be caused by any type of animal, including rabbits and livestock, but are most common for dog or cat owners.
Surprisingly, pet allergies aren’t caused by hair. Instead, pet dander cells carry a protein that triggers reactions. Dander is too small to be seen by the human eye, but is the perfect size to get caught in fabrics and float around your home.
Unfortunately, most allergies are permanent, so you can’t wait for them to improve. The key to cutting down pet allergies is to reduce the amount of dander in your home. Here are seven ways you can reduce allergies without giving up your pet!
1. Wash Your Hands and Hair after Contact with Your Pet
One of the best ways to reduce allergic reactions is also the most obvious – wash your hands as soon as you’ve finished handling your pet. This prevents accidentally rubbing your face with pet dander. If you’ve been hugging your pet, it’s also a good idea to wash your hair before going to bed.
As spring is here, your children may also be spending more time outside with their pets. If they often play in grass with animals, make sure they have a shower before going to bed, otherwise allergens could be caught in their bedding.
2. Clean Carpets Thoroughly
Carpet fibers trap large amounts of pet dander. This is why you may suffer from reactions even when your pet isn’t nearby.
Ideally, you should replace all thick pile carpets with either low pile or hard floors. This makes it much easier to keep pet dander to a manageable level. If you can’t do this though, a combination of regular vacuuming with a HEPA filter and using a steam cleaner for a deeper clean can do a good job.
3. Setup an Allergen-Free Zone
If your pet currently has the run of the house, there’s nowhere to escape triggers. A great way to reduce reactions is to designate certain rooms where pets aren’t allowed. This is easier said than done – especially with cats! But it can make a big difference to your allergy.
At the very least, keep your pet out of your bedroom. Pillows and mattresses trap dander, which can then cause a continuous reaction throughout the night. You may also want to keep windows open on warm days to allow allergens to escape.
4. Add Covers to Your Furniture
Upholstery and fabric can also trap pet dander. This is released whenever you sit on the furniture, causing a continuous reaction. One of the easiest ways to prevent this is to buy covers for your furniture. These are much easier to thoroughly wash than upholstery.
Of course, the best solution would be to keep pets off furniture altogether. This isn’t always possible though.
5. Buy an Air Filter
Dander floating in the air is the most common cause of year-round pet allergies. One of the fastest ways to remove it is with an air filter. These machines clean the air continuously and can greatly reduce the amount of dander in your home.
If possible, choose an air filter with a HEPA filter, as these are more effective at removing small particles. Also remember to clean the filter regularly.
6. Ask Someone Else to Brush Your Pet
Giving your pet a daily brush doesn’t just get rid of pet hair, it can also remove excessive dander. Regular brushing combined with the occasional bath can greatly reduce the amount of dander released by your pet.
Be careful though – brushing can stir up dander into the air. If other members of your household don’t suffer from a pet allergy, ask them to do this outside. You also shouldn’t wash your dog more than once a month with dog shampoo, or you could dry out his skin.
7. Wash Bedding on a High Temperature Twice Per Week
Even if you’re careful about washing before going to bed, dander is still likely to make its way into your sheets and bedding. For this reason, it’s important to wash all bedding at least twice a week on a high heat.
If you find your bedding loses shape from regular washing, you may want to consider buying synthetic anti-allergy bedding. This is made using fibres that are able to withstand washing at a high temperature.
The tips in this article can quickly relieve pet allergies by reducing the amount of dander in your home. It’s impossible to get rid of all dander – at least without giving up your pet – but even a small reduction can help allergies.
If you suffer from a severe allergy, or if these tips don’t help, you should consider seeing your doctor. It’s possible that you have a different allergy, such as dust or pollen. You might also need medication to help manage your allergy.
Do you have any questions about pet allergies or how to relieve them? Or do you have tips for managing allergies that I haven’t mentioned? If so, let me know in the comments!
About the Author:
James Hall is a dog-lover and writer from the UK. He currently writes for www.SpotlessVacuum.co.uk, but has been featured on a variety of websites across the web. He enjoys hiking, swimming and long bike rides through the local countryside