What to Know About Allergies to Pets
If you’re a parent, you’ve more than likely had pleading children explain how responsible they would become, if only you would get them a dog, a cat, or a different furry friend. Maybe you give in, and adopt a cat from a shelter. You take him home only to realize that one of your family members is allergic to the new cat. What do you do? We at Cloud Peak are here to provide you with the information you need about allergies to animals and animal hair, so keep reading to learn more about options for your family.
Pet allergies are very common, in fact, ten to twenty percent of the whole population are allergic to dogs or cats. You would think that because so many people have this allergy, there must be a solution for it, right? Unfortunately, there is no cure, yet. Currently, you can minimize the symptoms and manage them better. Because allergies are not typically life-threatening, it can be easy to confuse symptoms of allergies for a cold or flu. There are a wide range of symptoms to be aware of, and below is a list of the most common symptoms that when combined, point to allergies:
- Itchy eyes
- Runny nose
- Trouble sleeping
To see a longer list, including child symptoms, click this link.
Managing Your Symptoms
When it comes to treating an allergy, the most obvious, and easiest solution is to avoid the cause altogether. Saying that, we do not want your family options to be limited to hairless animals in order for you to even be in the same room as them. Maybe getting hairless pets is the perfect solution for you, but if it is not, there are different options that could work. Symptoms and circumstances can affect the allergies as well, making it hard to give a “one and done” remedy. So while you may adopt a hairless pet, your neighbor may opt into taking care of a turtle instead. Taking care of any animal is a commitment, so take into account what works best for you and those affected by the outcome.
Having a pet allergy can be dealt with, and it does not always mean that you have to give up your pet or avoid going to a friend’s house because they have a dog. For starters, get your feline, canine, horse, whatever it may be, because while sleeping, all you do is breathe those hairs and particles in and out. Limiting exposure can definitely help you manage your symptoms. In the rooms that you spend the most time in, it is a good idea to get an air filter to minimize how much contact you have with the allergens. If you have central heating or AC, consider adding an air cleaner and/or filter to the system for that extra layer of protection throughout the house. You can use a cheesecloth over your forced-heating and AC vents as a temporary filter. We encourage you to clean your environment as clean as possible so that these allergens do not regularly invade your systems. Thus far, we have only talked about cleaning the air, so do not forget about all the dirty surfaces that need to be regularly sanitized.
Frequent cleaning is a must if you intend on having someone with a pet allergy and a pet in the same space. The allergens that get stuck to surfaces do not discriminate, so everything in your home will need regular cleaning. There are some surfaces that are best to avoid if you can, like carpet. Those sticky allergens love attaching themselves to every thread of your carpet, so consider having it taken out, if possible. If you’re renting, or it’s just not possible, getting a steam cleaner might be your best move to ensure the least amount of allergens in the fibers. When you do attack the allergens with some cleaning supplies, wear a mask to prevent your allergens from getting knocked right into your nose.
If the amount of cleaning done is not sufficient, or you are constantly around horse hair, or whatever it may be, consider medication. The best way to know if medication is right for you is to talk to your doctor about the possible options, and we recommend you figure out your allergies with a trusted professional before investing time and money into animal care.
Having pet allergies can rock your world, so give yourself that time you need to adapt and deal with the necessary environmental changes. Again, it’s best to have a professional by your side who can help you understand what will work for you. If you already own a pet and need care or advice for them, give Cloud Peak Veterinary Services a call. We can walk you through whatever process will fit your lifestyle. Explore our website to find out if there are any other services we provide that you need. Feel free to stop by our clinic with any further questions!