Managing Pet Allergy
Pets such as dogs and cats are a huge part of our lives, with over 66% of households in the United States owning a dog or cat. But what do you do if you start to develop allergy or asthma symptoms and are concerned it may be due to your pet? Here are some tips for managing pet allergy:
- Limit exposure: If possible, limit exposure to pets that may trigger your allergies. While this is challenging for many people because pets are part of the family, this can help reduce symptoms.
- Create pet-free zones in your home: Designate certain areas such as your bedroom or office as a pet-free zone to reduce allergen exposure while you are spending time in those areas.
- Regular cleaning: Dusting and vacuuming the home frequently (with a vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter) as well as cleaning and grooming pets frequently can help reduce allergens in the home. It is best if a professional groomer or another non-allergic family member does the grooming!
- Air purifiers: Air purifiers with HEPA filters can help remove allergens from the air in the home. Be sure to make sure the air purifier you buy is able to cover the size of the room (this is usually on the box)
- Wash hands and clothing: Have you ever developed hives or itchy eyes after petting a cat or dog? Washing your hands or changing your clothing afterwards can help reduce symptoms.
- Remember – there is no such thing as a “hypoallergenic” pet: Every breed of cat or dog releases a different amount or type of allergens, but no breed is truly “hypoallergenic.” This is merely a marketing term used by breeders!
- Consult an allergist: An allergist can help give you guidance on managing pet allergy and perform testing to confirm your pet allergy
- Medications: There are numerous over-the-counter and prescription medications that can provide relief of symptoms; Consulting an allergist can help determine which options may be best!
- Immunotherapy: Also referred to as allergy shots or allergy drops, can be recommended by your allergist to help desensitize your immune system to pet allergens.