Four Easy Ways to Control Your Pet Allergy
Many people find that they are allergic to their pets. Here’s why: Cat saliva, for example, contains a common allergen. As cats groom themselves, they transfer the allergen to their hair and skin. The allergens then break off into tiny flakes called dander. Everywhere the cat goes, it leaves behind its dander. The same thing happens with dogs and birds. The dander comes to rest in carpets, beds, and sofas where contact with people propels it back into the air where people inhale it, causing an allergic reaction.
If you are allergic to your pet, you can take steps to reduce your exposure to these allergens. A few surprisingly simple steps can help you enjoy your pet without suffering from annoying allergies. The steps are listed below in approximate order of importance.
- Treat your pet to neutralize dander and reduce shedding. One of the most cost effective ways of reducing your allergy symptoms (far less expensive than taking a daily antihistamine, for example) is to use a treatment which is applied to the pet’s hair or fur. There are a variety of available treatmentswhich come in the form of pre-packaged wipes, bottled shampoos, and rub-on solutions. These treatments typically either neutralize the allergen or reduce shedding, or both.
- Use a true HEPA air purifier to capture airborne animal dander. The most effective way to capture animal dander, once it has become airborne, is by using a true HEPA air purifier. Choosing a true HEPA air purifier is especially critical for animal dander, as animal dander is among the smallest particles, and standard air purifiers may fail to capture it. True HEPA air purifiers capture 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size, small enough capture virtually all animal dander particles. Place an air purifier in the rooms the pet uses the most and you will likely see a dramatic decrease in your symptoms.
- Treat your carpets, fabrics and bedding where dander has accumulated. Because animal dander generally accumulates in carpets and fabrics, and vacuuming will not usually capture all of the dander, applying a treatment to the carpet or fabric will neutralize the dander that has been left behind. These treatments typically only need to be used monthly (or even less). Use them on your pet’s favorite chair, sofa, or carpet and you will probably notice your symptoms diminish quickly.
- Clean thoroughly once a week with a quality HEPA vacuum. Your pet will leave behind dander in any room it enters. Regular vacuuming is a great way to capture that dander. The problem with most vacuums is that they cannot capture particles as small as animal dander, so after sucking the animal dander out of the carpet they simply shoot it back into the air. A HEPA vacuum will capture 99.9% of the animal dander that it inhales. (While a HEPA vacuum solves the problem of retaining the captured animal dander, no vacuum will collect all the animal dander trapped in a carpet. That is why the treatments recommended in #3 above are very helpful.)