How to Manage Pet Allergies in Your Household
October is in full swing, and the weather will be starting to turn a bit chilly as we get into November and December. As a result, people will be huddling inside once again for the winter. This also means people will be spending a lot more time with their pets indoors. And while it is always great to be snuggled up with your pets, those with pesky pet allergies will be confronted with increased symptoms in these upcoming months.
Pets are so loved in most households that no one wants to just get rid of their pet due to some allergies. That is why knowing the triggers and symptoms of pet allergies is essential.
To understand pet allergies, you should first understand what doctors mean when they use the term allergy. An allergy is a negative reaction by the immune system to a harmless substance. The immune system is the body’s self-defense mechanism against foreign substances like viruses and bacteria. Of course, we want the body to protect us from harmful germs and viruses. However, when our body starts to think that something as harmless as cat dander or dog saliva is a harmful foreign substance, we develop a variety of miserable symptoms. Why does that happen? There is always a protein or group of proteins that an allergic person’s immune system has incorrectly decided is now harmful and needs to be expelled from the body. Allergy symptoms are the mechanisms the immune system uses to get rid of offending substances. In other words, from harmless hay fever to life-threatening anaphylactic allergies, there will always be a set of proteins that triggers an inappropriate reaction.
Household Pets by the Numbers
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the four most common companion pets across households in the United States are dogs, cats, birds, and horses. Dogs and cats are the clear leaders of the pack in terms of numbers, however. Dogs are in about 38.4% of homes, while cats are in 25.4%. About 20% of the US population is affected by dog and cat allergies. Some other furry household pets that might affect your allergies include hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, etc.
The Source of Pet Allergies
Any substance causing an allergic reaction is called an allergen. Allergens can be a variety of different things, but the main culprits for pet allergies are pet saliva and pet dander, which is on their skin, fur, or hair. Pet allergens collect on furniture, carpets, clothing and even stick to walls and other surfaces. This occurs because the proteins that trigger these allergies are tiny and they float in the air. This is also why some highly allergic people cannot walk into a house if a cat or dog lives there.
Common Symptoms of Pet Allergies
We have discussed allergies and the microscopic particles and proteins causing allergies. We have also explained that allergy symptoms are ways the immune system has chosen to expel the allergens it has detected. Let’s look at the most common symptoms these pet allergies can trigger:
- Stuffy nose, drippy nose: sometimes confused with a cold
- Runny eyes: frequently itchy, teary, and red
- Itchy throat: a typical sign of an allergy that causes the throat to feel scratchy and uncomfortable
- Nasal congestion: the blockage of the nasal passages due to swelling of membranes lining the inside of the nose
- Chest tightness: an unpleasant feeling of heaviness and pressure in the chest
- Skin rashes: skin redness or sores
- Hives: the appearance of swollen red bumps or areas on the skin
- Wheezing: to breathe with a whistling or rattling sound in the chest
- Rhinitis: Inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose
- Asthma: difficulty breathing due to narrowing of air passages in the lungs
How to Control Pet Allergies
Of course, the most effective way, but also the saddest way, to combat pet allergies is to get rid of your pet. However, that is a very difficult thing to do, and we definitely want you to keep your beloved pets if possible. Here are several suggestions to relieve some of those pet allergy symptoms.
- Keep pets out of your bedroom(s) and restrict them to certain areas of the house. In this way, beds will not become a trap for allergens as it can be quite challenging to clean mattresses regularly.
- Limiting pets to a single room may help but will not entirely reduce contamination because allergens remain suspended in the air.
- Use HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) air cleaners at home as they trap allergens and pollutants in bedrooms and living rooms. Thus, reducing the allergen levels over time.
- Regularly clean your air ducts and vents.
- Bathe your pets often to decrease the allergen count. However, if your pet is especially troublesome in taking a bath, you can use pet wipes.
- Immediately wash hands after petting, hugging, kissing, or touching your pets, and make sure that you don’t rub your eyes before you wash your hands.
- Change your clothes after prolonged exposure to your pet.
- Avoid carpeting as carpets become contaminated easily or use washable rugs. Bare floors and empty walls are the most secure options.
- Rodents are high-potent allergens, so they should not be kept as pets in people’s homes with other allergies. If you have hamsters or Guinea Pigs, then appoint someone else to clean the cage.
- Regular use of HEPA vacuum cleaners will help reduce allergen levels.
- Wash your pet’s bedding regularly.
- Choose pets that do not have fur or feathers on their bodies, such as fish, snakes, or turtles.
- Over the counter, allergy medication may help temporarily, but they do not treat the root problem.
- Sinus rinses are an excellent remedy for clearing the nasal passages.
On the one hand, many people may think the above recommendations are overwhelming. On the other hand, while the sure cure to pet allergies is to get rid of your pet and then have the house and air ducts cleaned, most pet owners are too attached to their pets. So, how do you solve this dilemma? The optimal solution is to seek out a holistic allergist, preferably one who specializes in Advanced Allergy Therapeutics (AAT). A holistic allergist who specializes in AAT provides painless allergy testing and treatments that do not involve needles nor drugs nor supplements nor avoidance. Then you can snuggle with your pet without the fear of undue suffering or overwhelming allergy symptoms.
We are here to help
If you suffer from allergies, and you have been unsuccessful with other allergy treatments or are looking for something different, St. Louis Allergy Relief Center treats allergies holistically without the use of pain or pills. We specialize in holistic, natural allergy treatments using Advanced Allergy Therapeutics (AAT). We provide you with a detailed treatment plan after completing a comprehensive assessment to determine environmental stressors that may be triggering allergies or allergy-like symptoms. Visit our website https://stlouisallergyrelief.com/ to learn more or call us at 314-384-9304.