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Sunday, August 15, 2010

What You Can Do If You Become Allergic To Your Pets

This is more common than you think.

Hey folks,

In today's Health and Science Segment, I want to talk about Allergies. Specifically, Pets. This can become a real problem if say you have a Pet that you have had for years. You love that Pet like a member of your family. Then, all of a sudden, someone comes into your life, Child, Roommate, Parent, whatever, and they are adversely effected but your beloved friend. Of worse yet, YOU become allergic to it.

What can you do? Well, according to Paw Nation - Allergic to Pets? Here's What You Can Do

You love animals but sadly, your eyes, nose, and lungs don't. (Or maybe it is your roommate who has trouble with your beloved animals.) An estimated one in 10 Americans may be allergic to pets, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI). So what can you or your allergic roommates do to live with furry, slobbery animals while keeping symptoms such as sneezing, a dripping nose, itchy eyes, coughing, and difficulty breathing at bay? We have 10 tips to help you deal with your allergies without having to give up the joy of having a dog or cat.

1. Avoid the main pet allergy triggers. Humans are most sensitive to proteins found in the animal's saliva, dander and urine, so petting and snuggling with your pet can really set off your allergies. Depending on the severity of your condition, that may mean cuddle time to a minimum and making sure you wash your hands thoroughly when you're done.

2. Keep Fido or Fluffy away from the bedroom. Because pet dander can float in the air, collect in clothing and furniture fabric and stick to the walls long after a pet has vacated the room, Ricardo Tan, M.D. of California Allery & Asthma Medical Group recommends keeping them out of the rooms allergy sufferers spend the most amount of time in, especially the bedroom. According to the AAFA's website, humans spend from one-third to one-half of our time in this part of the house, so keep the door closed at all times. To further protect your place of rest, the American Academy of Family Physicians website suggests using allergen-resistant bedding.

3. Clear the air. Installing an air cleaner with HEPA filters (high efficiency particulate air) can help your breathing by removing allergens from the air, says Dr. Tan. Other options include using an air cleaner that has an "electrostatic filter which will remove particles the size of animal allergens from the air," according to the AAFA's website. Remember that even if you have been careful to keep pets in certain parts of the house, central air conditioning and heating vents can spread pet allergens from the rooms your pet can access to the ones it shouldn't. Consider covering the vents in pet-restricted rooms with a "dense filtering material like cheesecloth" to keep the new allergens from being blowing into the room and make sure to keep litter boxes out of the reach of vents that circulate air to the rest of the home.

4. Clean your house often. Because air filters can't remove pet allergens from the surface of walls, carpets and furniture, you'll have to do your household chores regularly. Dr. Tan recommends vacuuming twice a week. If the sufferer is doing the cleaning, he or she may want to wear a dust mask to vacuum since cleaning stirs up allergens, according to the AAFA's website.

5. Clean your pet occasionally. "Wash your pets every three to four weeks" to help reduce their allergy proteins, says Dr. Tan. More often than that, however, and you'll dry out the protective oil in their skin and cause dry skin, he warns.

6. Go carpet-free. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology and the AAFA both recommend this as one of the best strategies for allergy sufferers. If you can't stand entirely bare floors, consider getting rugs that can be washed in hot water to stop the spread of offending pet dander, offers the AAFA.

7. Leave the real dirty work to someone else. The ACAAI advises sensitive cat owners to have someone else change the litter and allergy organizations across the board recommend that you get someone else to groom your pet.

8. Give medications a try. If you've kept a clean house and pet, and still you're experiencing reactions, you have a variety of medications to chose from, says Dr. Tan, including antihistamines, nasal sprays and decongestants, and appropriate asthma medications. Sometimes over-the-counter remedies are all it takes to keep the more annoying symptoms in check. It is important to consider that allergy sufferers with pets will probably have to take medications for life. "You can weigh the benefits of having the pet, which of course are enormous, against having to take medication for it," says Dr. Tan. The good news, according to Tan, is that, "Most allergy medications are relatively safe."

9. Get serious about treatment and find an allergist. "If your symptoms are increasing in terms of worsening nasal or eye irritation, or if you experience any shortness of breath around the animals," it's time to call a doctor, says Dr. Tan. The allergist can asses the severity of your symptoms and give more detailed advice about your situation.

10. Consider trying immunotherapy. This is a series of allergy shots that expose the patient to the dog or cat allergen to help them build a lifelong resistance to pet dander, saliva and urine and is the only reliable way to desensitize yourself to the allergens, says Dr. Tan. "As the dose increases, the patient becomes desensitized to whatever animal protein is in the shot," Dr. Tan explains. "These shots will be administered once a week in the beginning and once a month as time goes on. At the very least this procedure should be done for two years."
When my Niece was little. Seemed that she was Allergic to everything. She had a series of shots, and did some things similar to what is laid out here. It helped a lot. Now 18, she loves her Kitty, don't mind Horses, and seems to have little to no issues. Pollen? Well, that's a different story. But she now lives in Pet Harmony. So it DOES work.

Be right back.

Paw Nation - Allergic to Pets? Here's What You Can Do

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