Away, Animal Allergies!
Have allergic reactions to your furry friends got you down? We have just the tips to cease the sniffles
Being a pet lover and owner is never easy, especially if you happen to be allergic to your furry companions. While studies show that approximately fifteen percent of people are allergic to dogs or cats, animal allergies do not necessarily have to prevent one from having a pet. Fortunately, there are many solutions that can be explored to allow a pet owner to co-exist with their pets while managing their allergies. The most important thing is to have a good understanding of your allergic conditions before managing them.
Am I allergic to my pet?
The most common symptoms of pet allergies are a stuffy nose and itchy, runny eyes. Other symptoms can range from mild – an itchy throat, nasal congestion, and sneezing – to more severe, asthma-like responses including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
However, the best way to confirm your pet allergy is to get a diagnosis from an allergist. There are many types of allergies, and yours may not be pet-related. For instance, you could be simply reacting to pollen trapped in your pet’s fur. If you have yet to be diagnosed with pet allergies, undergo a skin test from an allergist to identify the specific allergen that is triggering your symptoms. Once the extent of your allergies has been confirmed, your allergist can offer an appropriate regimen of medications, alternative therapies or allergy shots to alleviate the symptoms.
What causes the allergies?
The straightforward answer is protein. As with any allergy – from peanuts to pollen – our bodies are reacting to the protein in these substances. Pet dander can be found in most animals that we introduce to our homes. This includes cats, dogs and other critters. Known as allergens, the specific protein in the dander is what causes the allergies. Found in the skin, saliva and urine of pets, the allergens are tiny and easily airborne. This explains why some people develop allergy symptoms just by walking into a room that a pet has been in.
However, with careful management and treatment, giving up your pet is not always necessary, not everyone in the household is allergic to pets. Hence, the best way to determine the extent of your allergy to a specific pet or breed will be to work with an allergist and to schedule a trial meet-up with a potential pet.
Minimising the symptoms 1. Create an “allergy-free” zone at home
Something as simple as making your bedroom a pet-free sanctuary can significantly decrease the levels of allergens. Consider switching to bedding and pillow covers designed to be less permeable to allergens, as allergen particles brought into the room on clothes and other objects can accumulate in and on them.
2. Use HEPA air cleaners
These High-efficiency Particulate
Air filters trap tiny airborne pollutants such as dust mites, pollen and pet dander from the air. Place them in the bedroom and throughout the rest of the home. As much as possible, avoid dust and dander-trapping furnishings such as cloth curtains, carpets and fabric couches. If you do have carpeting, have it steam-cleaned regularly. Clean your home frequently and thoroughly, and use a “microfilter” bag in the vacuum cleaner to effectively catch all the allergens.
3. Install a Vehicle Air Purifier
Love taking your pet pals for a drive? Chances are that pet dander may be trapped in all the nooks and crannies of the car. With Singaporeans spending up to nine hours a week in their cars, both drivers and passengers are nine to twelve times more exposed to mold, dust and airborne allergens. Installing an air purifier in your car is just as essential as buying a HEPA filter for your home to minimise allergic reactions.
This is when air purifiers such as the 3M™ Vehicle Air Purifier Plus comes in handy. Compact enough to be installed anywhere in the vehicle, this air purifier removes up to ninety-nine percent of pet dander, dust and PM2.5 particles. A smart sensor panel ensures that the purification rate is automatically adjusted based on the air quality within the car.
Unfortunately, there are no allergyfree pets. According to Jody Tversky, M.D., assistant professor of allergy and immunology at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, although some pets are less potent, there are no hypoallergenic dogs or cats.
4. Bathe your pet regularly
There are products that claim to reduce pet allergens when sprayed on fur. However, studies show that weekly baths remain as one of the most ideal solutions. Regular baths can help to reduce the level of allergens on a pet’s fur by as much as eighty-four percent. Consult a veterinarian or professional pet groomers for the best methods and shampoos.
3MTM Vehicle Air Purifier Plus
Delonghi AC150 air filter