Away, An­i­mal Al­ler­gies!

Have al­ler­gic re­ac­tions to your furry friends got you down? We have just the tips to cease the snif­fles

Clubpets - - YOUR PET & YOU -

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

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