According to WebMD, about 55 percent of people living in the U.S. test positive for at least one allergen—whether it’s seasonal, a food allergy, or something else in the environment, like pet dander.
And, with so many pet-owning households in the U.S., there are a lot of people who might be looking for relief from pet dander allergies.
What causes pet allergies?
Pet allergies are caused by dander, which can come from cats, dogs, birds, hamsters, ferrets, and any other number of furry friends we might bring into our homes. But it isn’t the actual fur or feathers that cause all those uncomfortable symptoms, it’s a protein found in not only the dander, but also the pet’s urine and saliva.
While pet allergies are common, before you decide to do something about your apparent allergy to your pet, it’s a good idea to visit an allergist, who can determine which allergens are affecting you.
How to mitigate your pet allergy symptoms
- Clean, clean, and clean some more. Vacuum, shampoo rugs, change bedding, dust, and change the furnace filter frequently. And, don’t limit your cleaning to areas around your house: Keep your hands clean, too, by washing them often.
- Keep pets out of the bedroom. Have a designated pet-free space to significantly reduce dander in that area of the house.
- Use a HEPA filter. A HEPA filter will remove tiny, airborne pollutants, including dander and dust mites, from the air inside your home.
- Think about medication and allergy shots. Allergy shots help you develop antibodies so you won’t react when exposed to an allergen.
- You’ll need weekly injections for about a year, and monthly shots after that for up to five years. If that sounds like too much of a commitment, talk to your doctor about a prescription allergy medication.
- Consider a different type of pet. If you’re in between pets, it might be wise to think about getting a companion sans fur or feathers, like a turtle, lizard, snake, or fish.
By following these tips, you hopefully can mitigate some of the pet allergy symptoms you may be experiencing.