How to manage pet allergies

Posted on: 05 September 2019 by 50connect editorial

Living with pets provides an uplift to wellbeing and health - even for those with mild pet allergies. Here are some tips to minimise and control pet allergy symptoms.

Pet allergies

Traditionally, we are told that if you suffer from allergies, then owning a pet is not a good idea. However, studies suggests that the opposite may hold true. Research carried out in America demonstrates that children who live with a cat or dog in their early years can be protected by the contact with the pet, from developing allergies, including non-pet allergens, such as dust mites, grasses and pollen.

For those people who do have allergies to animals, it has been found that some breeds of cat or dog with particular types of fur, do not provoke an allergic reaction (unfortunately, this does not generally apply to asthma sufferers). Poodles, Bichon Frisé or Labradoodles are generally less allergenic than other breeds of dog as their coat is more like wool than fur. Similarly, furless Rex cats seem to be better for some sufferers.

However, every reaction is individual and there are no hard and fast rules. As a general guide pets that moult less fur are less likely to cause a reaction.

Given the many benefits pets bring, both in terms of companionship and health benefits, the good news is that in a majority of cases, mild allergies to pets can also be minimised and symptoms controlled by careful management. 

Tips for pet owners

  • Keep pets away from soft furnishings, such as sofas, cushions, pillows and beds.
  • Soft furnishings can carry dust mites and other allergens. Once such items contain dust or skin scales it can take months and even years for the levels to decline. The best way to clean is to vacuum mattresses and sofas and regularly wash bed linen and pets’ bedding at no less than 60C.
  • Use a modern, bagless vacuum cleaner with cyclical air filtration and leave windows open for at least two hours after cleaning.
  • It is worth noting that house dust mite faeces is the most common allergen and mites are particularly fond of foam‑backed carpet ‑ a square metre can contain up to 1.5 million mites.
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom. If they do enter the bedroom, ensure they are kept away from the bedding, and in particular pillows.
  • Regularly brushing pets helps to reduce the amount of dust they carry and the amount of fur they shed around the house. Grooming outdoors will also help keep the dust outside ‑ using a nose and mouth mask may help.
  • Keeping yourself clean also helps; wash your hands after playing with the pet and change into clean clothes after grooming your pet.
  • Don’t forget to clean the pet’s living area too!

 

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