Pets definitely help us live longer and healthier lives. This is especially true of the elderly and those of us who live alone. Pets make wonderful and faithful companions. They are always there for us. However, this relationship can become strained, and sometimes even be broken when someone in the household develops an allergy to a beloved pet.
Studies show that approximately 15% of the population suffers from an allergy to a dog or cat, and about one-third of those with an allergy to cats choose to live in a household with a cat despite the allergy. Some allergy sufferers live happily with a pet for a year or two before an allergy starts.
There are sometimes long term health ramifications of repeated allergy flair up’s, especially for children. Repeated flare-ups can cause permanent lung damage in children. This should be carefully and thoroughly discussed with your physician. One of the ways to live happily with an animal you are allergic to is to decrease your exposure to the animal. Keep the animal outside if possible.
If the allergy sufferer only has a mild reaction to the animal there are ways for the two of them to live together in harmony, but it takes work. The animal should not be allowed in the allergy sufferer’s bedroom or on the bed. Keep the animal off of any upholstered furniture in the house as dander can be transferred to upholstered furniture. Use a room purifier to remove airborne animal dander. Remove carpets from the home if possible and replace them with wood floors. Wash area rugs on a regular basis with warm water. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter in order to trap dander. The allergy sufferer should wash his or her face and hands after handling the animal. The animal can be bathed weekly in specially formulated shampoo that removes dander.
In some cases where the above methods and the use of over the counter antihistamines and decongestants do not help, the allergy sufferer may need to seek the help of an allergist. Immunotherapy can be thought of like a vaccination against your allergies. Given on a regular basis as shots, immunotherapy helps your body build up a natural tolerance to specific allergens.
With the use of the above methods, you’ll be able to live a long and healthy life with your pet!