22A pet care client approached me recently with a problem. The family has two cats and their young daughter has severe pet allergies, especially to cats. The child takes allergy medicine, but it’s not working very well. Her pediatrician recommended rehoming the cats.
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Thankfully, my client did not consider rehoming the cats as an option. There are steps you can take to help minimize the effects of pet allergies. Some are quite easy to put into practice, others are a bit more extensive.
Here are tips I shared with my client to help lessen the effects of pet allergies:
Create an allergy-free room in your home. We suggest the bedroom.
By keeping your pets out of this room (and by using hypoallergenic bedding and pillows), you can temporarily escape the allergens that trigger your symptoms.
Limit fabrics used in your home, such as carpeting, rugs, drapes and upholstery.
Hardwood floors do not harbor allergens as much as carpeting. It’s a big expense to redo flooring, though. Steam clean carpets regularly and consider washable drapes, area rugs and window treatments.
Other Tips Include:
- Vacuum (with HEPA filter) frequently.
- Brush or comb your pet frequently, This helps remove loose hair and dander.
- Clean the litter box frequently.
- Use anti-allergen room sprays in areas your pet frequents Pets like to be where their people are, and this will minimize allergen impacts.
- Invest in an air purifier.
- Use washable pet bedding.
- Bathe your pet regularly using shampoo specially formulated for pets. Many cats don’t like getting bathed. For cats that hate baths, pre-moistened pet wipes or dry shampoo specially formulated for pets are a good alternative.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Wear “pet clothes,” which are clothes you can wear specifically for when you play and interact with your pet.
- Have another family member who does not have allergies to pets do the cleaning, litter box work, and pet bedding washing. (Wow! There is an upside to pet allergies! No dirty work required!)
Here’s to a healthier (and sneeze and sniffle-free!) relationship with your pet!
Have you or a member of your family suffered with pet allergies while living with pets? Please leave a comment to share what worked well to reduce allergy symptoms, we’d love to hear from you!