Being allergic doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have a pet or you have to give up the one you already have. To solve this problem, learn more about reducing pet allergies and make some minor changes to your environment. Controlling allergies takes work, but if you really want to…YOU CAN DO IT!
Allergic reactions are caused by allergens – substances that are generally invisible to the human eye, such as pollen, dust, mould spores and food additives. Allergic people are rarely allergic to just one thing. The allergens your pet carries are associated with its skin, hair follicles and saliva. The natural combination of skin cells and saliva that the animal loses all the time is the most common cause of pet allergies. It is the protein of these scales that causes the reactions, which remain in the environment by mixing with carpeting, furniture and drapes.
Fel d 1, the cat’s allergen, is the main cause of its allergic reactions. During the cat’s self-cleaning process, the Fel d 1 protein of the saliva is deposited on the coat. It is also produced by the sebaceous glands – the skin glands that secrete oils that keep the skin and hair smooth and shiny. Non-sterilized male cats generally produce more allergens than females. Proteins in cat urine will also trigger allergic reactions.
Some animals seem more tolerable than others because they have fewer allergens. Unfortunately, there are no non-allergic animals. It is also true that the hair length does not affect the animal’s allergenicity. Within a given breed, or even a litter, you can find animals that you will tolerate better than others.
Allergies are usually cumulative. Since the allergic person is sensitive to more than one thing, it is the total allergen level that causes a reaction. Whether a person exhibits symptoms depends on the number of allergens in the environment at the same time. A person with an allergy to animals may not show any noticeable symptoms when the total exposure is below their allergy threshold. The problem begins when there are enough allergens in the environment to exceed this level. The goal is to minimize exposure to airborne allergens that exceed tolerances and trigger attacks.
Clean the air
If your pet makes you sneeze, you are probably also allergic to dust, herbs, pollen, smoke, feathers, air pollutants, perfume or even certain foods. The following suggestions will help you reduce allergens in your environment:
- Wash your hands after handling an animal. Do not touch your face, especially your eyes and nose, until your hands are clean.
- Brush your cat every day to remove loose hairs before they can circulate around the house. Finish the grooming session by wiping the cat with a wet towel. (If possible, a non-allergic person should do the grooming.)
- Rinse the cat at least once a week with distilled water or try with a makeup remover wipe. There are also pet sprays on the market designed to reduce dander and loss.
- Invest in at least one quality air purifier with a high-efficiency particulate filter (HEPA). HEPA purifiers can be installed in domestic heating and air conditioning systems or powered by a standard power outlet. (The National Standards Office states that air filtered by a HEPA unit does not contain 99.97% of all contaminating particles.) At the very least, place a HEPA purifier in the bedroom and keep pets away! Experts say that if you breathe “clean” air for 8 to 10 hours each night, you can probably tolerate more exposure to allergens during the day.
Ensure that air entering windows or heating systems is filtered – cool it in hot weather and use muslin or cheesecloth on the vents during the coldest periods. Keep unfiltered windows closed.
- Keep everything as clean and dust-free as possible. Dust all surfaces regularly with a damp cloth. Vacuum instead of sweeping and remember to change vacuum bags frequently. Electrostatic filter bags make the vacuum cleaner more effective at capturing allergens.
- Keep in mind that the more washable surfaces in your home, the better.
- Choose furniture with smooth wood surfaces and simple lines, easy-to-wash walls, easy-to-clean blinds and polished hardwood, vinyl or tile floors.
- All home textiles must be 100% washable and free of chemical finishes. Wrap mattresses, box springs and pillows in anti-allergic covers. Buy special pillows that are non-allergenic or filled with dacron or polyester.
People with allergies are often extremely sensitive to odours. Avoid perfumes, cologne and aftershave lotions, make-up products containing perfumes, bubble bath, deodorant aerosols, hair lacquers and cleaning fluids. Some scented laundry detergents and softeners are particularly irritating.
And don’t forget to pay attention to the growth of mold, which is usually found in wet places!!!
By following these tips, you will reduce, or even cancel, the elements that make it impossible for you to own a cat, or even in some cases, a dog! It will take great diligence and constancy, but if it is important to you, then you will not hesitate and you can fulfill your dream of owning a pet.