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As a parent to a furkid, you may experience allergies from your pets. This type of allergy to your pet is referred to as an environmental allergy, and comes from pet dander. This is much the same as being allergic to pollen and dust. However, pet dander is composed of small, microscopic, flecks of skin shed by some animals. An allergy to your pet does not mean you should not own a furkid of your own. There are ways to control the spread of the allergens to ensure you aren’t sneezing and scratching your life away.

Symptoms of pet dander allergy

According to the Mayo Clinic, pet allergy signs and symptoms caused by inflammation of nasal passages include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
  • Postnasal drip
  • Cough
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Frequent awakening
  • Swollen, blue-colored skin under your eyes
  • In a child, frequent upward rubbing of the nose

If your pet allergy contributes to asthma, you may also experience:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Audible whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
  • Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing

Skin symptoms

Some people with pet allergy may also experience skin symptoms, a pattern known as allergic dermatitis. This type of dermatitis is an immune system reaction that causes skin inflammation. Direct contact with an allergy-causing pet may trigger allergic dermatitis, causing signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Raised, red patches of skin (hives)
  • Eczema
  • Itchy skin

Visit the Mayo Clinic website for information on when to see a doctor.

Make your bedroom a pet free zone

This may be a no-go for many pet owners who will rather have allergies over having their pet sleep alone. Should your allergies be excessive you may however want to consider having your pet sleep in their basket and not directly on your bed. Breathing in allergens throughout the night will certainly worsen your symptoms.

Consider an air purifier for pet allergies

Air purifiers work at removing dust and dander and replace the air in your home with clean, fresh air. You may have pet allergies in addition to other environmental allergies such as pollen, hence an air purifier will work for both. Make sure you are opting for one with a washable filter which is designed for airborne allergens.

Clean your home

Controlling pet allergies also means controlling the amount of dirt and dust in your home. Regular cleaning will minimize the amount of dust build up that worsens allergic symptoms. Additionally, always ensure that your furniture is wiped down or vacuumed to remove shedded hair. 

Bath your pet

Controlling allergies from pets means controlling the allergen on the pet. Regular bathing of your pet will minimize the number of allergens that circulate in your home.

Additional measures you can put into place to lessen allergies from pets

  • Not touching your pet and then touching your face.  Remember that pet allergies come from your pet, are on any surface they touch and in the air. When touching your pet, you are exposing yourself to the allergen and you don’t want to introduce it to your face on purpose. After touching your pet, wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Moreover, you want to avoid cuddles and hugs close to your nose and mouth. This can be tricky when snuggling with your four-legged friend but avoiding breathing in the allergen will reduce the severity of the symptoms.

Although the above will aid in controlling pet allergies, every pet parent is different. For some it is as easy as washing hands regularly, for others, more intense measures need to take place. The good news is that pet allergies can be controlled and trial and error will determine what works for you.

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