Actions you can take to reduce your pet allergies

June 27, 2020

Sneezing, wheezing, red eyes and itching: If you’ve experienced allergies, you’ll recognize the symptoms. Here’s what you can do about them.

Root causes
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not cat fur that’s making you sneeze. The allergens are actually found in an animal’s secretions: saliva, mucous, tears and dandruff. This misconception may be explained by the fact that cats wash by licking themselves all over—it’s the saliva, not the fur, that’s the problem!

Allergens act like intruders. In those prone to allergic reactions, allergens provoke an immune reaction which seeks to defend against a perceived threat. A genetic predisposition will cause some people to react this way.

Although some believe that frequent exposure may help reduce allergic reactions to animals, this appears not to be the case. Repeated exposure may, in fact, lead to exhaustion and be a source of irritability.

What to do

When visiting a friend who has a dog:
Numerous effective medications for pet allergies are available at your local pharmacy. Follow the product’s instructions and take your medication before exposure to an animal. Allow roughly 20 minutes for the medication to take effect. Be careful to check if the medication is likely to cause drowsiness (which is, of course, dangerous if you will be driving).

Once there, limit your exposure to the animal and to their favourite locations. If you can’t resist the urge to pet them, take care to avoid touching your eyes and nose and wash your hands immediately after handling the pet.

Once home, change clothes and wash those you wore during the visit.

When your visitor is allergic to your pet:
Several precautions will help limit your guest’s allergic reactions. The most effective of these is to thoroughly clean your house. Wash your dining table with a cleaning product, air out all rooms and vacuum throughout, including all carpets, floors, sofas and chairs. Brush down all fabric furniture and try to keep your animal away, as much as possible. If your guest is staying overnight or for several days, keep your pet out of your guest room, starting several days before their arrival.

Hope is on the horizon!
The University of Zurich in Switzerland recently announced that a vaccine administered to cats helps reduce allergic reactions among most people. Maybe one day, allergies to animals will be a thing of the past!


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