Can You Have Asthma and Pets Too?
Living with pets and asthma can be a tricky proposition, but it is possible for an asthmatic individual to peacefully co-exist with their four-legged best friend if they take proper precautions. The key to doing so is being aware of exactly what it is about your pet that triggers your asthma so that you can address it properly.
The common mistake most people make when it comes to pet allergies is assuming hair is the culprit. In fact, your pet’s hair has nothing to do with it whatsoever. The actual problem is animal dander. Dander, like dandruff in humans, is tiny flakes of skin that are shed every time your pet grooms. Because pets groom themselves with their mouths, that dander also contains saliva and it is protein in the saliva that actually triggers allergy attacks, including asthma.
Unfortunately, pet dander is by far the most common trigger for allergic-reactive asthma. When most people are diagnosed with asthma, the first thing their doctor asks is whether they have a pet. The assumption is that the only way to prevent asthma attacks is by removing the pet from the home, which can be heartbreaking for most animal lovers.
But getting rid of your pet should really only be considered as a last resort. Living with pets and asthma is entirely possible as long as you follow some simple steps. The first is to make sure you clearly identify the specific triggers of your asthma. It would be unfortunate to pin the blame on your dog if he isn’t really causing your symptoms at all. A prick test can help your doctor to pinpoint your exact triggers.
Once you’ve determined that your pet is the issue, then you can take steps to remedy the problem by reducing the amount of dander present in your home. Regularly vacuuming with a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter can help to keep dust and dander to a minimum. So can regularly brushing and bathing your pet, in order to reduce dander and wash away any excess saliva on the hair or skin.
Because dust mites love to eat pet dander, you’ll also want to limit your pet’s access to your bedroom, where mites are most prevalent. You can use allergy covers on your mattress and pillows to block out dust mites and can also reduce dander issues by keeping pet beds clean.
Living with pets and asthma can also be made easier with the use of various products that are designed to neutralize dander. There are shampoos, sprays and liquid doses of medication that can be used on dogs and cats to neutralize the protein found in their saliva that causes an allergic reaction. These products are not harmful to the animal and can be a major help to individuals with allergies. You can ask your vet to recommend such a product if allergies are an issue for you.
A couple of products we highly recommend and use in our own home are Allerpet Solution that you can apply directly to your dog, cat or other furry animals that renders the dander pretty much harmless and the Allersearch ADMS antiallergen spray.
Don’t immediately assume that because you are allergic you can’t have pets. There is no reason why you can’t continue to enjoy the love and affection of your family pet even if you suffer from asthma. You’ll simply need to take extra precautions to help make living more comfortable for everyone.
Wishing you the best of health
The Allergy Store
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