Understanding Pet Allergies
The Basic Facts on Pet Allergens:
Many people are allergic to animals and may think that the allergy is caused by the pet hair itself. Pet allergen isn’t actually the hair, but is instead a protein present in the animal dander. The dander is made up of flaky skin cells and dried saliva, and it causes allergic reactions ranging from inflammation in the nose and eyes to asthma attacks.
Q. Are there hypo-allergenic pets?
A. All pets produce dander, and since dander causes allergy symptoms, no pets are actually hypo-allergenic. Some may produce less dander, and allergy sufferers can be more sensitive to some breeds over others.
Q. What can I do if I'm allergic to my pet?
A. Your pet should be strictly kept out of the bedroom of the allergy sufferer. Wash hands or clothes after coming into contact with the pet. Also, bathe or cleanse your pet regularly with products specially formulated to reduce pet dander and keep grooming to a minimum.
Q. Where are pet allergens found?
A. The highest levels of pet allergens are found in people’s homes who have pets, but since dander is particularly sticky, it can also travel into schools, offices and other areas as it sticks to clothes and other belongings.
Q. How should I remove pet dander from my home?
A. Removing pet dander requires thorough cleaning and can take as long as 20 weeks to stop causing symptoms. Physicians highly recommend that you:
- encase all bedding
- wash linens and blankets
- treat carpets and upholstery
- vacuum carpets (ideally with HEPA filtration)
- wipe down walls and surfaces
- filter air with vent filters
- HEPA air cleaners
A. An encasing blocks pet dander within the bed and protects you from inhaling these allergen particles.
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