Get rid of the allergy and keep your pet instead - how to gain control over your pet dander allergy

 

It’s a common belief that pet allergies come from exposure to animal hair. But pet dander is much more than animal hair. In order to find relief from your allergy symptoms, it is good to be aware of what exactly pet dander is, where you can find it, and how you can reduce allergen levels in your home.

Pets secrete multiple allergens into the environment. This is largely due to the small dead skin flakes that your animal looses during the day and the dirt that gets stuck on its sticky surface. Pet dander is also a protein that is found on the fur and skin, in the urine and saliva of your animal.

Allergy-free dogs and other myths 

Many people think that they might be allergic to pet fur, although hair itself doesn’t cause the symptoms. Hair is like a vehicle to the allergens that can transport them around. Animals with lots of fur are more likely to carry other allergens such as skin flakes and dust.

 

Since pet dander particles are so small, most of them are only present in the air and never reach surface and can be easily inhaled

 

Every dog produces allergens, and there is no guarantee that choosing a special breed alone will eliminate your symptoms. While there are many breeds that are considered hypoallergenic, such as a Maltese, Scottish Terrier or Poodle, no dog completely lacks allergens. They are called allergy-free because they don’t shed their coat, resulting in less allergen being spread around the house. 

It is also a general disbelief that small pets can’t cause allergic attack but this is simply not true: allergic symptoms don’t stem only from cats and dogs. Even birds can be the cause of your allergies!

 

Everything is not a pet allergy that seems to be

An allergic reaction happens when your body’s natural defense tries to fight off a substance it thinks is harmful to it. People who experience allergic reactions tend to have a sensitive immune system that mistakes harmless things, like cat dander, for dangerous invaders, such as bacteria and viruses. The symptoms of the allergy are the side effects of your body's fight against the allergens. These symptoms include runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing, and sometimes difficulty breathing.

Very often our allergic symptoms can be due to other triggers that can be found in the air. Air pollution not only causes allergic reactions, but it can also affect our body on a deeper level. The air in your home is often much more polluted than the air outside. And it’s merely about the carbon-monoxide that gets trapped in your house: but also a lot of domestic products release pollutants. 

Photo: Mitchell Orr

Dust and pollen in a pet’s coat can also cause allergy symptoms. In those cases, the allergy is to dust or pollen, not to the animal. In this case, you should consider that you have an indirect allergic reaction and there’s something that your pet carries around, such as mold spores that can cause asthmatic reactions, very similar to those of the allergy. Therefore, the real cause needs a doctor’s confirmation.

How to find out whether you are allergic

To find out the right solution to your allergic reactions, first you’ll need to figure out the nature of your symptoms. The most common way to diagnose allergies is called a skin-prick test from which a small extract of allergens is placed on your skin. These samples include proteins shed by animals and other allergy-triggering substances, such as pollen or dust. Your allergist will look for swelling and redness and other signs of an allergic reaction on the skin. Results typically become evident within 20 minutes.

If your allergy test proved to be positive, your doctor will probably advise you to remove your house pet. But don’t just break your commitment: there are plenty ways of coping with your allergies and continue to live with your pets - even if they trigger symptoms in you. 



"There's no reason to consider removing a pet unless you can demonstrate that there is a sensitization to that type of animal”


Gregory Diette, M.D., Asthma Specialist
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

 

It does not help immediately to get rid of your dog or cat, because the remaining allergens will not lose their strength for a long time. Pet allergens stay in the home and can cause symptoms months after the animal is gone. 

 


Try these steps first to combat your pet allergy

Some simple changes to your home environment and an improved cleaning routine can have a real impact on your allergies and could reduce the symptoms drastically. As passionate pet lovers and responsible owners ourselves, we recommend you not to re-home your cat just yet: try these solutions instead and avoid the build-up of pet dander in your house.
  • Giving your pet a bath at least once a week can reduce airborne allergens. 

  • Consider trying immunotherapy (also called allergy shots): it is one of the most effective treatments for allergies. Over time, the dosage of the allergen will be given in increasing doses to build up the person's tolerance. 

  • Wash your hands after petting your furry ones -  This might sound like a no brainer, but even if your cat feels very clean, don’t forget to clean your hands after petting them. Same thing about the tiny critters: pets such as hamsters and guinea pigs can trigger allergy as well as the larger pets.

  • Use an air purifier - air purifiers are smart devices that can help you to analyse and track the air quality in your home. They trap allergens like pollen, pet dander, dust mites and much more. Air purifiers can only catch airborne particles, so make sure to keep floors clean.

  • Air conditioning might seem like a breath of fresh air, but the truth is that it can enhance allergies because it circulates the allergen particles found in the air. AC filters are a great place for growing bacteria and accumulating dust, therefore it is crucial to replace your ac filters regularly and maintain clean air ducts in your home.

  • Clean your home more often and declutter places where dust and animal fur can nest. Consider getting rid of dust-trapping objects and surfaces in your home and try to substitute them with easy to clean surfaces. 

  • Create pet-free zones in your home. Restrict them to the ground floor and keep them out of the bedrooms. This will not prevent the air in the room to be completely dander free, so make sure to include air filtration in the area. 

  • Invest into a powerful vacuum cleaner to lower the levels of pet allergens. Always wear a dust mask while hoovering.

 

 

High-efficiency air purification as a remedy to allergy sufferers

Air purifiers trap allergens like pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. Owning an air purifier has many good sides: while getting rid of a good amount of allergens, it also fights many other pollutants and does a great job against fighting asthma. There are no other alternatives than air purifiers when it comes to cleaning indoor air effectively.
 


"Of all the pollen, and mold, and animal dander, dust mites that we have studied, the cat dander is absolutely the smallest dander. What that means is that dander allergen remains airborne for at least 30 minutes after you disturb it in the room, allowing the person who suffers from allergies to have a constant exposure to that allergen.”


Allergist Dana Wallace, M.D., acaai.org

 

BRID air purifier is a special high-performance air purification system: many users reported significant improvement from the allergy symptoms or fully treated their allergies with the continuous use of the device. 

The best practice to deep clean your air is to leave BRID on uninterrupted for a few days until the allergen levels drop. It is highly advised to keep BRID on at night to free your airways and to get a good night’s rest. To maintain good air in your rooms and to stay free of symptoms, it is recommended to let your air purifier run every day for at least 4-5 hours.  

People with allergies must take extreme care of cleaning the filters of their air devices regularly. BRID air purifiers use a special patented ceramic filter that never needs to be replaced and they are easily cleaned under running tap water. To see how easy it is to maintain your BRID, have a look at this video below: 

 

It is important to consult with your allergist and make sure that they understand your commitment to your furry companion, so they can help you look for the solution that suits you and your treasured animal the best. 


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