How to Fight Pet Allergies

Pet Allergies

 

I know a lot of people think spring is the season synonymous with allergies, but for a lot of people allergies are just as bad in the autumn when the leaves start to fall. Some lucky few, like yours truly, have allergies all year long because we’re allergic to everything.  Did you know that pets can have allergies too?  I didn’t know that until my cat started sneezing and breaking out into a funky little rash when she was a kitten.  Luckily she outgrew them, unlike me who actually grew into my allergies as a teenager.  I had always had a little bit of hay fever, but of a sudden I was allergic to all nuts, seeds, and worst of all…cats.  The problem was, I’m a huge cat lover.

Growing up, for as long as I can remember I’ve had both cats and dogs.   I love them both (and lizards too!), but my cat Cloudy, was my little snuggle puff.  And we were bonded from the age of 7 until I married my husband at 23.   By then, I was a diehard cat lover.  My husband eventually ended up getting us a new cat, Miss Neka Love.  But see, my system was used to Cloudy’s dander, but not Neka’s.   And my allergies started to act up some, but not too badly.  A few years later a good friend of ours had kittens and we fell in love with one special kitty named Gracie.  She’s an adorable calico tabby mix that was the runt of the litter and we got to help bottle feed her. The love was instant.  To this day she still sleeps against my belly under the covers and is my sweet little baby girl.  However, I’m am more allergic to my baby Gracie more than any other cat before.  Even the nuzzle of her nose will break me out into a little hive and to indulge pets is almost impossible. It’s hard to be allergic to cats and have two of them, but we make it work and every minute with my fur babies is totally worth it. I have learned a few tips that help make my days more manageable.   We’re planning on getting a dog in a few years when my toddler son gets a little older, and well chances are I’m going to be allergic to him too, so I’m prepared to keep up the allergy battle for as long as I need to.

  • House cleaning – It is imperative to have a HEPA vacuum and air filter. This drastically cuts down on the fur and dander that accumulates in the home.  I’ve found that vacuuming and dusting at least once or twice a week helps a lot too. Sometimes it’s not just pet dander that is the problem.  Pets, humans, and technology combined can create a lot of dust.  If you suffer from allergies, keeping dust a minimum is always the best idea.
  • Pet Cleaning – Brushing my cats outside on the porch helps so much when it comes to eliminating dander in the house. Also, for dogs, the more baths the better!
  • Treatment – I take indoor/outdoor allergy medicine all the time. There are also allergy shots and nasal sprays that help a lot when it comes to allergies.

I have found that a mix of all of these work best for us.  I make sure to keep dander and dust at a minimum when I can, I brush the cats outside, and when needed I use my inhaler and take antihistamines.  Just because you have allergies you don’t have to go without pets.  I know in the future I will probably make and “allergy free” area in the house and not let my pets in the bedroom.  The rest of the house will be free for snuggles and pets, but it will be good to have a room just to myself with no sneezing.  Whatever it is you can do to make your life work with your pets, it’s truly worth it.  I would never trade the love of my cats for less sneezes or watery eyes.

 

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