"Fess up, how many of you think that pet fur is the main cause of allergies among owners? Actually, the real culprit is the animal’s dander, which is a combination of dead skin cells and hair (or feathers). Allergies can also be triggered and aggravated by proteins secreted by your pet’s oil glands. These proteins, which are present in saliva, adhere to fur when animals groom themselves. The dander particles and proteins that are stuck to your furkid’s fur are usually dispersed around your home when they shed. These microscopic allergens cling easily
to furniture, bedding and other household items and are invisible to the eye.
Breathing in these particles can result in respiratory problems and lead to lung malfunction. Chronic exposure can also give rise to asthma attacks, atopic dermatitis (skin rash), conjunctivitis (inflammation of the linings of the eyelids), as well as rhinitis and sinusitis. While experts would recommend that people suffering from severe
allergies or respiratory problems avoid keeping pets, especially cats, those with mild symptoms can manage by keeping their environment fur and allergen free.
Here are several steps you can take to stop your runny nose.
Pick the right furniture
Be it modern, country or rustic, when you decide on the décor of your place, choose furniture pieces that are easy to maintain and less likely to retain allergens. Similarly, tiles or laminate flooring would be a wiser option than carpet and rugs, as it will make cleaning a breeze.
Well, this might seem like an obvious solution. But while most of us may contend with daily sweeping and dusting of surfaces, the allergic pet owner needs to be a little more fastidious when it comes to cleaning up. Wipe all surfaces thoroughly with a damp cloth or mop. Make an effort to wash or vacuum furniture, fabrics, or materials that Fido or Kitty comes in contact with once a week. This includes comforters, linens, pet beds, cushions and pillows.
While sweeping with a broom may be cost-effective, it tends to disturb rather than remove the allergens. Hence, whether you suffer from allergies or not, a vacuum cleaner is an essential tool in keeping your home dust-free. Choosing the right vacuum cleaner is equally important as some may not suck out all the allergens from the lower levels of the rug and may stir up a bit of dander as you clean. Select a pet-friendly one that is equipped with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system, good suction and is capable of removing fine hairs.
Keep your furkids clean
Studies have shown that bathing pets once a week can help reduce allergens on fur by as much as 84 percent. If you are too busy to wash Fido or Fluffy, daily wipe downs with wet tissues are a good alternative. Replace the litter in the kitty pan and scrub it weekly. While small animals like hamsters and rabbits tend to cause lesser problems, dander produced by them can still trigger allergies and asthma. Therefore, cages should be cleaned on a regular basis.
Restrict your furkids’ access to certain areas of the house so as to keep them off carpets, upholstered furniture and beds. This will help reduce the accumulation of dander on surfaces that are difficult to clean. Try allocating a room in your house as an allergen-free place so you get to enjoy some respite.