By Eliza Galley, Work Experience
As hay fever starts to go out of season, and back to school time is looming, many people forget about allergies that arise all year round. These are allergies such as dust, mould and pet allergies. An estimated 10%-15% of the entire population are allergic to their pets. Many people think that pet allergy symptoms are caused by the animal hair only- however it is also because of proteins found in the saliva and urine of the pet. Most domestic animals, including miniature pigs, hairless mice, chinchillas, dogs and cats will have potential to trigger allergic reactions.
Misconceptions About Pet Allergies
A common misconception is that certain breeds of animals (such as domestic cats or dogs) are “hypoallergenic,” but a non-allergic dog or cat does not exist. Again, this is because allergenic cat dander is made up of proteins in saliva of the cat (when a cat licks itself, the saliva dries and becomes airborne flakes) so a hairless cat is not hypoallergenic – but may be less problematic than a big hairy cat.
With this in mind, many pet owners don’t know how to deal with the issue at hand. Obviously there is the option to give the animal away, but, this can be extremely sad for owners, especially children. So, to help combat the sniffles and sneezing when you’re around your pet try these tips:
Combatting Pet Allergies
-Have an allergy free zone in at least one room of the house- a common place for this is the bedroom. Don’t let your pet into this zone- especially not on the bed or any other furniture.
-If possible, don’t let your pets on the furniture, as their dander and possibly saliva can get onto it and embed its self within the layers. Allergens can remain on furniture for four to six weeks.
-Make sure to vacuum regularly, to get rid of any hair from the floor as soon as possible.
-Aim to get a house without a wall to wall carpet, as, again, the allergy inducing factors of the pet can get into all the layers. If a carpet needs to be put down, aim to get a rug that can be regularly washed in hot water.
-Make sure to wash your pets weekly with a dander reducing shampoo. If your pet really doesn’t like being washed, an easier option is to wipe them down with a hypoallergenic wet wipe.
-Quite an obvious one that many people forget is to always wash your hands after stroking an animal. Also, try your best to avoid hugging or kissing your pet to stop any allergens getting on your clothes or skin.
-Use HayMax around the rim of the nose to prevent pet allergens from entering the body.
Pet Allergies at School
This tips are great for when you have allergies at home, however there is still the problem of pet allergies getting to you in the workplace or at school. To prevent this, even if you don’t have a pet allergy, make sure you and your child have no animal hair on your clothes, as even this can trigger people’s symptoms. Also, many schools now have classroom pets, which, are fun to have around but will cause allergic reactions to happen. If this is the case for your child, it may be a good idea to talk to the school about an allergy free zone where the pet cannot go. HayMax could be brought into school and reapplied throughout the day. This will stop the sneezing and sniffles getting in the way of everyday school life.