The Truth About Managing Pet Allergies
If someone in your home has pet allergies, you may wash the pet twice a week, steam clean your carpet or treat your pet with sprays or drops to reduce shedding – but is there any proof that taking these actions help?
Kusum Sharma, MD, Director of Allergy & Asthma Clinics at AKANE Institute of Allergy, Asthma & Sleep Medicine offers the following research and evidence-based environmental changes that can reduce the pet allergen levels in your home and may help stop allergy symptoms:
1. Replace carpeting with hard surfaces. Did you know carpeted floors accumulate 100 times more cat allergens than hard floors? Switch to polished surfaces like hardwood floors, stone or tile.
2.Reduce fabric upholstered furniture. Research shows that upholstered furniture and curtains contain significant amounts of cat dander and even more than what is found on the floor.
3.Wash bedding and curtains. To remove dog/cat dander from bedding and curtains, use one of these three techniques: wash in water at least 140°F with one rinse; wash at any temperature with two rinses; or wash in a steam washing machine.
4.Use tightly woven bed coverings. Protective coverings for mattresses, box springs and pillows are often recommended,and studies show that tightly woven fabric with openings lessthan 4 microns wide can reduce allergens.
5.Make multiple changes for best results. Studies show that making multiple indoor environment changes is required to significantly reduce pet allergens.
Pet owners with allergies or asthma symptoms should see an allergist who will evaluate if they are truly allergic to pets and discuss treatment options, including reducing allergen exposure, medications most effective for their particular symptoms and allergy shots (immunotherapy). The truth is, you can live with your pets without suffering allergy symptoms.
There’s little evidence these control tips work when it comes to pet allergies:
- Bathing pets with water and special shampoo
- Steam cleaning carpet and upholstery
- Giving pet oral agents or topical sprays to reduce shedding
- Using a HEPA vacuum
To learn more about allergies and asthma, take a free relief self-test at www.AllergyAndAsthmaRelief.org.