Pet allergies are a common problem for many Americans, with more than 30% of the population being allergic to dogs and/or cats. Pet allergies are caused by reactions to proteins in the animal’s skin, hair, blood, urine, or saliva, and these substances can become airborne and inhaled without the allergy sufferer even realizing it.
Allergies to pets can cause symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, wheezing, itching, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. To avoid frequent allergy attacks, pet allergy sufferers need to learn how to manage their allergies.
Pets are part of the family, so the key is to keep your exposure to allergens under control. Let’s talk about an allergy doctor’s advice in managing pet allergies, and where you can go in Chicagoland and northeast Illinois to see a world-class allergist who can diagnose and treat everyone in your family who may have allergies.
How Can I Help Prevent Pet Allergy Symptoms?
The following are simple and straightforward ways in which you can keep your pet allergies under control as much as possible:
Keep Your Pet Clean and Groomed
Regular baths, brushing, and trimming of pet dogs and cats can help with reducing allergens being released into the air. It is also a good idea to have them sleep in another room so you do not breathe in the allergens while you sleep.
Clean Your Home Regularly
Even if you do not have pets but you do have allergies, regular cleaning of your home can help reduce allergens in your daily environment. Vacuum the floors regularly with a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner, and mop any tile, wood, or linoleum floors frequently with hot water. This will help to remove any pet dander that may be on the floors.
In homes with carpeted floors, regular professional cleaning can also make a big difference. Vacuum regularly. Also be sure to clean the drapes, bedding, and other fabrics around your home to keep them fresh and clean.
Keep in mind that you may want to avoid using cleaners that may also cause allergies or irritation. Avoid exposure to cleansers and soaps that contain parabens (preservatives), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) detergent, and anything with a “fragrance” – which is made of irritating alcohol, aldehyde, and ester.
Use an Air Purifier
An air purifier can help to filter out allergens in the air, making it easier for you to breathe without coughing and sneezing. Some air purifiers use HEPA filters, which are very effective at trapping tiny particles – and this is what you want for your home and also your car.
Take Allergy Medication
If avoidance isn’t possible or practical, there are a number of medications that can help relieve symptoms of pet allergies, including antihistamines and corticosteroids. These should be taken before exposure to the allergen, and they may need to be taken on a daily basis for continuous relief.
For some people with severe pet allergies, immunotherapy – also known as allergy shots – may be an effective treatment option. Allergy shots contain small amounts of the allergen (in this case, an animal protein) and are given over time by your allergy doctor in gradually increasing doses.
The goal of immunotherapy is to build up a tolerance to the substance that is causing your allergies. This way, the symptoms are less severe when you are exposed to the allergen. However, this treatment requires commitment and takes several months or even years before it becomes fully effective.
Talk to your allergy doctor about what would work best in your case, because everyone is different.
Pet Allergy Treatment in Downers Grove and Chicagoland, IL
If you are suffering from pet allergies, the board-certified allergy doctors here at Oak Brook Allergists can help you manage your pet allergies so you and your pet can live together happily. We create individualized treatment programs and collaborate closely with our patients to help them have the best possible allergy care.
To schedule an appointment with one of our allergy doctors, call us today at (630) 574-0460 or fill out our convenient online request form now. We look forward to helping you tamp down your allergies!