What is a good pet for a child with allergies
While it is commonly thought that it is the hair from pets that causes the allergic cascade leading to asthma symptoms and short-haired animals are less allergic for asthmatics, both are myths. In fact, it is dander or the proteins in skin flakes, urine, feces, saliva and hair that trigger your asthma symptoms.
These proteins are extremely little particles that are carried through the air and can come to land on a body part that comes into contact with your nose or mouth (like your finger) or the particles can be directly inhaled into the lung. You may notice symptoms immediately or may not develop them for 8 to 12 hours.
Any Pet With Fur Carries Pet Dander Around the Home
Pets every shed a certain quantity of allergen-producing dander per week.
In this sense, there are no hypoallergenic pets but some produce less allergen than others and may be a better choice if you really desire a pet.
Any pet with fur carries pet dander around your home and on you if they hop in your lap. Interestingly, it is a myth that it's the fur of animals that leads to the problems asthmatics experience.
Just the same, long-haired animals may be more likely to collect and carry dander compared to animals with shorter hair.
According to the American Lung Association, while dogs are more common in homes compared to cats (32% versus 27%), cat allergies are reported twice as often than dog allergies.
How to Decrease Exposure
Removing your pet from the home and avoiding contact with the pet is the most effective way to decrease exposure to animal dander.
A "trial removal" is not recommended as it may take as numerous as 20 weeks following removal for allergen levels to drop to levels similar to those of homes without pets.
If you do remove the pet from the home, make certain you thoroughly clean every bedding products, floors, carpets and other surfaces where dander may collect.
If pet removal is going to produce depression, crying and gnashing of teeth for you or your kid, making the pet an "outside only" animal is a partial solution, but will not fully decrease your exposure to animal dander. If that is also too restrictive, consider the following suggestions:
- Keep the pet out of bedrooms and other places where you or your kid spends a lot of time.
You spend as much as a third of your life in the bedroom and this will decrease exposure significantly.
- Unfortunately, frequent vacuuming does not decrease dander exposure, but using a HEPA vacuum filter or double bag may decrease exposure if you must vacuum. If you are the impacted individual, wear a dust mask while vacuuming.
- Consider bathing the animal weekly to reduce allergen exposure, but realize this may increase dander exposure if the allergic person is doing the washing.
- Remove wall to wall carpet if possible. Consider hardwood, tile or linoleum flooring as these products do not retain allergens love carpeting.
If removing carpet is not an option, steam clean frequently. Remove the animal's favorite furniture as this is a haven for dander.
- Do not own the allergic person clean the animal's cage, living space, or litter box.
- Change clothes after prolonged playing or exposure to your pet.
- Keep pets away from fabric-covered furniture, carpets, and stuffed toys as much as possible.
- HEPA clean air filters may reduce your allergen exposure. You may also desire to consider a HEPA filter specifically for the bedroom.
- Talk to your doctor about allergy shots or immunotherapy.
The best treatment is to avoid exposure altogether.
This, however, is not always optimal or possible.
If your best friend has an animal you are allergic to, it just may not be possible to avoid exposure. This can be especially concerning for kids who cannot participate in certain activities resulting in social stigma or unhappiness because they are diverse. You may desire to talk with your doctor about medicines you might be capable to take beforehand for planned exposures.
Symptoms of a Pet Allergy
You are likely to experience these symptoms if animal dander gets to your lungs. However, you need to be aware of other symptoms too.
For example, you might only experience allergic-type symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose. Likewise, you might experience a scratchy throat or watery, itchy eyes.
Finally, if you get scratched you might experience redness on the impacted area or symptoms on an area you self-inoculate (if you touch the area that was scratched or licked and rub it with a hand and then touch your hand to your nose or eyes).
If you are not terribly sensitive or you are not exposed to large amounts of dander, your reaction could happen days later making it more hard to link the pet exposure to symptoms.
What Types of Pets to Get
If you already know you own allergy symptoms or desire to make certain you or your kid will not develop symptoms from a specific pet, consider spending time with someone that has the pet you wish to get before purchasing.
Alternatively, consider animals that typically do not cause or worsen allergies like:
- Aquarium fish
- Hermit crabs
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