• What You Should Know About Pet Dander Allergies

    Of course we love our furry and feathered friends. Their dander? Not so much. Read on for the scoop on pet dander, and the best ways to keep it at bay.

    More than 60% of U.S. households have pets, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Living in those same pet-owning households? Millions of family members who are allergic to them. Pet allergies can be irritating, but luckily, there are ways to mitigate your symptoms by adding some simple tasks to your next cleaning to-do list.

    • What is pet dander?

      Despite popular belief, it’s not pet fur or hair that people are allergic to, but rather the dander, or proteins found in animals’ shed skin.1 Let’s be clear: Their fur isn’t helping matters. When pets lick themselves, they coat their fur in saliva, which also contains potentially triggering proteins. Their urine does, too. When these allergens dry on pet fur, in litter boxes, on household surfaces, etc, it can flake off into the air. Animal fur doesn’t just carry allergens from the pets themselves—their coats tend to collect outdoor airborne irritants, such as dust and pollen.

      Pet dander allergens in the air

      Allergens are teeny-tiny, light and able to linger in the air for a very long time. They’re jagged, too, so they cling to fabrics, such as upholstered furniture, bedding and clothes, where they secretly piggyback into public spaces and even others’ homes. That’s why allergens can be present even when there’s no pet in sight.

      Pet dander allergy symptoms

      Some of the most common symptoms of pet allergies are sneezing, runny noses, itchy or watery eyes and nasal congestion. More sensitive individuals might have difficulty breathing or chest pain.

      How to reduce pet dander

      Here are some simple steps you can take to reduce dog and cat dander in your home:

    1. Create a safe room.Make the bedroom of anyone who has asthma or pet dander allergies off-limits to pets. Also try to keep pets off furniture, especially if it’s upholstered, and away from carpets.
    2. Wash well.Pet dander allergy sufferers should scrub their hands after playing with pets. Wash soft things your pet regularly comes into contact with, too, such as favorite toys, beds and pillows.
    3. Groom regularly.Bathe and brush pets often. Weekly, if possible. If the bather/brusher is also the pet dander allergy sufferer, he or she should wear a mask while doing so.
    4. Keep your home clean. Deep-clean your home often. Vacuum regularly, and dust with a damp microfiber cloth to best snag those sticky pet dander particles.
    5. Skip the shag.If possible, it’s best to trade wall-to-wall carpeting for a low-pile option or, even better, hard-surface floors.
    6. See a doctor. An allergist or immunologist can help troubleshoot the best ways to manage pet dander allergy symptoms.

    1. Create a safe room.Make the bedroom of anyone who has asthma or pet dander allergies off-limits to pets. Also try to keep pets off furniture, especially if it’s upholstered, and away from carpets.
    2. Wash well.Pet dander allergy sufferers should scrub their hands after playing with pets. Wash soft things your pet regularly comes into contact with, too, such as favorite toys, beds and pillows.
    3. Groom regularly.Bathe and brush pets often. Weekly, if possible. If the bather/brusher is also the pet dander allergy sufferer, he or she should wear a mask while doing so.
    4. Keep your home clean. Deep-clean your home often. Vacuum regularly, and dust with a damp microfiber cloth to best snag those sticky pet dander particles.
    5. Skip the shag.If possible, it’s best to trade wall-to-wall carpeting for a low-pile option or, even better, hard-surface floors.
    6. See a doctor. An allergist or immunologist can help troubleshoot the best ways to manage pet dander allergy symptoms.

    1. Create a safe room.Make the bedroom of anyone who has asthma or pet dander allergies off-limits to pets. Also try to keep pets off furniture, especially if it’s upholstered, and away from carpets.
    2. Wash well.Pet dander allergy sufferers should scrub their hands after playing with pets. Wash soft things your pet regularly comes into contact with, too, such as favorite toys, beds and pillows.
    3. Groom regularly.Bathe and brush pets often. Weekly, if possible. If the bather/brusher is also the pet dander allergy sufferer, he or she should wear a mask while doing so.
    4. Keep your home clean. Deep-clean your home often. Vacuum regularly, and dust with a damp microfiber cloth to best snag those sticky pet dander particles.
    5. Skip the shag.If possible, it’s best to trade wall-to-wall carpeting for a low-pile option or, even better, hard-surface floors.
    6. See a doctor. An allergist or immunologist can help troubleshoot the best ways to manage pet dander allergy symptoms.

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