Sound Health Services

I Want a Pet for Christmas, but Not Allergies

pet allergiesWe’ve all seen the adorable movie scenes: It’s Christmas morning and there’s a package under the tree with a big red bow on top. The kids hear a noise inside of it, pull the lid off and aweee….out pops a puppy! It looks like a really fun idea, but the movies don’t show the itchy eyes, sneezing and runny nose the puppy could cause if anyone in the family has pet allergies.

For families who long for a furry friend, saying no to a pet just because of allergies is not an option. So if you plan to bring home a cat or dog this holiday season, there are ways to make living with an animal a little more comfortable.

Get Tested for Pet Allergies First

According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA), a truly hypo-allergenic pet doesn’t exist. An allergic reaction is caused by proteins in pet dander (old skin cells) and saliva, both of which will still be present in all cats and in dog breeds with little to no hair. There are some dog breeds known to shed less dander, but if someone in your family is sensitive to pets, have them tested before you bring one home. Allergy testing can determine the severity of the allergy so you’ll know whether any pet dander at all can be tolerated in your home. The last thing you want to do is introduce a pet to your family and then have to take it away when it causes a severe reaction.

Pull Up Carpet

Since allergens are “sticky,” they will get trapped in the carpet where your dog or cat would lay, even with frequent vacuuming. What’s worse, vacuuming can stir up pet dander into the air and aggravate your symptoms. Switch to flooring that you can sweep and mop, and plan on getting your pet a bed with a removable cover that you can wash regularly.

Prepare Your HVAC System for a Pet

Use a HEPA air filter or an air cleaner with an electrostatic filter in your HVAC system. These can remove tiny particles including pet dander from the air.

Talk to Your Doctor About Pet Allergy Treatment

Tell your doctor your plan for bringing home a pet. He or she may want you to first try nasal spray, an antihistamine or bronchodilator to see if any of those allow for comfortably living with an animal. If your doctor feels you or your family member could benefit from allergy shots, he or she will discuss a pet allergy treatment plan that will work best. Allergy shots involve getting injections of allergens in an increasing dose over time, with the goal to become progressively less sensitive to the allergen. Allergy shots often allow people to be able to tolerate living with pets.

Make an Appointment with an Allergist at Sound Health

The holidays are right around the corner. Schedule a consultation with one of our ENT Specialists to discuss your concerns about bringing home a pet.

Call (314) 332-1377 Today!