Pets and Asthma

Pet lovers of the world are often the biggest sufferers for diseases and don’t get treatment. It is an unfortunate fact that pets make asthma symptoms worse. It’s even more sad that cat and dog ‘dander’ is one of the biggest causes for reactionary symptoms in asthmatics. But here is the news, no matter how unhappy to read, to separate urban legend from fact.

A common misconception is that only “fur” or “feathers” is what cause a reaction in those susceptible to asthma. In fact, pet hair is sometimes tolerable for people with asthma. Triggers in your pet may include:

-Dander (skin)
-Saliva
-Urine/Feces
-Other secretions

And it’s not just cats or dogs that are prime candidates for the asthmatic. Other animals that pose a risk are:

-Gerbils
-Hamsters
-Birds
-Mice/Rats
-Rabbits
-Guinea pigs
-Horses

Surprisingly, even an animal you don’t keep in the house, like horses can produce devastating attacks. So if you give your son or daughter riding lessons and notice they get sick or particularly ‘tight’ afterwards, that’s a pretty clear indicator that you’ve got a problem. To reduce your risk of having an asthma attack around animals, there are steps you can take.

Common sense, again, trumps all else. Bottom line is if your doctor determines an animal in your home as a potential trigger to your symptoms, it is of paramount importance to remove the animal, or at least quarantine them from your home. That’s it; the single best way to assure control over your asthma symptoms due to pet residue.

Deciding to keep the pet despite your allergies will surely increase the severity of your symptoms over time. All animals with fur also release dander; there’s no such thing as an allergy-free cat or dog. Your best bet is to reduce the exposure to pet allergens to aid your asthma:

-For cats or dogs: have another household member wash it twice a week.

-Remove carpet in the home; dander is more likely to be trapped, even from regular vacuuming within carpet fibers. Of particular interest for the allergy sufferer is no carpet in the bedroom.

-Shield your mattress and pillows in ‘allergen-proof’ covers.

-Clean all areas the pet travels often using a vacuum with HEPA (high-efficiency particular air) filter.

-Use a HEPA air purifier in the bedroom.

-Don’t allow your pet in the bedroom. Also, keep it off upholstered furniture, carpet, or other soft surfaces where allergens accumulate.

Finally, always think of yourself first. Even though that doggy-in-the-window looks irresistible, its waggly-tail and other emissions can elicit harmful emissions that can lead to a very uncomfortable existence for the asthma sufferer. That goes the same for rabbits and gerbils as well! You don’t want to get stuck with a character who has got your heartstrings, but also is tied to your air-sack!

And if you know your breathing and know yourself, you should be able to make smart choices in pet selection or quarantining that can lead to a blissful co-mingling.

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