If you get sniffly and sneezy around cats, dogs, and other pets, you’re one of 30 million Americans that suffer from pet dander allergies. If you’re an animal lover, this realization can be devastating.
While there’s no way to completely cure your pet dander allergies at home, there are certain ways to alleviate them so that you can go about your normal day without giving up your furry friends.
What is pet dander?
Pet dander isn’t actually your pet’s fur, it’s the small particles of skin that shed off of the pet. Dander is small and floats easily in the air, making it easy to inhale and get into your HVAC system. While pet dander isn’t actually a threat to the immune system, your body mistakes it as such and reacts in a way to expel the particles through sneezing and a runny nose.
How do you alleviate pet dander allergies?
There are a few steps you can take to lessen the pet dander in your home. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate it, you can make it so there are less particles floating around in the air.
Regularly grooming your pet, even if they don’t need a haircut, is a great way to keep them from shedding excessive amounts of dander. A bath will wash off their dead skin and hair so that it won’t float around your living room.
At the same time, that won’t completely rid your house of pet dander. Make sure to keep a regular cleaning schedule that includes, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, and especially washing couch cushions and other areas where dander can build up.
Changing your air filter regularly
Since pet dander floats in the air, it makes sense to make sure your air filter is running smoothly. A properly functioning air filter needs to be replaced every 1 to 3 months at minimum. Go over that time limit, and you’ll notice your allergies getting progressively worse. A quality air filter catches everything from viruses to pet dander, keeping you and your family safe from allergens and other airborne viruses. Better yet, you'll need an air filter with a MERV rating of at least 12 to filter pet dander out of the air.
Finally, if all else fails, allergy medication will help you fight off the sniffles so you don’t have to give up your furry friend!