Animal dander -- small flakes of skin -- is one of the most common and powerful allergens known to man. People may also be allergic to fur and feathers, as well as animal saliva or urine. Dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, rabbits, rats and birds are common sources of dander. Getting a shorthaired cat or dog doesn't necessarily help, because dander is simply dead skin cells. Sometimes, the pet dander isn't the problem, but rather the pollen or mold spores the pet brings into the house from outdoors.
The simplest way to deal with pet allergies is to have no pets. If you must, however, other measures can help:
- Don't let the pet on the furniture.
- Don't let the pet sleep with the allergic person or even go into the bedroom.
- Avoid upholstered furniture. Use leather or something else, instead.
- Avoid carpets. Wash any throw rugs frequently.
- Have someone who's not allergic bathe and groom the pet weekly.
- Have someone who's not allergic clean the pet's bed and litter box often.
- Vacuum frequently with a machine that has an HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter. Consider HEPA air filters for the home.
Want to know the worst culprit that's likely living under your nose -- and giving your nose fits? Keep reading.