If you suffer from pet allergies, you know the symptoms. You probably also know all the commonly recommended treatments, and you how to keep your house as free of pet dander as possible. But do you know that you could have other underlying allergies that are making your symptoms worse?
Many people who are allergic to cats or dogs are prone to other allergies as well. You may find that dealing with other potential allergens in your environment makes a real difference in your comfort level.
We put together a list of not-so-well-known things you can do that can help ease not only your pet allergy symptoms, but any underlying allergies you may have as well.
- You’ve no doubt heard of using a Neti pot to rinse your sinuses and get rid of allergens. The Neti pot isn’t always convenient, so you may want to try a saline nasal spray, such as Ocean Spray, for times when it’s not. It can help with dry nasal passages and general itchiness.
- Eyedrops and artificial tears can be helpful for red, itchy eyes.
- Honey may be one of Mother Nature’s best-kept secrets. It is proven effective for treatment of allergic rhinitis when combined with other treatment and can soothe a cough or aching throat. And honey from your local area may have a special kind of magic. Proponents say that because it contains local pollens, it helps to immunize a person from them. No studies to date have proven this to be true, but there’s no harm in trying it for yourself.
- Natural Antihistamines: Don’t overlook your local health food store for products to ease your discomfort. The following four supplements have been clinically proven to be safe and helpful for allergy symptoms.
- Stinging Nettle: A 2000 study found that freeze-dried stinging nettle at 300 mg a day eased allergic rhinitis symptoms in 58% of participants.
- Bromelain: Bromelain is a substance found in pineapple, and the study above suggests that the best way to use it to eat the fruit. Other studies (like this one) have found bromelain to be effective in reducing swelling and inflammation and for respiratory symptoms as well.
- Quercetin: Quercetin is found naturally in a lot of fruits and vegetables. The 2000 study found that at doses of 250-600 mg three times daily, it was effective in treating allergic rhinitis symptoms.
- Butterbur: This supplement is proven effective for migraine prevention, but it’s also helpful for allergy symptoms.
- Vitamin C: A 1992 study found vitamin C to be an effective natural antihistamine.
Dander Control Hacks
- Again, you are probably aware of the need to vacuum at least once a week to limit dander. You will also want to vacuum your furniture and drapes. You should pull your bed out and vacuum under it frequently, as well.
- Consider covering your furniture with slipcovers. These can be thrown in the washing machine as often as needed.
- If you have a cat, try a “clean” or “free” kitty litter to cut down on dust and even fragrances that can be irritating your eyes, nose and throat.
- Yes, you need to bathe your dog once a week and brush your dog and cat daily. If your symptoms are severe, ask someone else to do it.
- It’s not a bad idea to keep gentle wipes on hand (or use a damp cloth) to wipe your pets down when they come in from outside.
Environment Modification Hacks
- All of the environmental control measures for seasonal allergy sufferers are a good idea for pet allergies as well. These include HEPA filters for dust (and dander) and a humidifier or dehumidifier to reduce the risk of mold.
- Clean or change the filter on your vacuum frequently.
- Dust your furniture and other surfaces often with a damp microfiber cloth.
- When you wash your bedding and your pets’ bedding every week, include any blankets or throws that the pets lie on (on the couch, for example).
- If you have outdoor allergies as well as pet allergies, get in the habit of changing your clothes immediately when you come in from outdoors and toss them into the washing machine (not in the hamper).
- Look out for mold and mildew. Keep your bathrooms squeaky clean and don’t put wet towels in the hamper. Hang them to dry instead. Use a dehumidifier if needed. Clean the water tank regularly with white vinegar or bleach diluted in water.
We Wish You Luck!
It’s tough to be a pet lover who suffers from being near them. For many of us, forgoing the joy of having cats or dogs in our lives is not an option. Hopefully, some of the items on this list can make your symptoms tolerable enough so that you don’t have to make that choice.