That cute little kitten or lovable dog that your child (or partner) can’t live without could be making them very sick. Sadly, as much as we love them, cats and dogs are often major asthma triggers for asthma sufferers and can send some to the emergency room. Contrary to what many people believe, it is the dander (dry flakes of skin), not the hair of the animal that actually is the cause of the problem. Your pet’s dander is shed continuously, but it is so small that it’s difficult to see. The dander is easily airborne and sticks readily to fibers- therefore it goes everywhere and gets on just about everything. If you have rugs and your pet comes inside the house, they are certainly full of it, so is your furniture and beds if they are allowed on them. If you cuddle or play with your pet, it’s all over your clothing too. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of Fido or Garfield.
There are a number of alternatives that you can take. Steam cleaning rugs and furniture in your home will help to remove the dander. Using a HEPA vacuum cleaner is also good. If possible, getting rid of rugs is the best solution. Make sure your pet stays out of the asthma sufferer’s bedroom. Wash all bedding, floors and walls to remove the dander. Then use a HEPA air purifier at night in the bedroom with the door closed.
Take your pet to the groomer for a shampoo once a week or have a family member wash your pet outside to ensure that the dander level is kept as low as possible. Long haired pets should get clipped shorter. If your pet loves to show their appreciation by licking, this should be discouraged since their saliva will contain dander as well as proteins, which are also an asthma trigger for many asthma sufferers.
If you don’t have a pet but your friends or relatives do, even a short visit to their home can cause problems for an asthma sufferer, especially children who can’t resist playing with them. When you get home, get your child to take a shower and wash their clothing too to remove the dander.
Living with your beloved pet can be comfortable and symptom free when taking all of these measures. However, if your situation is more serious and your pet still makes you sick, then you may want to try a natural asthma treatment.