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Pet Allergens

Pet Allergens

Pets shed dander (skin flakes) regularly. Their dander, saliva, and urine can all cause allergies and asthma symptoms. Bird allergens include dander, feathers and feather dust. There are no non-allergenic furry or feathered pets—they can all cause allergies.

If you have a pet that you are allergic to, the best thing to do is to find it a new home. If this is not possible, the following actions may help but are not as effective as finding your pet a new home.

How to reduce exposure to pet allergens:

  • Keep your pet out of the main living areas and especially out of the bedroom—remember to close your bedroom door
  • Keep your pet off the furniture—buy furniture with leather or vinyl coverings that may reduce the absorption of allergens
  • Use an air cleaner with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter—although there is no proof that they will help your asthma, they will filter out some pet allergens
  • Have your pet washed and brushed frequently by someone who is not allergic
  • Vacuum regularly using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or central vacuum system
  • If possible, replace carpeting with smooth flooring
  • Encase your pillows, mattress and duvet/comforter in allergen-resistant covers
  • If you are allergic to a pet, do not replace the pet once it is gone

If you plan to visit someone who has a pet that you are allergic to, you can take medications before you go that may prevent or reduce your symptoms. A better plan is to meet somewhere where there are no pets.

If you have a pet but are not sure if it affects your asthma, ask yourself this: when you leave home on a holiday without the pet, does your asthma improve?


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