People love their pets. Sometimes, however, having severe allergies can make it difficult to live with them.
There are, of course, a number of ways for people to manage their allergies and minimize symptoms, so they can enjoy the company of their pets. But first, it is important to address many of the misconceptions that surround pet ownership and allergies.
- It's not just about pet hair: If you think you're allergic to your pet's hair, you probably have a heavy duty vacuum that you use to clean it off the carpet and other surfaces. That's useful, but the problem isn't necessarily the hair itself, but the dander — microscopic proteins that can wreak havoc with immune systems. This is a crucial distinction that all pet owners must understand.
- You can't build up an immunity: Yes, your puppy might be adorable, but hugging him won't help you build up an immunity to your allergies. Increased exposure will not help, and might even make things worse.
- No pet is allergy free: It's true that there are some pets that give off less dander than others, and some allergy sufferers may find relief as a result. But even animals with short hair can trigger allergies in some people.
Don't worry. If your family wants to keep a pet, it is still perfectly possible to do so while keeping your allergies at bay. Choosing a breed that gives off low dander while also investing in a HEPA home air purifier can go a long way to ensure that you have clean air to breath in your home all the while.