Living with allergies challenges anyone, but for a person who loves animals, having pet dander allergies feels like torture. You want to have your pet or pets close to you and enjoy their company, but every time you do, you end up itching, sneezing, wheezing and generally feeling sick.
While the obvious solution to most allergists and to people who do not love animals as much as you do is to just no longer have dogs, you know that making such a change is simply not an option. As such, you may be looking for alternative options to deal with your pet dander allergies so that you can keep your dog right where it belongs: with you.
Get to know more about the various ways you can manage your pet dander allergies without having to get rid of your pet so you can contact an allergy specialist and get the treatments and the help you need as soon as possible. You can make your life more comfortable and enjoyable in spite of your pet allergies if you know what steps to take.
Get Tested for Pet Dander Allergies
Many people go through life believing they have certain allergies only to later find out they were allergic to substances they were not even aware of. As such, while you may very well be allergic to your dogs, there is only one way to be sure.
If you have never been tested for allergies by a physician before, now is the time to do so. Generally, allergy testing will be performed by an allergist (a specialist) rather than by your primary care physician.
You will go to the allergist and discuss your symptoms and overall health history. Then, you will be tested for allergies using a basic skin test. This process is generally done on either the arm or the back. Small drops of potential allergens are placed in an ordered fashion on your arm or back. The doctor uses a small needle to place the allergens below the surface of your skin. If you are allergic to the substance, a welt or lump will develop.
Consider Allergy Shots
Once you have had the allergy testing performed, your allergist will be able to tell you the list of substances you are allergic to. If dog dander is among those substances, your next step may be to go through immunotherapy in the form of allergy shots.
Allergy shots are designed as a form of exposure therapy in that small amounts of the substances you are allergic to are injected into your body. Doing so helps your body to build up tolerance to the allergens so that exposure out in the world (or in this case your home) will not trigger such a strong response.
Immunotherapy does take a while to become fully effective and may require up to a year or more to be complete. The quantity of the allergen is quite minute at first and is gradually increased over time. However, of all treatments for allergies, it is the only one that can reduce symptoms in the long-term.
Make Your Home More Allergy-Friendly
In the meantime, you will want to try to make your home as allergy-friendly as possible so that you can remain comfortable and experience minimal allergy symptoms. If you are willing, you may want to create an allergen-free area of your home.
This means choosing an area of your house where your dogs are not allowed. To make yourself the most comfortable, that space would ideally be your bedroom. However, if your dog is like most, then you likely sleep in the same room as your dog or have trouble keeping them out of your bedroom.
If that’s the case, you will want to clean floors and vacuum every day or every other day to clear out as much dander as possible. If your dog also gets on your bed, changing the sheets and bedding frequently is also important. You should also use a lint-roller on bedding and other linens in between changes. And, of course, taking a daily allergy medication (prescription or over-the-counter) will help manage symptoms.
Now that you know more about some of the steps you should take when you love dogs but believe you are allergic to them, you can make sure you start feeling better as soon as possible.