Pets, kids and allergies – what parents should know
We all love our pets. But when they are a trigger for various health issues it becomes a stressful process to manage especially when it comes to the health of your children. Allergic reactions to fur occur when kids inhale or come into contact with pet fur that then triggers histamine production which leads to the inflammation of their airways causing runny noses, itchy eyes, and rashes.
Discover how pets could be triggering allergies
If your child seems to have continuous cold-like symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes and frequent sneezing indoors (as opposed to just having them happen at certain times of the year), these are signs that your child may have an allergy to dust mites, mold, or your pet.
If this happens, you need to experiment. First, you will need to observe your child’s behaviour and health before and after they spend time with your pet. It will help you to determine if the allergens are due to the animals. After this, you should place them in a pet-free environment. If the symptoms persist, you will need to book an appointment with an allergy specialist.
Some tests will be done by the allergist, generally through scratching or pricking of the skin and them placing a drop containing the allergen to that spot. If small bumps develop, then that indicates signs of an allergy.
Due to some kids’ genetic predispositions, preventing the development of pet allergies may be difficult. However, one thing remains unchanged, it will be essential that you keep your indoor environment clean and fur-free.
What is preferred way to treat pet allergies?
The best treatment option depends on the kinds of reactions your child has to his pet. You can get over-the-counter prescriptions for allergic reactions of the eyes or nose. Fortunately, there are several non-drowsy preparations available over the counter these days.
Allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots), is a popular allergy therapy. It is a long-term solution and often provides decades of relief and has proven effective in reducing symptoms in those allergic to animal dander.
Simple steps parents can take
There are some simple steps you can take to help minimize the effects of a pet allergy:
- Keep pets out of the house or restrict them to the non-carpeted areas, off the furniture and definitely out of your child’s bedroom.
- Purchase an air purifier and upgrade your filters. Keeping your pet in one room will not solve issues the other places. Fit your heating and air conditioning system with an improved screen or get a system with HEPA filters. There are a number of options that have been proven to help with pet allergies, as recommended by ByPurify.
- Clean thoroughly and vacuum regularly. Upholstered furniture, carpets, bedding and even your walls can collect fur. If possible, remove the carpeted flooring and replace with hard-surface flooring. If not so, make sure you vacuum and dust regularly. According to ByPurify, this is your best bet for tackling pet issues. You might also want to get more information on the best pet vacuum cleaners here.
- Change your child’s clothes, have them wash their hands regularly and encourage them to avoid touching eyes or other sensitive parts of the face that are prone to a reaction after a play date with the pets. He should also shower before bed to avoid tracking the allergens into his room.
All of the medications, immunotherapy and cleaning measures do not guarantee the eradication of pet allergies but, with the right care and treatment, keeping allergies under control is possible.