Copyright 2005 David Kane
Any asthma sufferer allergic to their pet would improve their condition if they found another home for animal. Yet many cannot face going through with this and decide to keep pet and suffer. However, you can take steps to make living with your pet easier.
Firstly, understand that a shorthaired animal can trigger asthma as easily as a longhaired animal. The problem is not hair. Animal saliva, sweat, urine and dander (flakes of dead skin) can act as powerful allergens. Petting, grooming or vacuuming can stir allergen into air leaving it to float through air for hours.
If you cannot bear to part from your pet try these measures:
1. Decide which areas of house will become your exclusion zones. I recommend you never allow your pet into at least two rooms, bedroom and lounge. You may want to add other rooms to list. If your pet once slept in those rooms, wash as much of bedding or upholstery as possible and consider buying a new mattress and duvet. Keep animalís bed in another room, perhaps a utility room or lobby. For a cat, sprinkle some catnip there to make area seem more attractive.
2. Make sure anyone handling your pet washes their hands before touching asthmatic person or entering pet-free rooms.
3. Keep pet outdoors as much as possible. You could build it a shed or out-house and make it as warm and comfortable as you can. Feed pet there sometimes so that it feels at home.
4. If you allow your pet into house consider replacing allergen friendly surfaces. Furniture should be made of wood or have leather or vinyl covers. Carpets should be replaced with cork tiles, vinyl flooring or linoleum. Another option is to polish floorboards.
5. Regularly air house and keep some windows ajar when cat or allergic person is in home. You could get an HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrester) air filter to keep air throughout your home as pure as possible, but it will only remove airborne allergens, not those left on furniture and carpets.