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Suddenly Allergic To Your Pet? 4 Ways To Get A Handle On The Situation And Avoid The Heartbreak Of Goodbye

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Loving animals is easy because they're so unconditionally loyal and unyielding with their affection, but if you've suddenly developed an allergy to the animal(s) you love, life quickly becomes hard. Adult-onset allergies can, in fact, devastate anybody and can be especially hard on animal lovers. All is not lost, though. In most cases you can find a way to manage your sneezing, sniffling and stuffiness without having to say goodbye to the favored pet(s) in your life.

1. Discuss The Matter With Your Doctor

After getting over the initial shock of learning you're suddenly allergic to your beloved pet, you're likely to want to fight the diagnosis tooth-and-nail. However, it's important to put your own health first. Your allergy may eventually lead to decreased lung function, which could leave you more susceptible to respiratory infections. If you're in good health overall, though, and your doctor doesn't deem your pet allergy to be dangerous, you can do what many other pet owners with allergies do--adapt.

2. Change Your Environment

For most people, animals are members of the family and as such, usually allowed to share the living space without restrictions. But where allergies are concerned, you should probably make some changes around the house:

  • Establish an area for your pet that's theirs exclusively, and encourage them to use it.
  • Clear a path to your room, making it as pet-free as possible, so you have full access to your personal space without interference from pet dander.
  • Replace carpets, throw-rugs, and curtains with solid objects, such as linoleum and blinds, to prevent pet dander from festering around you.
  • Clean your home more often, if necessary, to keep it free from the dust and particles that trigger your allergies.

Although any level of separation between you and your pet might be difficult, it's going to help ease your symptoms and is a far better alternative than having to part with the animal on a permanent basis.

3. Change The Way You Interact With Your Pet

Pet lovers don't usually scoff at the hairy mess left on their clothes and furniture after a belly rub or similar show of affection; however, you should exercise more caution when you interact with your pets now. For example, your hands should be washed regularly and your pet, if it's a dog, might need more baths to keep the dander at a minimum. Cats, too, can be bathed more frequently for your protection, but they may not be as cooperative about it. You should be particularly concerned before bedtime to ensure you don't go to sleep covered in allergens.

Even though you should still be able to keep your dog or cat, remember to keep your distance and consider the ways in which your health may be adversely affected by close and prolonged contact.

4. Consider Different Allergy Treatment Options

Your doctor will go over the various allergy treatments that should work best for you, but sometimes, it's more of a trial-and-error process than it is an exact science. Fortunately, if one remedy isn't effectively dealing with your allergy, there are others to try:

  • Antihistamines may decrease your immune system's production of histamines, which normally play a vital role in body function, from neural transmitter to digestive aid, but bother you when there are allergic responses.
  • Decongestants can help alleviate common symptoms, such as your runny and stuffy nose.
  • Nasal sprays are often effective at washing away irritants (pet dander, dust, etc.) from your sinus cavity, reducing sneezing and discomfort.
  • Steroids, available in tablet, liquid, or inhaler form, could be prescribed by your doctor or recommended in over-the-counter products and are likely to minimize inflammation and other allergy-related symptoms.
  • Allergy shots and other more intense treatments might be recommended if your allergies become extreme.

A few of the treatments for allergies come with side-effects, making your doctor's guidance invaluable as you attempt to manage your new condition. Be aware of how the different remedies might affect your life, particularly when you're driving or doing anything that requires your undivided attention.

Hopefully, you and your pet(s) can get by with a little help from your doctor. Finding the ideal remedy for your allergies could happen quickly or might require some patience, but it should happen eventually. Don't neglect your health, no matter how deep your love runs for a favorite feline or prized pooch, because there should be a solution for you in some form and your doctor can help you find it. If you are looking for help with your asthma or allergies, contact a local medical office like Allergy & Asthma Centers SC for help.