Everyone loves the family pet, especially children. Dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, fish, whatever the friend may be, pets become beloved family members. They provide comfort, companionship, and so much more. Unfortunately, some children have pet allergies. This can be a disappointing situation, especially if the allergy is severe enough to cause an asthma attack. If the allergies are mild, however, it is possible to minimize the effects. Here are a few tips for managing pet allergies in the home.
- First, make sure the allergy is actually to the pet. Allergy symptoms include watery or itchy eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, and rashes. If your child has any of these symptoms after playing with a pet, have them tested for allergies before rushing to any conclusions.
- It’s the protein in pet dander, urine, and saliva that causes allergic reactions, rather than the fur itself. Pets can also carry in pollen if they go outside. Bathe the pet weekly to reduce the amount of pollen and dander flying about. Your veterinarian can recommend appropriate soaps and shampoos.
- Make the child’s room a “pet-free zone.” Prevent your child from sleeping with the pet as well.
- Encourage hand-washing after playing with or petting any animals. This will help prevent spreading allergens to the face.
- Where possible, replace upholstered surfaces with something hard or easily cleanable. Dander clings to fabric and fiber more easily than to tile, vinyl, or wood floorings. If you must have carpet, choose a low-pile style.
- Talk to your pediatrician about allergy medications. There are plenty on the market, and different medications work for different symptoms, so work with your child’s doctor to find the right one.
Of course, there is always the possibility that if your child’s allergy cannot be relieved, you may have to look for an alternate home for your pet, but we know it is ideal to look at all other possible solutions. For questions or concerns, contact your pediatrician today, or call our office to make an appointment.
This column is sponsored by Pediatric Partners.
BIO: Raul Barroso, DO MPH, an Orlando, Florida native, completed his medical degree at Nova Southeastern University and his residency at the University of Florida, Jacksonville. Dr. Barroso specializes in pediatrics and has been practicing medicine for six years. To schedule your child’s appointment with Dr. Barroso, call Pediatric Partners at (863) 940-0918.