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Pet Allergies: Making It Work

With a few changes you can keep your companion animal -- and manage your pet allergies, too.

Tips to Help You Cope With Allergies and Pets

Though the best way to find relief from allergies is to avoid exposure to what you're allergic to, you can have your precious pets and live well, too. Allergists and pet allergy sufferers offer these tips:

Pet Allergies Tip 1: Change Your Environment

  • Keep Your Bedroom Pet-Free. Something as simple as making your bedroom a pet-free sanctuary "can significantly decrease levels of allergens" in that space, says Alan Goldsobel, MD, a spokesman for the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Goldsobel also suggest switching to special bedding designed to be less permeable to allergens.
  • Consider a HEPA Filter . HEPA filters remove tiny airborne pollutants, like dust mites, pollen, and pet dander, from the air you breathe. "Dander is so airy and light that HEPA filters can filter it out of the air," reducing your exposure, Chiu tells WebMD. Within a given area stand-alone filters are typically more effective than a whole-house HEPA system, Chiu adds. As for those air de-ionizers/purifiers often hawked on late-night infomercials, they may make allergies worse by releasing harmful ozone gas.
  • Learn to Love Housework. "I try to vacuum the bedroom frequently and change furnace filters to reduce the dander in the air," says Herrig. Other allergy sufferers tackle pet allergies by shampooing rugs regularly, changing people and pet bedding frequently, wiping down walls where pets rub, and dusting often. And to reduce the number of places where allergens can build up, Goldsobel suggests converting to hard-surface floor and minimizing the amount of upholstered furniture in your home

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