Reduce Allergic Reactions to Pets
Try These Guidelines and Natural Remedies
Ever experience watery and itchy eyes, sneezing, scratching or wheezing while visiting a friend’s house pet or while on a summer farm? For all you animal lovers out there, it may be a hard truth to accept but one that you might want to think about: all mammals can cause an allergic reaction in humans and you may be one of them.
Allergies to animals are common and can cause some undesirable reactions in the human body. The immune system is an impressive mechanism, one that likes to be in balance. It is the job of the immune system to fight off any foreign substances that may be harmful to us, or cause upset to the body’s natural harmony. When dander (skin scales) from furry or feathered animals enters the body, it can stimulate allergens and cause our body to react. Your runny, drippy nose, watery or itchy eyes, swelling or hives is your body’s way to wash away any unwanted substances.
The safest way to reduce or eliminate any allergy is to avoid the things to which we are allergic. The next time your friends suggest that you buy a ‘hypo-allergenic’ dog or cat, let them know there is no such thing. It’s tough love, but when it comes to removing yourself from an animal in the home or particular environment, this could be your best option.
Love your pet too much to part? Can’t stand to admit that you have an animal allergy?
Here are some other helpful and simple ways to reduce animal allergies:
- If the animal lives in your home, here are a few helpful house guidelines:
- Be sure to clean your house daily to control dust
- Consider getting rid of your carpets, getting a professional carpet cleaning or cleaning out your air ducts. You may want to even consider hardwood floors.
- Remove all feathered pillows.
- Don’t allow the animal to sleep or stay where people sleep.
- Bathe the animal every week or two but don’t let the allergic person wash the animal.
- Allow the animal to stay outside as much as possible.
- If you are going to a friend’s home with a pet, see if they would be willing to host the affair at your place. Try not to touch the animal, or if you do, wash your hands right after.
Try This At Home
The most common prescription for allergies is an anti-histamine from your local pharmacy, but why not consider some of these alternatives first!
- Butterbur is an herb that contains an active ingredient known as Petasin, which is said to potentially reduce the effects of histamine. Be sure to check with your doctor or herbalist to ensure this herb is the right choice for you.
- Increase your intake of Vitamin C. This helps to boost the immune system and relieve inflammation. Try some supplements, or integrate more Vitamin C rich foods into your diet such as citrus fruits, elderberries, kale and dark greens.
- Probiotics are said to help maintain healthy bacteria in the body, particularly helping intestines and immune system stay healthy and strong.
- Homeopathy: a homeopath may be able to put you on a protocol of tinctures that can help your body work with the allergy.
Marni Wasserman is a culinary nutritionist in Toronto whose philosophy stems around whole foods. For more information please visit her website marniwasserman.com