How to Protect Yourself from An Asthma Attack
even Though You Have A Pet
Twelve ways to avoid asthma while
loving your pet
by David Kane
Any asthma sufferer allergic
to their pet would improve their condition if they found
another home for the animal. Yet many cannot face going through
with this and decide to keep the 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 the allergen into the air leaving it to
float through the air for hours.
If you cannot bear to part from your pet try these
1. Decide which areas of the house will become your exclusion
zones. I recommend you never allow your pet into at least two
rooms, the bedroom and lounge. You may want to add other rooms
to the list. If your pet once slept in those rooms, wash as
much of the bedding or upholstery as possible and consider
buying a new mattress and duvet. Keep the animal’s bed in
another room, perhaps a utility room or lobby. For a cat,
sprinkle some catnip there to make the area seem more
2. Make sure anyone handling your pet washes their hands before
touching the asthmatic person or entering the pet-free
3. Keep the 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 the pet there sometimes so that it feels at
4. If you allow your pet into the 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 the floorboards.
5. Regularly air the house and keep some windows ajar when the
cat or allergic person is in the home. You could get an HEPA
(High Efficiency Particulate Arrester) air filter to keep the
air throughout your home as pure as possible, but it will only
remove airborne allergens, not those left on furniture and
6. If your home uses forced-air heating seal up the air
ducts and use portable room heaters instead. This will prevent
the allergen entering the pet-free rooms.
If you want to have a pet but are
suffering from asthma, this article
can help you suffer fewer attacks
even if you keep your special
7. Do not use fans or fan heaters. These will blow allergens
that settle on carpets and furniture up into the air. Research
has shown that some pet allergens can take up to six hours to
settle once they are disturbed.
8. When you clean the house use an anti-allergy vacuum cleaner
that filters and keeps allergens. If you need to purchase one
check that the vacuum cleaner can filter out the allergens.
9. Frequently wash dogs with lukewarm water and shampoo.
Ideally get a non-asthmatic to do this. For cats gently wipe
the fur with a damp cloth or use a shower. Unfortunately, while
these methods will take a lot of allergen off the cat they will
not remove all of it. Some research has found that totally
immersing the cat in water will remove most allergens, so you
could try that if you don’t mind all the scratches it will
probably earn you!
10. A non-asthma sufferer should also brush the pet regularly
outside the house.
11. Clean out pet cages and litter boxes outside the home. If
possible get a non-asthmatic to do this job too.
12. If your pet is a tomcat get him neutered. The male of the
species produces most allergen, but the amount declines after
neutering. Cats vary greatly in the amount of allergen they
produce. If you have more than one, keep each cat in the house
for a while to find out which one is least allergenic.
If your asthma is severe and triggered by pet allergens the
best advice is to find a new home for the animal. However if
your asthma is fairly mild and you cannot bear to be parted
from this member of your family, try some of the above measures
and you may be able to avoid asthma while loving your pet.
Copyright 2005 David Kane
About the Author
David Kane is the author of ‘101 Top Tips for Asthma Relief’
and has produced a number of resources to help asthma sufferers
monitor and control their condition.
Find these at http://www.asthma-relieftips.com