Furry and feathered friends
People with asthma have very sensitive airways. When their airways are irritated, they become swollen, tighten up and make more mucus. Exposure to something you are allergic to may trigger your asthma.
If your child is allergic to a pet:
- Consider keeping pets outside the house.
- Groom your pets outside weekly.
- Never allow pets in your child's bedroom.
- Keep pets off furniture and out of cars.
- Have your child wash their hands after playing with animals and keep their face away from fur.
- Replace carpets and fabric furniture with washable rugs and slipcovers. Wash the rugs and slipcovers in very hot (130 degrees F) water.
- Hardwood and tile floors are easier to clean and will not hold onto pet dander like carpet.
- Vacuum, mop and clean surfaces with a wet cloth frequently.
- Consider getting a portable air cleaner with a HEPA filter for your child's room. If your child's asthma is still uncontrolled after these steps, consider finding a new home for the family pet. While it may be difficult, separating pets from the family is sometimes the only solution to pet allergies.
Cats, dogs and other mammals
- People can be more allergic to certain breeds than others, but contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog or cat.
- People who are allergic to mammals are sensitive to animal dander. Dander is made of animal skin flakes, saliva and droppings.
- Be aware of possible allergies to animal food (hay) or bedding (cedar, pine) for smaller animals like rabbits and hamsters.
- Birds also have dander and feathers that can cause an allergic reaction.
- Be aware of bedding choices for these pets as well.