What do you do if you have an allergy to your pet? Do you give him away, or do you learn to cope? For many, parting with their beloved animal is not an option, because he is more of a family member than a pet.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology “nearly half of U.S. households have a dog or a cat.” They estimate that about 10 percent of the population may have allergies to their animals and one of the most prevalent is an allergy to a cat.
Mark Larche, an immunology professor at the McMaster University in Ontario, Canada pointed out, that it’s not so much as pet dander that causes allergy, as the protein molecule. For example in cats, it’s really tiny and can enter human lungs very easily. It is also light and can hang in the air for hours in contrast to dog allergens that are heavier and don’t float as long.
If you decide to keep your pet, here are a few things you can do to make your life a little easier.
1. Replace the carpet with a wood floor. Allergens and pet hair get trapped in the carpet and vacuuming it stirs more allergens in the air even with the HEPA filter.
2. Wash your pet at least once a week to reduce dander.
3. Limit access to the bedroom. You might want to close ducts to that room and use portable heating and cooling devices.
4. Use high-efficiency HEPA filters. They can be portable or home-wide. Since the cat and dog allergens tend to stay airborne, the filter really helps to remove quite a few of them.
5. Allergy shots. Over time they help to build immune system tolerance to the allergens.
There is a very good possibility that in the near future people can have a vaccine and forget about allergies. In fact, based on research of Mark Larche, whom I mentioned earlier, Circassia, a U.K. biotechnology company is in the process of developing allergy vaccines. Its Cat-SPIRE vaccine is in the final-stage testing and vaccines for ragweed, grass and dust mites are undergoing late-stage testing.
Chief Executive Officer Steven Harris of Circassia said: “What we’re looking to do is to set up a direct sales force in the U.S. and in key markets in Europe.” The company expects results for the cat vaccine in 2016.