How to cope with pet allergies

ORLAND, Fla. – In the U.S., as many as three in 10 people with allergies are allergic to cats and dogs, and cat allergies are about twice as common as dog allergies.

But if you have a pet allergy, can you still safely keep your furry friend?

Kevin Hudson has had allergies his whole life.

“They tested me, and I was allergic to pretty much everything,” Hudson said.

In addition to outdoor allergies, Hudson was highly allergic to cats but still had them in his childhood home.

“My mother loved cats, so there was always at least two or three, sometimes, four or five, cats in the house,” Hudson said.

Living with an animal you’re allergic to is difficult but not impossible. If you do have an allergy, you may still be able to live comfortably with your dog or cat.

Here are some tips:

  • Don’t let your pet in your bedroom, a place where you spend about one-third of your life.
  • Use a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner.
  • Steam clean your carpets regularly and wear a dust mask when you vacuum.
  • Bathe your pet once a week to keep dander at bay.

“Over-the-counter antihistamines are very effective, and the nasal steroids are very effective for that particular problem,” said Dr. Seth Johnson.

If your allergy causes breathing problems or is very severe, it is time to say goodbye to your pet. It's a hard decision but one that’s best for your health. 

If you have to give up your pet, first ask your close friends or family members if they would be willing to take the animal. That will make the process easier for both you and the new owners.