You may surprised to know that around 70% of American homes own a pet, may it be with a dog or a cat. Almost half of all homes in the U.S. have a cat or dog, that accounts for 100 million pets. Pets become a discomfort when their owners are allergic to fur, cat dander, etc. But, some allergic or asthmatic people are more prone to allergies to pets due to their fur or feathers. It has been reported that about 15 % to 30 % of people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs.
Pets shed dander, which is a combination of micro size dead skin cells and feathers that trigger asthma attacks in people. These microscopic particles are perfect to cause disruption in the eyes, nose, and throat. Some asthmatic patients suffer asthma attacks, while coming in contact with pets. Basically, an asthma attack is a condition in which there is a sudden worsening of asthma symptoms that are caused by the tightening of muscles around the airways. This condition leads to increased inflammation in the linings of the airways and the airways produce sticky mucus or phlegm, by narrowing them. An asthma attack can happen at any time with warning signs and symptoms, like coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath or trouble in breathing.
Below are various steps which you can follow to reduce the irritants that trigger asthma attacks and other allergies:
- Minimize contact with pets– People can reduce dander in their home by keeping their pet outdoors as much as possible. You can also bar your pets from bedrooms where people with allergies or asthma sleep. Moreover, children with allergies should also avoid petting or touching animals, and if they come in contact with them, then they should immediately wash their hands.
- Get rid of carpets- Carpets trap pet dander and can also worsen indoor allergy problems. To get rid of pet allergies, you can remove the carpets from your home or restrict your pets from coming to that area. Furthermore, you can also replace the carpeted area with wooden floorings because these trap less dander and are also easier to clean.
- Maintain a clean home environment- Your mantra should be dusting and cleaning at timely intervals as much as possible. Regular cleaning or dusting will keep dander (as well as dust mites and other allergens) to a minimum. Vacuuming the area is not the only option to clear all the dander. You can also wipe out the area with a cloth or paper to minimize the dander.
- Clean cages– Try to clean the cages at least once a week because dander and urine produced by the pets can provoke allergic reactions and asthma attacks.
- Regular bathing for dogs and cats- Various researches have shown that frequently bathing your pet reduces the allergens found in their dander by 85%. The allergen levels returned to normal in about three days after bathing your pet. So, it is advised that dogs need to be washed at least twice a week.
- Purchase an indoor air cleaner- It is a fact that even the cleanest homes contain dust, pet dander, pollen, and fumes. People with allergies and asthma problems can get affected because of these irritants, which make them harder to breathe. So, to minimize these irritants, you can purchase a portable air cleaner.
The above mentioned tips and steps are few measures that can help in minimizing pet dander and other allergens. Moreover, if these factors still trigger asthma, then below mentioned are some helpful suggestions that people can do at the time of an asthma attack.
What to do at the time of asthma attack?
Asthma is a never ending problem and asthma attack symptoms can worsen the condition. The first thing to do at the time of getting asthma attack is to follow the emergency plan prescribed by the doctor, medications or inhalers.
Related: Asthma: Prevention and Medication
What is an asthma action plan?
An asthma action plan is a written plan prescribed by the doctor or a medical professional that tells the person how to deal with asthmatic attack asthma when getting in contact with a pet. The written action medical plan includes the information about the asthma medicines and what steps to be taken during the time of attack. Furthermore, action plan consists of the information to treat the inflammation in lungs to minimize the long-term effects of asthma.
Medications of asthma:
Basically, there is no permanent cure for asthma, but precautions and medications may help people in preventing their symptoms. With proper asthma medications, you can live well with this condition, but inadequate treatment of the disease limits the ability to exercise and be active. Some of the medications and treatment options are as follows:
Medications depend on a number of things, including age, symptoms, and asthma triggers. Preventive and long-term control medications reduce inflammation in airways and leads to symptoms. But, various effective medications of asthma can help in saving your life and let you live an active and happy life. Medications totally depend on the need of the person whether he/she wants quick relief or long term relief.
- Allergy shots- People having allergic asthma may be recommended allergy shots (immunotherapy). After analyzing your skin tests, thedoctor will tell you what allergens trigger the asthma symptoms. Then, he/she will provide you some doses of injections containing those allergens. During this medication process, you receive injections once a week for a few months, and then once a month for a period of three to five years. Over time, you will lose your sensitivity to the allergens.
- Omalizumab– This medication is preferred by the doctor to treat asthma triggered by allergens. If you are easily affected by allergies, then your immune system produces allergy-causing antibodies to attack substances that generally cause no harm, such as pollen, dust mites and pet dander. Basically, Omalizumab is given by injection every two to four weeks and is not recommended for children under 12 years of age.
- Allergy medications- Oral and nasal spray antihistamines and decongestants are some of the allergy medications that people can avail over-the-counter and also from various online stores.
- Inhaled corticosteroids– These are the anti-inflammatory drugs that are most effective and commonly used long-term asthma control medications. You may need to use these medications for several days to weeks before they reach their maximum benefit. The inhaled corticosteroids includes various drugs like Mometasone, Beclomethasone, and Fluticasone.
Treatment of asthma includes inhalers and nebulizers that are mentioned below:
- Asthma inhalers- To treat asthma, inhalers are the most common and effective product. As per the requirements of the asthmatic patients, these are available in different types in various online and medical stores.
- Asthma nebulizer- People who face difficulty using small inhalers are prescribed nebulizers by the doctors. These nebulizers are like a breathing machine. Nebulizers are typically preferred for infants, small children, and older adults.Also Read: 9 Ways to Fight Asthma and Allergies
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