Allergies to pets with fur or feathers are common, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have pets.

You can keep your four-legged (or two-legged) friend in your home if your allergies are not life threatening. Going to the doctor to find out what triggers your allergies is the first thing you should do. Your doctor may recommend antihistamines and steroids to help you manage your allergies.

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Here are some tips so you can keep your pet while keeping the allergies at bay.

  • Keep your pet away from the bedroom. You spend from one-third to one-half of your time there.
  • Because animal allergens are sticky, you must remove wall-to-wall carpeting and keep surfaces throughout the home clean and uncluttered.
  • If you must have carpet, steam clean them frequently. Better yet, use throw rugs that can be washed in hot water.
  • Wear a dust mask to vacuum. Vacuum cleaners stir up allergens that have settled on carpet and make allergies worse. Use a vacuum with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter if possible.
  • Forced-air heating and air-conditioning can spread allergens through the house. Cover bedroom vents with dense filtering material.
  • Washing the pet frequently may reduce airborne allergens.
  • Have someone without a pet allergy brush the pet outside the home and clean the litter box or cage.

If you are considering acquiring a pet, I advise you to spend a couple of hours at the breeder's house to see if you are allergic.

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Dr. Krieger is a practicing veterinarian in Washington Heights Animal Hospital in New York City. She hosts a weekly TV segment on pet health and animal science at Television Dominicana. Her website is: www.EduardaKrieger.com

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