Are you a pet owner living with eczema? If getting rid of your feline friend or canine companion are out of the question, here are a few pet owner tips for you!
- Brush Your Pets: There is a common myth that states, “The shorter the hair of an animal the less dander they produce.” This simply is not the case. It is important to brush your pets frequently and it is best to brush them outdoors. By grooming them outside, you reduce the risk of shedding dander on your upholstered furniture and in turn, spreading it throughout your home. Clean brushes of excess hair and dispose of it in outside garbage receptacles. If possible, keep brushes and combs in a shed, garage or container outside.
- Keep Your Pet Out of the Bedroom: I realize that it is not uncommon to have a dog cuddled up at the foot of the bed. However, keeping your bedroom a pet free environment is crucial to avoiding eczema flares. Because atopic dermatitis (eczema), is a condition plagued by allergic reactions, it is likely you may have allergies to pet dander. If you keep your pet out of the bedroom, it will avoid dander from contaminated your sleeping quarters and the air you breathe while sleeping.
- Get a HEPA Filter: HEPA filters are ideal for removing airborne pollutants, including pet dander, dust mites and pollen. Pollen is often thought of as an outdoor allergen, however, it can be brought into the home on your clothing and your pets! Stand alone HEPA filters tend to be more effective than an entire home HEPA system. Keep one in your living quarters and another in the bedroom. I realize I have instructed you to keep your pets out of the bedroom and you may be wondering why I would suggest you keep one there as well? Dust mites love to breed in bedding and can exacerbate your eczema.
- Clean Your Home Frequently: Learn to love housework! Pet’s add extra maintenance to your usual routine. Use vacuum cleaners that are equipped with HEPA filters and vacuum at least twice per week. Although depending on the number of pets you have, you might find you benefit from more frequent vacuuming. Shampoo your rugs and carpet. Change out and/or wash pet bedding frequently. Wash the walls around where your pet’s bedding resides. If you have a cat, use clumping litter and clean litter box twice daily. Dust is another trigger of eczema flares. Dust at least once per week. Avoid feather dusters.
- Consider Alternatives to Furry Friends: If you are considering a pet purchase and know you have pet allergens and/or eczema, consider alternatives to the traditional cat or dog. Some critters to consider, include: turtles, lizards, geckos, fish, tarantulas and snakes. I realize tarantulas and snakes are not for everyone, but some find companionship with them as pets. If you don’t have the common fear factor associated with them, give them a try!