Gesundheit! What To Do If You're Suddenly Allergic To The Pets You've Loved For Years

If you've been around dogs, cats, horses, goats and other animals your entire life, but suddenly find yourself allergic to some of them, your entire world can be thrown into disarray. You have pets you love and would never dream of parting with, yet there's no way you can tolerate all the sneezing, watering eyes and running nose that comes with a typical allergy. Don't panic and don't even think of putting your pets in quarantine, because there are a number of solutions which may help you effectively adapt to your new situation.

Ask Your Doctor To Investigate

As you get older or according to other influences, such as exposure to certain chemicals, your entire immune system can change. Conditions like Hashimoto's, a thyroid disorder, can initiate allergic rhinitis like crazy, leading to sneezing at literally the drop of a hat. Get a physical, including having your TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) level tested, because there could be something going on you need to know about it, beyond how to keep enjoying life as an animal lover. Also, keep in mind that some allergy medicines might interfere with thyroid and other conditions.

Find An Allergist Who Can Help You Keep Your Pets

If needed, you should get specific allergy testing conducted, so you can figure out exactly what (or who) you're reacting to. There are tests that screen for skin allergies, food intolerance and yes, reactions to pet dander. You need to know exactly what you're dealing with, in order to plan an effective strategy against it. The allergist or your doctor may prescribe medications which will help your body manage the overwhelming response by your immune system to certain triggers. 

Stick To A Cleaning Schedule

You may need to clean more thoroughly and more frequently, with your allergies, and it's better to maintain a schedule for your cleaning, to eliminate as many sources of allergic reactions as you can and as often as possible. 

Give Your Pets Their Own Sleeping Areas

Unfortunately, if you're in the habit of sleeping with your pet(s), that most enjoyable ritual will likely have to end. Make your bedroom off limits to all pets, no matter how much they protest, and keep the door closed while you sleep. This won't keep all the pet dander out, but it will cut down significantly on the amount you're exposed to.

Invest In An Allergy Air-Purifier

An air-purifier could do wonders for your sneezing and sniffling, no matter what type of HVAC system you have in your home or apartment. Purifiers are particularly helpful in the bedroom, but if there's a room in your home where you and your pets tend to spend more time together, get a purifier for it, too.

Limit Your Exposure To Other Animals

Allergies can be very complicated, and once you've found a happy medium between medications, cleaning and exposure with your own pets, you want to avoid being around new ones, as they could rile up your symptoms. As much as you can, keep to your own crew of animals, thereby limiting additional triggers and unknown variables. Figuring out all the specific things you're allergic to is a long and tedious process, so protect yourself in the ways that you're able.

You don't always have to get rid of the pets you love.  Work with your doctor and allergist for allergy relief, if it goes that far, and don't hesitate to ask your vet how others are handling the problem, too. Hopefully, the tail-wagging and purring continues in your life, with the allergies under control.