Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Take Steps to Reduce Allergens in the Home

A Post from Dash’s Point of View: 

This year my mom decided we were going to adopt a no-shoes-in-the-house policy. I’m cool with that. In fact, I really hate when she makes me wear shoes anyway. I know she really likes her shoes, especially the really tall ones that go with her outfits, so she must be enforcing this rule for a good reason. When I was a puppy and came home with my new family my mom started using a lot of allergy medicine. She snuggled and cuddled me even though it made her nose all stuffy. Therefore, I should probably do my part to enforce her clean feet rules. 

So, here are some things we do at our house that may help you:
  • Keep a pair of “people shoes” and a towel by every outside door. My mom does not really like the way they look sitting by the door so she finds creative ways of hiding them, like behind the curtains. This way when you go outside you can protect your feet from disease causing microbes. I usually do not wear shoes outside. My mom keeps a towel handy to wipe my feet and fur whenever I have been romping in the grass. She usually dampens the towel to help remove dirt and grass from my fur.

As I said before, we remove our shoes as we enter the house. In the Indoor Air Quailty Handbook, by John D. Spengler, Jonathan M. Samet, and John F. McCarthy, there are some interesting facts about pollen transmission into the home, “Birch allergen concentration indoors also peaked about 3 weeks after the atmospheric pollen peak outdoors, which was presented as evidence of pollen and allergen being carried into the home on shoes and clothing rather than via airbourne routes (Yli-Panula and Rantio-Lehtimaki 1995). Because these studies indicate that pollen penetration into homes is greater via carriage on shoes and clothing rather than via air transport, it is assumed that under certain circumstances in tight buildings, dustboune pollen and their allergens could potentially contribute to allergy symptoms.” Also, the EPA states, “Do not bring lead dust into the home...You may also be tracking in lead from soil around your home. Soil very close to homes may be contaminated from lead paint on the outside of the building. Soil by roads and highways may be contaminated from years of exhaust fumes from cars and trucks that used leaded gas.” As I understand it we should all try our hardest not to bring in dust, pollen, mold, other allergens and grass, especially grass, (my mom throws a hugh fit when when my daddy and I track in grass) on our feet or fur. 
  • Clean your house often. Vacuum with a HEPA filter which helps trap and remove airborne particles, such as pet dander and other allergens. Keep kitchen and bathroom surfaces clean and dry to prevent a potential breading ground for mold. Besides keeping you healthy this will help keep your interior space neat and pretty.
  • Give me a weekly BATH! According to “research shows that frequently bathing your pet reduces the allergens found in their dander. A 1999 study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology compared the levels of allergens in dog dander before and after a five-minute bath with an unnamed “proprietary shampoo” (which could describe an allergen-reducing shampoo such as Groomax). The researchers found that the bath reduced the dogs’ allergen levels by about 85% (pdf).” Please do not use harsh shampoos and do use conditioners on us too. Our skin can get dry and itchy just like yours. When this happens I scratch and shake dispersing dander into the air. If I do get itchy you can rub olive oil to my fur a few minutes before my bath. It will help moisturize my skin and it is all natural.
In closing, please do not send us away. If you are having allergy symptoms you may not be allergic to pets at all. It could be other allergens brought in on clothes, hair, and feet. You can get a simple scratch test at the doctors office to show you specifically what irritants you should avoid. There are many ways to remain healthy and harmonious with pets in the house. Besides, I hear people that experience the love of a pet in their lives typically live longer.

Treats and Kisses,         


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