More than half of pet owners have admitted that they wouldn’t consider giving up their animals even if they were allergic to it, a survey has revealed. Following research by home appliance maker Vorwerk, figures found that nearly one in ten (8%) pet owners were actually allergic to their furry friends.
However, 61% said they wouldn’t lose their pet because of their allergies, whilst 53% saw their pets as part of the family.
Adding to the impact, almost half of households with allergies (48%) revealed that they did not have any special cleaning measures to reduce the impact of their allergy, making it worse for their loved ones.
Dr Jill Warner, Allergy expert and immunologist, said: “Pets are the second most important cause of domestic allergy, after the house dust mite. The allergens are found in the pet’s dander, hair, saliva and urine.
“The cat allergen is very small so can quickly and easily spread, often settling in dust from floors and soft furnishings, in the air and even on walls. Dog allergens are larger particles which may be the reason why fewer people show allergic symptoms to dogs than they do to cats.
“Allergen control must be aimed at areas in the home where people spend most of their time and where allergen exposure is heaviest. In practice this means applying special cleaning measures to the bedrooms and living room at a minimum.”
Dr Jill Warner’s top tips for an allergy free home
- Keep pets away from your bed. It’s important to keep pets away from your bed to avoid them from spreading their allergens all over the area where you sleep. Use allergen-proof barrier covers on all mattresses, duvets and pillows and wash your bedding regularly at at least 60 degrees.
- Put soft toys in the freezer. If your child is allergic to house dust mites put soft toys in the freezer for 24 hours once a week to kill the mites . Wash the toy in the washing machine afterwards and leave to dry before allowing your child to play with it again.
- Replace carpets with hard flooring. Replace your carpets with vinyl or wood flooring as these accumulate less allergens. If you have rugs in your home wash them regularly.
- Vacuum regularly. Where carpets can’t be removed, make sure you vacuum regularly along with vacuuming beds and soft furnishings. It’s important to use a high filtration vacuum cleaner which is able to collect and contain very small particles and clean a variety of surfaces.
- Decrease home humidity by increasing the ventilation. Try to keep your windows open and use extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms to keep the house dry and ventilated. However if you are allergic to pollen windows should be closed during the grass and tree pollen seasons.