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pet allergies: living with pets you're allergic to

Despite the pet allergy symptoms they sometimes give us - like coughing and sneezing - we still want our pets around.

The two can peacefully and healthily cohabitant with a few ground rules and a bit of preventative cleaning around the house.

These 6 tips for minimizing pet allergies can help ensure everyone is more comfortable at home.

1. if you have pet allergies, make the bedroom a pet-free zone.

Keeping pets out of the room you spend the most time in will go a long way toward reducing exposure to pet allergens. After all, your cozy bed is a snug spot for animal dander to settle in, too.

To peacefully coexist, you'll need to wash your bed linens at least once a week in the hottest water safe for your sheets. Your comforter, blanket, and pillows should be washed at least monthly.

Damp-wipe or vacuum your blinds regularly - they're a virtual magnet for animal dander, dust and more.

This alone will reduce your pet allergy symptoms dramatically. Dust all the rooms in your home carefully, being sure to hit every nook and corner cranny.

The most effective weapon in the war against allergens when you're living with a pet you're allergic to is a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high-efficiency particle absorbent) filter. They're expensive, but worth it for the effective removal of pet dander it provides.

2. ask someone else to bathe and comb your pet.

Have a non-allergic friend or family member bathe Fido or Fluffy once a week in a tub filled with lukewarm water and a pet shampoo or your own (mild) hair shampoo to remove excess dander.

A daily brushing of your cat or dog will help cut down on dander in your home, too.

3. keep your pet off the living room furniture.

Train your pet to stay off the furniture. If your cat or dog is already used to taking a nap there, cover upholstered chairs and couches with a sheet or towel that will serve to trap animal dander. Wash these covers regularly.

4. clean carpets and rugs regularly.

Heard the saying "Snug as a bug in a rug"? 'Nuff said.

Keep pet dander far from your breathing space by regularly cleaning (at least once a month) your carpets and rugs.

This alone will dramatically reduce pet allergy symptoms.

If possible, remove carpets and rugs altogether and replace with wood, tile or linoleum floors.

5. keep the air in your home clean.

Use a HEPA air cleaner. Pet dander can become airborne, but it can also easily be removed with an air filter. Run the filter at least three hours daily.

6. if you have pet allergies, consider a fish, turtle, or lizard instead of a furry pet.

Choose a turtle, fish, or lizard instead of a furry pet if you're looking for a new pet. You're less likely to be allergic to fish, turtles and lizards than to cats or dogs.

Finally, don't get sucked in by those "hypoallergenic" pet claims - there's no such thing as a 100 percent hypoallergenic dog or cat.

Visit the Clean Organized Home Store for cleaning tools and supplies designed specifically to help eliminate allergens in your home.



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About the Author

Tara Aronson

Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.