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Indoor Allergens (cont.)

Indoor Allergen Follow-up

If your symptoms are severe enough or last long enough to require treatment by a medical professional, follow his or her treatment recommendations. Take all prescribed medications as directed.

Prevention

The single best thing you can do to stop the reaction is to reduce your exposure to the allergens.

If it is animal dander causing your allergic reaction, you do have options.

  • Keeping the animal outdoors all the time is a partial solution, but your home will still have greater amounts of dander than if the animal is removed altogether.
  • You may want to see an allergist to confirm that your pet is the cause of the symptoms before making the painful decision to get rid of a pet.
  • If you decide to remove the animal, it may take as long as 6 months or longer for the allergy symptoms to go away completely.

If you decide to keep the pet and live with your allergy, have as little direct contact with the pet as possible.

  • Another family member should have responsibility for grooming, feeding, exercising, and cleaning up after the pet.
  • Keeping the pet well groomed may help reduce the amount of dander in the household. Beware, though, of bathing the pet too often, which can damage the skin and worsen the dander problem. Consult with the pet's veterinarian for tips on keeping the animal as dander-free as possible.
  • Keep the pet out of the rooms where you spend most of your time, especially your bedroom.
  • Minimize the impact of dander by living with as little carpet, upholstered furniture, and drapes as you can manage.
  • Cover your mattresses, box springs, and pillows with covers that prevent release of allergens.

Before getting a pet, spend indoor and outdoor time with other animals of the same species to make sure all family members can tolerate the dander. Remember that allergies tend to run in families. If you are allergic to animal dander, your children may be too. Also, even people who do not have problems initially may develop them later.

It is practically impossible to remove all house dust with all its allergens from your home.

  • Shampoo or replace carpets. Better yet, remove carpet. Smooth floors collect fewer allergenic particles.
  • Clean or replace bedding.
  • Clean or remove upholstered furniture
  • Clean floors, walls, and surfaces such as windowsills, window shades, countertops, cabinet and other doors
  • Launder or dry clean drapes, including those in storage
  • Launder all clothes, towels, and other household items, including those in storage

Consider seeing an allergist for allergy shots. Allergy shots can reduce your sensitivity to indoor allergens.

Outlook for Allergies Caused by Indoor Allergens

In almost everyone who has an allergic reaction to house dust, symptoms will improve with treatment.

If the allergy is to animal dander, removal of the animal will result in gradual disappearance of symptoms.

  • You may notice significant improvement in 2-3 weeks, but it may take 6 months or longer for your symptoms to resolve.
  • The vast majority of people with animal dander allergy are able to avoid uncomfortable allergic symptoms simply by avoiding the animal sources of their allergens.
  • Unfortunately, this sometimes means avoiding the homes of friends with pets and public places where animals go.
  • With so many dogs, cats, and other pets in our world, you are bound to be exposed to dander occasionally.

For More Information

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NAIAD), Allergies

Medically reviewed by Michael Manning, MD; American Board of Allergy & Immunology

REFERENCE:

"Allergen avoidance in the treatment of asthma and allergic rhinitis"
UpToDate.com


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/21/2016
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Indoor Allergens:

Indoor Allergens - Patient Experience

Do you have problems with indoor allergens? Please describe your experience.

Indoor Allergens - Prevention

What steps have you taken to reduce your exposure to indoor allergens? Were the effective?


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