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Keep Your Pet Away In Asthma

Posted Oct 04 2009 11:12pm

Master Vinod loves watching TV with his dog, Dagger. They hang out on the sofa together for hours on rainy days. Sometimes, Vinod lies with his head right on Dagger's soft furry belly. What a pillow!

But Vinod just found out he is allergic to animal allergens. That means he is allergic to stuff animals produce. This stuff is found in:

1. animal dander, or skin flakes (kind of like animal dandruff)
2. animal saliva (spit)
3. animal urine (pee)

Because he is allergic to this stuff, spending time with Dagger is probably making his asthma worse. Lots of kids with asthma are allergic to animals - and not just furry animals. Feathered animals, too, can cause allergic reactions.

Animal hair or fur by itself is not the problem, but hair and fur can collect dust mites (tiny bugs), pollen (from plants), mold (like the stuff that makes your basement smell), and other stuff that causes allergies. And any animal that lives in a cage - from birds to gerbils - will have droppings that get mold and dust mites on them.

Finding out that you are allergic to animals can be sad because, if your asthma is really bad, you may have to find a new home for your pet. Because that is such a tough thing to do, your doctor might suggest that you try allergy medicine or shots first. Those, in addition to your regular asthma medicines, can help control your asthma burst outs.

You also can take steps to keep your bedroom free of allergens and reduce the allergens in your home. They are:

1. Keep your pet out of your room. If possible, keep your pet outside.
2. Even if it is a small pet, like a bird or gerbil, do not keep the animal in your room.
3. For caged animals, have someone else clean the cage.
4. If there is a pet in your classroom, let your teacher know about your allergies.
5. Play with your pet, but try not to hug or kiss the animal.
6. Wash your hands when you are done playing with your pet.
7. Get rid of any rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting in your room.
8. Clean your room so it's free of household dust.
9. Have someone else wash and brush your pet every week (cats as well as dogs).

If you try all these things and are still having lots of asthma burst outs, you may need to find another home for your pet. This may make you feel a lot of different feelings. At first, you may feel nothing at all. Or you may feel like crying. You may feel lonely or mad. All of these feelings are OK.

You may want to talk to your parents about how you are feeling. They might be feeling sad and missing your pet, too. Talking might help you start feeling better. You might decide to write a poem or make a scrapbook to remember your pet.

It takes months for all of the allergens to leave the house, so your allergies might not get better right away. Even if you do not have animals at home, you will probably still come in contact with them from time to time. When going over to a friend's house where there is a pet, be sure to take your allergy medicine before going over. Also, bring your asthma inhaler along, just in case.

If you are missing your pet, it may take a long time before you want a new one. But someday, if you do, your best bets are turtles, snakes, lizards, or fish. They are less likely to cause allergies.

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