Always bear in mind that pets are one of the main causes of allergies. Pet allergies affect millions of individual all over the globe. Children with asthma are allergic to cats and dogs. Other animals that cause allergies in children include hamsters, rabbits and other furry domestic pets.
Allergies caused by animals
The allergens from pets are the usual cause of indoor allergic reactions. The allergies are triggered by animal skin, saliva and urine. Once animals groom themselves, the saliva coats the fur, skin or feathers. Take note that the skin cells covered in saliva are shed along with fur and loose hairs.
Among those who have been diagnosed with pet allergies, the ideal advice is to remove the pet from the house. This can be a hard and distressing decision and might take some to find your pet a new home.
How to minimize the symptoms due to pet allergies
- Do not acquire new pets
- Limit pets outdoors or to limited areas in the house
- Always keep pets healthy and properly-groomed
- Dogs and cats must be washed regularly
- Individuals who are in contact with animals outside must change clothes and shoes and wash hair upon arriving home
- Remove carpeting from rooms where pets are kept and vacuum the floor regularly. If there are remaining carpets, it must be cleaned using a high-temperature steam cleaner and vacuumed regularly using a high-filtration vacuum cleaner.
- All pet baskets and bedding must be washed regularly
- Clean all surfaces including the walls on a regular basis
Infection from pets
Aside from pet allergies, certain infections and diseases can be passed by animals to humans. Even though considered rare, these include the following:
- Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin that dogs, hamsters and cats spread to humans. Those who work with these animals are at high risk to develop this infection.
- Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite present in the feces of cats. This is also found in poorly cooked and infected meat and spreads by using contaminated kitchen utensils
- Toxocariasis is an infection caused by worms present in the feces of cats and dogs.
The usual way to acquire an infection from an animal is being bitten by one or by direct exposure to feces. There is also minimal chance of an infection being spread via contaminated food or water.
Important tips on pet hygiene
There are tips to be considered to minimize the risk for infections from pets.
- Always wash hands properly using antibacterial soap after handling pets.
- Instruct children to always wash hands. You can also wipe hands using a cleaning wipe particularly before eating.
- Children should stay away from feces of cats and dogs. Do not allow children to play around the litter tray and avoid dog litter bins at the park.
- Always monitor if pets are in good health. The immunizations must be updated and follow regular check-ups to spot any possible infections.
- Always keep the fur of pets clean. This simply involves cleaning the paws if they have dug up any soil or meticulous shampooing after swimming in a local pond.