Allergens such as animal dander (skin flakes) are found in the saliva, on the skin of animals and on shed hair. When animals, especially cats, groom themselves, allergen from saliva is deposited on the hair. Large amounts of allergen become airborne when animals rub against furniture and people, or when they are brushed or petted. Animal dander also serves as a food supply for dust mites. Dog or cat fur will collect pollen, mold and other irritants. Allergen from animals can be carried on clothing and can cause symptoms in sensitive individuals. Birds also can be troublesome because bird droppings contain a high amount of mold to which sensitive individuals may be allergic.
Environmental control measures for animals include the following:
Keep animals outdoors and out of bed rooms at all times, if possible.
Keeping animals in the basement may help reduce exposure to some degree; however, animal allergen can be carried through the home’s ventilation system.
Someone other than the allergic person should wash the animals and keep them well groomed.
Someone other than the allergic person should clean cages and kennels.
Consider using a HEPA air filter in the bed room of the allergic individual.
Wash hands after handling animals.
Exposure to high levels of an allergen can lead to increased symptoms to those who are allergic.
Some patients may be so sensitive to animal allergen that it may be necessary to remove the animal.